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Going the Distance: Dental Care Goes International: Smile Makeovers, Medical Missions, and More

Going the Distance: Dental Care Goes International: Smile Makeovers, Medical Missions, and More


An increasing number of American dentists are taking their talents overseas and improving the smiles of a very worldly clientele. Their missions vary drastically - certain cosmetic dentists cater to Middle Eastern royalty who desire aesthetic enhancement, while others work with underprivileged communities in third-world countries who lack access to basic treatment. Despite the target demographic, it's clear that some dentists go to great lengths to provide exceptional dental care.

Celebrity Dentists Set Up Shop in Dubai

"Dentists to the stars" Kevin Sands and Michael Apa are two examples of dental professionals, educated and trained in the United States, who recently opened practices in the bustling city of Dubai. Kevin Sands is a Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist responsible for perfecting the smiles of superstars such as Britney Spears, Charlie Sheen, and Taylor Swift. He's starred in The Learning Channel's 10 Years Younger, the Style Network's 2nd Look, and E!'s Dr. 90210. Now, he's serving residents of the United Arab Emirates and beyond from his Dubai office.

Dr. Michael Apa is a partner in The Rosenthal-Apa Group, located in New York City. He's worked with numerous famous clients, including Matt Dillon, Donald Trump, and the faces of Elite Model Management. He's best known for a concept he calls Facial Aesthetic Design. With this approach, he alters the appearance of the entire face through the use of cosmetic dentistry treatments. He recently joined the team at Dr. Michael's Dental Clinic, which has offices in Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim.

With the high demand for cosmetic dentistry in the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Sands and Dr. Apa are surely fielding requests left and right for smile makeovers. Very often, smile makeovers include teeth whitening, dental bonding, and the placement of a set of porcelain dental veneers. Veneers can completely transform the appearance of a smile - and face! - by correcting crookedness, treating discoloration, closing small spaces, and addressing other aesthetic flaws in the teeth.

Charitable Dentists Give of their Time and Talents

Other dentists go overseas for charitable reasons. Many donate their time and services to Operation Smile, a charity which provides international orthodontic and dental treatment to those in need of quality care. Through Operation Smile, dentists volunteer to participate in international medical missions to countries such as Vietnam, Colombia, and Honduras. Operation Smile provides free surgeries to repair facial deformities (such as cleft lip and cleft palate) in children who do not otherwise have access to treatment. Another component of the program is to improve and maintain oral hygiene through education and supplies.

Evidenced by the happy smiles of children Operation Smile has helped, a knockout smile does not require a full cosmetic dentistry overhaul. Sometimes, merely the access to routine dental care can make a world of difference.

Dental and Medical Tourism Rise in Popularity

Certain American consumers choose to go overseas to have dental work performed, as a type of "medical tourism." This strategy combines a vacation with the opportunity to have dental work performed at a lower price point by qualified, foreign dental professionals. Hungary is an oft-cited example of a country with reasonably priced, quality dental treatment. If you are interested in traveling to another country to have dental work performed, here are some suggestions:

  • Research your destination country's national dentistry guidelines, according to the appropriate government agency.
  • Check the practice's attention to safety and infection control through the use of sterilization instruments and protective equipment like masks, eyewear, and gloves.
  • Explore your options for recourse if something goes awry.

Medical tourism, particularly in Mexico, is also popular among Americans who want to combine a plastic surgery procedure such as liposuction, breast implants, or rhinoplasty with a vacation abroad. Patients undergo surgery and then relax in their exotic locale until they have healed enough to return home.

Should you decide you'd like to take a more domestic approach to your dental or medical care, let DocShop help you find a dentist or doctor in your area.

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