The Safety of Dental Tourism in Vietnam

After doing research on Vietnam’s dental clinics, we have come to the conclusion that they are strictly operated following the international standard. International dental organizations and global dental forums have reviewed optimistically about many of the dental clinics in Vietnam. Hence, if you’re considering Vietnam for your dental vacation, and wonder whether dental tourism in Vietnam is safe, let’s dive in to know more about the safety of doing treatment in Vietnam.

Perspective about dental tourism

Vietnam is becoming an attractive destination for dental tourists. According to the data, nearly 100,000 tourists came to Vietnam in 2017 for dental procedures. However, dental tourism, or medical tourism in general, is still a controversial topic in many countries. Global dental tourists concern about not only the price before they choose Vietnam as a dental tourism destination, but also about the dentist’s and the clinics’ qualifications. Do Vietnamese dentists have trustworthy qualifications? Does the quality-control process in the Vietnamese dental clinic meet the international requirement when the operational price is so cheap? This article will give detail answers to all the questions above.

Sterilization / Infection-control

Many dental clinics in Vietnam meet international sterilization and infection control standards. Australian Dental Association, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control are three common health associations in which Vietnamese clinics follow the sterilization guideline. Six aspects of sterilization in dentistry are hand hygiene, personal protective equipment, surgical procedures and aseptic technique, management of sharps, management of clinical waste, and the environment of the clinic.

Hand hygiene

This is the process of reducing the microorganism on dentists’ hands. They use either waterless antimicrobial agent or soap with water, followed by drying with disposable towels or single-use linen. International standard strictly requires dentists to do the hand hygiene process before applying gloves and after removing gloves used for patients. Hand wash is required at the start of working sessions, after toilet break, and after leaving surgeries. In these cases, soap and water guarantee the mechanical removal effect. Hand care is also an important part. Dry skin is unacceptable. Dentists should take off their rings when practicing dentistry, and artificial fingernails are prohibited since they may contain microorganisms.

Personal protective equipment

This equipment provides almost full protection from transmitting infection since it includes not only gloves but also: mask, eye protection, protective clothing, and footwear. Dental staffs have to wear this set in the working area.

Sterile aseptic technique

This is the set of requirements for using sterile equipment during oral surgeries. The equipment includes especially sterile gloves, drapes, instruments, and surgical handwashing.

Management of sharps

It is especially important since dentistry practice often involves sharp objects. Potential exposure to blood is one of the major causes for helping to penetrate the injuries with diseases. Firstly, every dental clinic is required to have clear and easily accessible instruction for all dental staff to understand; in case of accidental exposure to sharps injury, the instruction has to be written clearly on appropriate action taken. If the dental clinic uses disposable sharps, they are responsible for immediate safe management at the point of use unless transferred by appropriate containers.

Management of clinical waste

The general precaution for dental clinics is waste has to be separated depending on its category (medical and non-medical). Bags and containers for waste have to be colored appropriately and labeled.  Handling clinical waste also needs gloves, masks, and protective eyewear.

Dentist profile

Two prestigious medical schools in Vietnam are Hanoi Medical University (HMU) and the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh city (YDS). Dentists who graduate Major of Odonto-Stomatology from HMU and YDS have the default program of 6 years and 5 years (recent reduction) respectively. Practicing-oriented education programs are the reasons why Vietnamese dentists have a very strong clinical skill set. 

At the moment, many Vietnam’s medical universities have partnerships with universities from around the world like the University of Bordeaux I, II, III (France), Guangxi Medical University (China), Okayama University (Japan). Several extensive training programs available are Dental Implant, Oral Surgery, Maxillofacial Surgery. Aside from having the chance to gain experience from both domestic education and international education environments, many Vietnamese dentists complete Master’s degrees, some finish Ph.D. degrees. Most Vietnamese dentists have enough English skills to communicate with foreign patients during their procedures.

Clinic standard {GCR, GCI, Whatclinic}

Nowadays, patients around the world can take advantage of rating sites and accreditations to determine whether a clinic meets the international standard. These following accreditation standards and websites are the first things a customer should take a look before putting his/her trust in any medical center:

  1. GCR™ International Accreditation certifies that the clinic has been officially proven to be above international standards. It shows that the clinic has been officially monitored, independently checked on quality, and is using the data collected by the GCR to help them improve the level of expertise, facilities, services, and patient care.
  2. JCI standards define the performance expectations, structures, or functions that must be in place for a clinic to be accredited by JCI.
  3. WhatClinic.com is a website helps patients find, compare and book the right clinics in more than 135 countries. It is the fairest rating site where the clinics cannot manipulate customers’ reviews.  
  4. ISO certification certifies that a management system, manufacturing process, service, or documentation procedure has met all the requirements for standardization and quality assurance

Many dental clinics in Vietnam have achieved these standards and appear on internationally dental forums, which mentioned and objectively reviewed by not only their patients but also many international organizations. Therefore, the accredited clinics in Vietnam can ensure the quality and reliability of their service.

Insurance

“Some things are so unexpected that no one is prepared for them.” – Leo Rosten

Indeed, sometimes, not everything goes according to plan. For instance, you have to cancel your dental treatment overseas due to visa rejection. Or procedures are unsuccessful so you have to pay the cost of returning Vietnam for retreatment. How can you deal with that? Fortunately, most countries provide insurance that helps patients to get the most out of their dental tourism. Dental tourism insurance can cover:

Trip Cancellation

In addition to the cancellation policy of the standard travel insurance, the insurance offers cover in case your procedure can’t go as planned and you need to cancel or reschedule.

Emergency Overseas Dental Treatment

The insurance can cover some fees when you need emergency dental care whilst still overseas due to complications post-procedure.

Additional Transport and Accommodation

If you need to stay longer because of complications, insurance can cover additional transport and accommodation costs until you are in a suitable condition to come back home. The insurance may also cover for your traveling companion to remain with you while you recuperate provided their presence is medically necessary.

Return Vietnam for Remedial Dental Treatment

Some procedures, unfortunately, are not successful and require a remedial treatment. However, the insurance can provide cover for the cost of you returning to Vietnam to obtain the treatment you need.

Conclusion

In conclusion, is dental tourism in Vietnam safe?

Our answer is yes when you’re smart about it. If you believe dental tourism is for you, then first thing first, make sure you do your research carefully. Remember to based on at least these four elements: infection control, dentist profile, clinic standards, and dental tourism insurance. Secondly, don’t solely rely on PR and Marketing. Thirdly, Ask around. Find dental tourism patient testimonials on rating sites beforehand. Last but not least, don’t assume that any dental tourists’ experiences will be the same for you. To make comparisons, asking people having the same background and doing the same procedure is a great start.

 

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