Five Cavities Filled In Vietnam For Less Than $90, Without Insurance.
I’m absolutely in awe at the medical system here, and how cheap treatment for stuff is. I figured things would likely be cheaper than in America, but I had no idea things were this much cheaper. Before my initial visit to the dentist in late 2013, I hadn’t seen a dentist in over 3 years. I’m not the best when it comes to brushing more than once a day regularly either, so I figured I’d have to get a few cavities filled in my mouth. Upon getting checked out, it was determined that I had a few issues with 9 teeth total, and that filings should be installed for them.
Before I came to Vietnam this time, I had four fillings done. I’m covered with my wife’s dental insurance, so getting the four fillings only cost me about $150 out of pocket, after insurance covered over $400 in expenses. that bill included X-rays and all of that too, and I was given the choice of silver or white, in which silver was the choice (since it was less money… white was going to charge me more per tooth). That means that, without insurance, my dental bill in America was going to run over $600 for the four silver fillings I got in my mouth. That’s just how it is in America. We expect to have our wallets raped when it comes to anything medical.
Fast forward to today, where I was talked into visiting a dentist to get the rest of my teeth done here. I figured it would be cheaper (I was told it was), and that the quality of medical care I received wasn’t going to be all that much different in any way. I’ve never visited a dentist or a doctor in a foreign country before, so why not take this opportunity to experience something new. If nothing else, it’s another story to share. I didn’t expect to be super-amazed by the visit.
As always, we headed out to our destination on a motorbike, and navigated through the crazy traffic until we reached the dentist office. The front of the building looked pretty official and stuff (the photo above), and the lobby area had a very modern feel (the photo below). I may even say it was more modern than American offices, at least with the style anyways. Desk clerks checked us in quickly, and asked us to have a seat on the soft sofas that were found in the corner of the room. The office wasn’t crowded at all, and it was actually very quiet inside (which isn’t often the case, since the city streets are quite loud outside). With less than 10 minutes of waiting in the lobby, I was called into an examination room on the first floor.
This doctor checked my teeth initially, and made a diagnosis as to which teeth needed done, and what should be done to them (something I already knew from my visit with the American dentist, but they wanted to confirm anyways). Within 5 minutes, they had decided they should do five teeth (the same 5 remaining teeth I knew I needed done). The doctor dismissed me, and I headed out to wait in the lobby once more. We sat down on the sofas at the other end of the room, but were almost immediately told to just follow them upstairs.
We climbed the spiral stairs (marble stairs, of course. They all seem to love having marble stairs here), and sat down in another waiting area just outside offices. There was a very consistent pattern starting here: no waiting times. Odd when you think about it, because I’m so used to waiting for doctors, sometimes of a half-hour or more for anything. Depending on the visit, it could be over an hour before your appointment actually happens sometimes. Not here though, because in less than 5 minutes in this waiting room, I was summoned to follow another person into the room where my fillings would be done.
Up until this point, nobody working here spoke any English, or at least if they did, I never heard them speak it. When the doctor that would be performing this procedure for me walked in though, I was greeted with a kind “hello, how are you”, followed by a brief explanation of what would be done. I was going to receive white fillings here (the ones which would have cost me extra in the United States). This works well, because they are my bottom teeth, a part of the mouth that is usually seen by others when speaking. Sounds great.
I didn’t receive any shots to numb my mouth. I was initially worried about that, because I needed shots to numb my mouth on all four of my other fillings, and it even made my talk funny afterwards. For this place though, no numbing. They simply started drilling, and getting my teeth ready. Granted, silver fillings do require more drilling than white ones do, and the first teeth I had done were the ones that needed it the most, meaning they had to do deeper drilling anyways. That’s likely where the difference comes in there. The great part here though was that it didn’t hurt anyways. There was some minor discomfort at a certain point, but that’s really it. Nothing worth noting in terms of pain, and the doctor even stopped when he noticed a slight wince with that discomfort, checking to be sure I was okay to continue. – I’m tough doc, don’t worry. :)
The entire process from start to finish lasted less than 2 hours, and that included some X-rays being taken as well. I had five fillings done, they all looked great and felt comfortable. The doctor was very professional in every way, and acted quickly. It was a great experience, and the total cost for all white fillings combined:
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!? I mean, really? 2 hours with a super-swift, in-and-out experience at the dentist, and they only charge $85 to have FIVE fillings done, WITH X-rays? That’s also without insurance don’t forget. That’s just what they charge. It’s incredible. I’m also told that this was one of the most expensive dentist offices in the city, and that many of them charge half that much. I mean… HOW!?!
Other forms of medical treatments also cost similar insane rates as well (in comparison to the western world). For some medical treatments, it’s totally cheaper to fly your ass to Vietnam and have the procedure done rather than visiting the closer hospital in your home town (if you can stand the long flight). This system makes the USA medical system look like a big long-con, and the doctors look like pirates. What the hell!?
The difference, as I’m told now, is that doctors simply make a lot more money in the United States, and the profits for medical treatments are huge in comparison to here. Doctors make a lot less money here for the same expertise, and since they make less, and charge less, it’s much better to get treatment here. It’s not inferior work either… my fillings look great and feel good. This is just a crazy awesome deal.
My advice… if you’re ever planning on visiting Vietnam, but you need some medical or dental work done around the same time as well… wait until you get here to do it. Your bank account will thank you… and then you can thank me.