In May of 2013, I graduated from the University of Florida Dental School and accepted a job in Singapore. In order to practice there, I had to complete a stack of paperwork, submit blood samples, wait a month and then complete more paperwork. I didn’t need to take any additional licensing exams and I’ve worked in the country since graduation.
I work 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. every day, including weekends. I will work about 2-3 weeks and then I take off 1-2 weeks to travel. In the years since I graduated, I’ve been able to travel to more than 100 countries on 6 continents.
If I see a dental sign while I’m traveling, I usually stop in to check it out. I’ll explain that I’m an American dentist visiting and would be interested in speaking with the dentist and comparing notes. Sometimes I have friends in other countries who invite me to see their offices, but usually I just stop by out of curiosity. Don’t you wonder what dental clinics look like in different countries compared to those in the USA such as this Dentist Citrus Heights based clinic?
Here are some of the dental clinics I’ve visited on my travels:
Gambia is the smallest country in mainland Africa with a population of 1.9 million. There isn’t a dental school in Gambia so the dentist I spoke to went to school for five years in the neighboring country of Senegal. This was a private practice and the dentist owned the clinic. Prices (US dollars): $25 cleaning, $90 molar RCT, $38 for a 2 surface composite filling
I attended a national dental conference in Saudi Arabia where I met some recent graduates. The dental conference was 50-50% male to female. I asked some of the female dentists about their experiences in the dental field and they felt that all their patients treated them with the same respect they showed male dentists.
St. Vincent has a population of 100,000 and is only 150 square miles. The dentist I visited was born in St. Vincent but went to dental school in Cuba. He went to dental school for 6 years, but his first year was just to learn Spanish (St. Vincent is English-speaking). There are about 12 dentists on the island and they all attended dental school in different countries, including the U.S., Trinidad and France. Prices: $37 filling, $350 for a crown.
I was offered a job at an international clinic in Siem Reip, Cambodia. The clinic was very nice with huge clinical rooms and digital x-rays. I didn’t take the job, but my pay would have been $4000 a month or 40%, whichever is greater. The current dentist working there was from Japan. Prices: $250 PFM crown, $250 RCT, $2500 braces, $2200 implant.
The dentist was from Lebanon and had gone to dental school in Lebanon as well. There isn’t a dental school in Equatorial Guinea. He asked me to work there so he could take more time off (again, I didn’t take the job). He had been there 9 yrs. He chose to work in Equatorial Guinea because there were too many dentists in Lebanon.
This was a 5-dentist clinic and each dentist specialized in something. The dentist giving me the tour was the surgeon. Wisdom tooth surgeries would cost around $60.
I met a Colombian-trained dentist who had opened up three clinics in Chile. He had moved to Chile because they offered the best pay in South America. He said if a dentist did really well, they could make up to $50,000 a year.
Have you ever visited a dental clinic in another country? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
~Dr. Dustin Pfundheller, Florida ’13