What you need to know before planning your dental vacation in Vietnam
Vietnam has become a favorite spot not only for tourism but also for dental work in recent years. There are thousands of international patients coming to Vietnam each year for dental travel simply because of affordable prices, fantastic travel destinations, and satisfactory results. If you are planning on traveling to Vietnam for dental care, this article will help you have a beautiful holiday and get the best results out of your dental treatment. Here is what you need to know:
1. How to find a professional dentist and high-quality clinic
Here is some information you should check to find the best dental clinics in Vietnam before planning your visit:
- Profile of the clinics and dentists, make sure you get a dental treatment done by a professional dentist.
- Information on the clinic’s facilities, pictures of the clinic’s facilities to see if they are modern, clean and using state-of-the-art technologies or not. The tidiness of the clinic is very important to determine whether they comply with the infection control standards.
- Before-after images or reviews of the former patients with the same dental problem as yours.
- How much does it cost? In general, dental cost in Vietnam is 70% cheaper than the local dental cost in the US so you can have more options for your dental problems. Ask for the cost breakdown to avoid any surcharges.
- Whether you can get follow-up care after the procedure to know how to handle complications or in case of emergency.
- Reviews from websites of local dental tourism facilitators or international consultancy services such as Patients Beyond Borders, Whatclinic, or Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor. It’s sensible that you check out three to five clinics to compare their quality and then choose the one that best suits your requirements.
2. Considerations before you go
2.1. Out-of-pocket payment or travel insurance
Most international patients chose out-of-pocket options because their health insurance doesn’t offer coverage for dental treatment or if it does, it just covers for a little part of the cost. Dental tourism still costs much cheaper than your local dental price even when you include all the dental treatment, travel, transportation, accommodation, food and drink, and you can even get discounts from your medical insurance coverage.
It is likely that your medical insurance doesn’t offer coverage for medical care performed beyond the border. In some cases, your medical insurance company is able to accept dental work in a quality clinic in Vietnam. However, you’ll need to inform the clinic necessary paperwork to prepare the paperwork and the procedures according to the requirements of the insurance company. The bottom line is that you should contact your health and dental insurance provider to have more details about your rights to plan your treatment thoroughly.
2.2. Getting insurance for dental tourism or not?
If you want to get some coverage for your dental treatment in Vietnam, you can consider purchasing dental tourism insurance. The insurance policy might cover the cost of overseas medical treatment to fit the customer’s plans and budget. Insurance companies have offered some practical extensions such as:
- Trip cancellation, in case unexpected events come up and you have to delay your trip,
- Emergency overseas dental treatment, in case complications arise after the planned treatment, and a post-procedure is needed,
- Additional costs of transport and accommodation for you and your companion if you have complications and need a post-procedure treatment,
- Return travel and accommodation for remedial dental treatment, in case you need to come back for remedial treatment.
Each travel insurance company has its terms to support you financially if any unexpected things arise, therefore, you should consult with the insurance company before planning your dental trip in order to be informed thoroughly about the insurable risks and the coverage you might get.
Dental tourists shall apply for Vietnam VISA on arrival for tourists. For a trip under 15 days, citizens from Europe, such as Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, or UK, don’t need to apply for a visa.
However, if you are from Australia, New Zealand, the US or Canada, you need to apply for a visa. The single-entry stamping fee is US$25, a multiple-entry stamping fee is US$50. The process is straightforward: you fill out an online application form and pay the agency the fee (around US$20). You’ll then receive by email a VOA approval letter signed by Vietnamese immigration that you print out and show on arrival, where you pay your visa stamping fee in US dollars, cash only.
Make sure you have your non-expired passport for at least six months and two blank pages for visa stamp.
2.4. Currency and payment method
So far, the available payment methods for upfront and final payments are:
- Bank transfer
- Credit card
- Transferwise, Western Union
You can exchange your money to Vietnam dong at the airport or local currency exchange spots such as local jewelry stores, local Vietcombank transaction offices to get the best exchange rate.
Many clinics accept payment in cash or debit/credit such as MasterCard, Visa, and American Express with only a 4% or 5% transaction fee. Not every clinic accepts payments on traveler’s cheques.
Normally, payments will be effected in Vietnamese currency (VND). The amount your credit card account will be charged for is obtained through the conversion of the price in USD into Vietnamese dong according to the current exchange rate of the Vietnamese National bank.
2.5. Book your trip early
You should book your dental appointment with weeks of anticipation. Top dental clinics can be in high demand, which means they have to be booked for a few days or even weeks beforehand. We also recommend that you schedule your appointments on weekdays. Most clinics open on Saturdays and Sundays as well but many local patients have booked appointments in advance on weekends. Hence, it might not be too crowded and enough time for you to get dental work done on weekdays.
2.5. Language Barrier
This is crucial because you need to communicate the treatment, possible options, and paperwork, to name but a few. Most physicians in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city have passed training programs from dental schools overseas so they can speak English well and explain to you the treatment step by step. Not only physicians but also staff members at the clinics can fluently comprehend and speak English.
To make sure there is no language barrier between the clinic staff and you, ask the clinic or your dental tourism agency whether your dentist and clinic staff can speak English and whether they have a case manager to support you anytime you need.
3. Planning your dental trip
3.1. Balance your vacation and your treatment
Vietnam is full of surprises and is one of Southeast Asia’s most underrated destinations. If you’re having trouble deciding which place you need to visit in Vietnam, take a look at our suggested choices for destinations:
Ha Long Bay
The famous with thousands of limestone islands eroded into jagged pinnacles by wind and water action over millennia. This is the main cruising territory with the scenery of the bay best seen by boat. Opt for at least an overnight tour to see Halong Bay’s iconic spellbinding sea views.
Hoi An’s old town quarter is a joy to explore, well-preserved merchant houses from the 15th century–when the town was the major meeting point for Japanese and Chinese merchants flocking the place for the local silks. Plenty of old merchant houses have been opened to the public so you can get a taste of these any time convenient to you. With well-preserved facades and intriguing architecture, Hoi An is the most atmospheric town in Vietnam.
The verdant rice field countryside surrounding Sapa, bordered by the jagged peaks of the Hoang Lien Mountains. This is the top trekking destination in Vietnam and home to Vietnam’s most beautiful rural vistas. However, if you just got an implant or dental surgery that requires you to keep physical activities to a minimum, it might not be a great time for trekking or other sports.
Colonial history, centuries-old architecture and traditional cuisine are just some of Hanoi’s attractions. The city lures mostly Australian and New Zealanders, but an increasing number from further afield like the US, UK, Canada. This is a great place to explore on foot, the French-colonial city is also known for its vibrant nightlife, silks, and handicrafts, as well as a multi-cultural community that’s made up of Chinese, French and Russian influences.
Often called the Riviera of the South China Sea, Nha Trang boasts a six-kilometer stretch of beautiful coastline with a wide array of dining and accommodation options along the white sandy beaches. The option to swim in this city is excellent with designated swimming areas and manicured lounging areas that make this a great option for relaxing days soaking up the sun and sand.
Then how to arrange your time to travel between your treatment sessions?
First of all, you need to know your treatment plan. You need to be informed of how many days of stay is necessary, the number of appointments, and gap time between appointments. If you have any time restriction or special requirements during your trip, remember to discuss it with the clinic in advance. Some dental clinics can be very flexible in planning your treatment.
Once your treatment plan is decided, it’s time to plan your travel. Whether you’re getting a root canal treatment, veneers, crowns, or bridges or dental implants, there is a gap time between appointments. You could use the spare time to make the most out of your vacation, such as traveling to one of the above lovely destinations, enjoying spa and wellness services, shopping, joining a cooking class. There are countless activities for your time in Vietnam. Just bare in mind that you have to follow the home care instructions of the clinic in which some activities, food, and drinks might be restricted.
Before you choose a dentist for your treatment, remember to ask for the treatment cost, and more specifically, the cost breakdown. The cost breakdown contains information about the services and procedures applied in your case and how much does each of them cost. By getting a cost breakdown, you make sure that there are no surcharges and can remove optional services.
The cost of a single dental implant in Vietnam ranges from $1,000 to $2,000. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for dental implant surgery. Other factors which affect the total cost you pay include:
- Your expectations: do you prefer a natural-looking result over a functional “tooth replacement”?
- Your dentist: a vastly experienced and skillful dentist will be significantly more expensive
- Lab fees and material costs
- Brand of dental implant: Korean vs European and American brands
- Pain relief: Local anesthesia vs IV sedation vs general anesthesia
- Additional surgery: such as bone graft or sinus lift when needed
Vietnam is one of the cheapest countries to visit. For a five-star experience in Vietnam, which is the option many dental tourists choose, you are expected to pay about $150 per day (about $75-$100 for your hotel room) or $200+ if you plan on dining out often and staying in a very luxurious hotel.
For a comfortable mid-range experience in Vietnam, it’s best to budget $60 to $100 per day for your entire cost. This gives you enough to pay for a comfortable three to four-star hotel room, eat in mid-range to high-end restaurants and visit most activities and attractions.
With this guide of Vietnam dental tourism, you now have a good base for your dental holiday plan. Vietnam is truly one of the great dental tourism destinations of the world and one that is worth visiting. We hope you’ll have excellent dental treatment and an amazing tropical vacation as well!
About Author: Ly Tran is the director of Lotus Dental Travel – a dental tourism facilitator based in Vietnam.