There are two very different opinions about the Thai (dental) healthcare:
- It’s underdeveloped, unreliable but cheap.
- It’s very western, with well-educated, experienced doctors and quality service.
As with all things in Thailand, both statements are correct.
In terms of statement 1:
It is kind of true, but only to some extent. There are many mom-and-pop private dental clinics pretty much on every Soi in Bangkok. It’s just a business like a barbershop or a pharmacy, run by locals for the locals, so don’t expect exceptional service. They’re usually basic, relatively cheap, and depending on the clinic some staff speak English. You can have your fillings and other basics done no problem. And don’t forget Thailand is a country of contrasts, so they may range a lot in terms of cost, service and quality.
I had basic cleaning done at one clinic in Srinakarin (close to Seacon Square) and the service seemed perfectly fine. My girlfriend said that it was ok, but not as properly done as in Lithuania. Bear in mind though that we paid 600 baht each, and it would have cost us twice that in Lithuania, and even more in the UK. If you read on various online forums, many expats who have lived in Thailand for years recommend choosing a simple Thai clinic instead of a fancy one.
For basic needs I think the best bet is the local or mid-range clinics such as MOS Dental, situated mostly around BTS stations. The quality of work will be similar to more expensive clinics’, just for a lower cost.
In terms of statement 2:
The upper-range clinics such as Bangkok Smile, Bangkok Dental, etc, target the expat community, and high-income Thai customers. They also usually specialise in certain areas such as cosmetics, implants, surgeries, etc, and have state-of-the-art equipment. Many clinics do niche services with the names I can’t even pronounce! AND, they’re not that expensive compared to US or European prices.
So here’s my experience at one of the high end clinics – Asavanant Dental Clinic (right next to Thong Lo BTS).
I am very cautious of my oral hygiene, so if I ever have an issue, I tend to go for quality over price. Before my first dental appointment in Thailand I spent many hours reading up online. Nearly 90% of the comments stated that ‘Asavanant’ was expensive, but the quality of work was exceptional.
Stepping into the clinic feels like entering an art museum, as the hallways are full of statues, paintings and other accessories, and there’s a piano on the 3rd floor. Every appointment was a breeze – timely, with friendly service and quality work. There was only one time when I had to wait 30 mins for my appointment for whatever reason. The interior kind of shows that the paintings and decorations are one of the reasons the prices are higher. However, when compared to other upper-level clinics (or prices back in Europe) – certain things work out even cheaper.
I have paid:
2,000 baht for an instant x-ray for my braces (other clinics charged slighty less, but asked for a 2-day notice)
1,600 baht for a check-up and cleaning (quality work, done in under 30 minutes)
2,000 – 3,000 baht for some fillings (both surface and in between teeth) – I can’t remember how many fillings cost how much though, as I had a lot of them done.
6,500 baht for a wisdom tooth extraction with medicines (local anaesthetic included) – the operation was quick, painless, and I got to keep the big-ass tooth they extracted. Though it’s not fun to know that it is somewhere in my apartment.
Ease of booking via telephone
Ease of rescheduling
Good opening hours, including weekends (open till 8PM or so)
Received a follow-up call for a check-up after 6 months
All staff speak English (reception – ok, doctors – very well)
Experienced doctors, with degrees from USA, etc
Exceptional service, high-class interior
Good location (right on the corner of BTS Thong Lo)
Many different services
Relaxing music in the background
No price list on their website, only list of services
More expensive than mid-range clinics
A cheesy ‘Asavanant dental clinic’ tune that gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day!