I’m currently renting a place in Phuket for a month so I can get lots of work done and also have some beach time! One of the reasons I actually chose Phuket over some of the smaller Thai islands is because I wanted to get my teeth whitened and they seemed to have some good dental clinics.
Medical tourism in Thailand is growing and many Australians come over here to get dental treatment or cosmetic surgery at a much cheaper price than they would at home. I, for instance, paid £400 for teeth whitening at my dental clinic in Manchester back in 2008. In Thailand I was quoted a price of 9,000 Baht, which is roughly £198 at today’s exchange rate. That’s HALF the cost.
Some of you may be nervous about getting dental treatment in a foreign country, especially when you see things on TV about botched cosmetic surgery abroad. However, as with any treatment involving your health or appearance, you should always research the clinic in depth before you commit, no matter whether you’re having it done at home or overseas.
I researched dental clinics extensively online, including clinics in Bangkok and Phuket. I wasn’t just looking for a cheap price, I was also looking for a clinic with a good reputation.
Having had the teeth whitening done, I can tell you that the treatment I received in Phuket was FAR better than what I get back home! So if you want to get teeth whitening in Phuket, read on…
Teeth whitening in Phuket
After reading lots of online forums and threads on both Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor, I decided to go with Sea Smile in Patong. It seems there are lots of Aussies and foreigners talking about teeth whitening and dental treatment online, so I am not the only one!
I had been considering the Bangkok Hospital Phuket as they looked to be very professional and my friend Kristin also recommended them, but when I contacted them I was quoted 11,000 Baht plus 250 Baht hospital fee for Britesmile. I contacted them again to see if they did Zoom Advanced Power (the one I wanted) but received no response.
Anyway I had heard some brilliant reviews of Sea Smile and I figured I would go with them.
I emailed Sea Smile about their prices for the Zoom Advanced Power whitening, and I was quoted 9,000 Baht with no additional hidden fees. For reassurance the email said;
“We are BSDC dental group Thailand. We have 3 dental clinics in Bangkok and 3 in Phuket and we have our own dental laboratories in both Bangkok and Phuket, so nothing has to be sent out thus delaying your treatment. Moreover, we are fully ISO 9001 certified in both dental clinic and dental laboratory by Bureau Veritas, so this can ensure that each portion of your dental works is perfectly treated in both clinical part and dental laboratory part with the excellent quality. ”
They also gave me a link to their Zoom Whitening certificate:
“Recently. we are proud to be the first dental clinic in Thailand to be the Thailand’s #1 zoom whitening providers in providing excellent teeth whitening services to our patients. If you are seeking the ultimate result, the advanced zoom whitening should get you the results you desire.”
I confirmed I wanted to book an appointment, and then they emailed me to arrange a day and time. I was able to state what day and time I would prefer, so they are clearly quite flexible. They must get a lot of people who are only in Thailand for a one week vacation and don’t have much time to play with.
Be aware that Sea Smile is part of BSDC dental group and they actually have 3 clinics that are all quite close together; you can see the maps here. I was given an appointment at the Smile Studio, and there is also another clinic called Patong Smile. So basically all the clinics are the same and you may be given an appointment at any one of them.
Afterwards I received a couple of appointment emails asking me to confirm the date and time, presumably because they must get some no-shows if people decide to cancel their vacation etc.
The Smile Studio clinic is directly opposite the Jungceylon shopping mall in Patong, so I decided I would make a day of it and do some shopping after!
Here is the entrance to the clinic, it’s quite small so you have to look out for it.
This is the waiting area inside the clinic, which was clean and welcoming. There were lots of foreigners coming in for treatment.
The reception staff were very efficient and all I had to do was fill out a quick form on their computer. Once that was done, I had to sign a couple of forms to state I was aware of the treatment I was having done, and the short term side effects (tooth sensitivity).
I was quickly shown upstairs and the dentist and dental nurse were ready and waiting for me. The dentist was very professional and instantly made me feel at ease about the whole thing, informing me of the whitening process and what to expect. For an extra 1,300 THB she recommended I have a scale and polish before the whitening, which I agreed to do because I hadn’t had a proper clean at the dentist in a long time. Last time I scheduled a dental appointment in the UK, the dentist wouldn’t do a scale and polish, even though I rarely get to go for a check-up!
I also had the option to purchase a ‘touch up’ treatment which would allow me to maintain my white smile at home, although I didn’t purchase it.
So I had the scale and polish, then it was straight into the procedure. The Zoom whitening process itself isn’t that comfortable, not because of the tooth sensitivity (I barely felt any), but because my mouth was propped open for so long. It’s 5 years since I last had my teeth whitened, and my memory is pretty vague on what the procedure felt like.
Basically they put a big plastic retractor in my mouth to keep my jaw open and my lips away from my teeth. Then they stuffed what felt like cotton wool in the top of my gums and under my tongue to protect it. They put some eye protection glasses on me to protect my eyes from the Ultraviolet rays, and painted my gums with a gel-like substance to protect them from the bleaching chemicals.
Next they painted my teeth with the Zoom whitening gel and shone a Zoom light on my teeth. The Zoom light sort of fitted over my mouth and they would do this in 3 lots of 15 minute cycles. Each time a set of 15 minutes was up, a little beeper would go.
In total it took about one hour. At first I felt pretty claustrophobic with my mouth propped open like that, but then they put some music on and I soon relaxed a bit.
I have heard some people complain of tooth sensitivity, but I only experienced a couple of shooting pains in one of my teeth towards the end of the treatment. The whole procedure lasted an hour and once it was finished, I did a rinse around and I was good to go.
The dentist gave me some gel in case I experienced some sensitivity afterwards, and downstairs the reception lady also gave me some ibuprofen.
My teeth came out lovely and white, so I was very happy with the results! You are told not to consume coloured foods or drink any coke, red wine etc for 48 hours, so basically you have to go on a ‘white diet’.
“No tomato sauce. Maybe you eat plain pasta” the lady on reception told me as she handed me an after-care slip.
In Thailand I usually eat out every night because it is relatively cheap, but of course when you eat out it is difficult to find only white food. When I read about the ‘white diet’ online, it was recommended to eat plain chicken with potato mash and cauliflower…not something I would find in a Thai restaurant! And I thought it would be weird to just order a serving of white rice on its own. So I bought a packet of pasta from the supermarket and cooked it in the microwave at my place (I don’t have a proper kitchen). I ate things like plain yoghurt or porridge with bananas for breakfast, then the pasta for dinner.
I experienced some slight tooth sensitivity afterwards so I used the gel they gave me, but I didn’t need the ibuprofen. Any tooth sensitivity was gone by the morning and I was back to normal…except with pearly whites!
I felt like the service I received at Smile Studio was very professional and efficient. I didn’t have to wait in the reception for more than 2 minutes, and the ladies who worked on my teeth were very good and confident at what they were doing. I instantly felt at ease, and the standard of service was better than what I get at home! If you’ve booked a dental appointment in Phuket and you’re feeling a bit nervous, don’t be! I will definitely visit the dentist again next time I am in Thailand!