These days, my patients tell me that it’s common knowledge that having your dentistry done abroad is a cheaper option for receiving dental treatment without compromising on quality.
Shortly after the fall of the communism in the 80’s, Germans, and Austrians and Swiss began to travel over the border to Slovakia, The Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary to save money on expensive dental procedures. They knew that the quality of dentists being trained behind the “iron curtain” was something worth putting their trust in. And so, it wasn’t long until those in the UK, suffering from a failing NHS dental system and high prices, started to do the same. More recently, I’ve noticed that even countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and even Turkey have begun offering “dental holidays” too.
In this article, I will outline the benefits and advantages of having a “dental holiday” in a clinic such as ours, the reasons why people go abroad for dental treatment and basically, what dentistry abroad is all about.
“Dental Holidays” at a Glance
Travelling abroad for dental treatment is also regarded as Dental Tourism, Dental Travel or Cross-Border Dentistry. Over the past five years in the UK especially, websites, medical insurance and agents have been set up to attract even more dental patients to clinics abroad.
More people are opting to receive dental treatment abroad and not in the UK because:
- Certain treatments (especially cosmetic) are not available under the NHS in the UK.
- Their health insurance does not cover the full cost of a procedure.
- Most people are not willing to compromise their health just because the treatment costs are too high in private dental clinics.
Why People Go Abroad for Treatment
The popularity of obtaining dental treatment overseas is influenced by several factors. People seek dental treatment abroad because:
- The UK has exceedingly expensive costs related to dental care.
- Flights within Europe today are trouble-free and often even cheaper than a trip into London!
- Central European standards of dental care and technological advancements are renowned all over the world.
- Improved and low cost communication (such as through websites, mail, skype and phone) make it easier to find and contact potential overseas dental clinics.
Of course, the most important reason for most of my patients is affordability of the dental procedure and its cost-effectiveness. The savings on typical UK private dentistry costs range between 30% and 80% of the price that my patients would normally pay at home.
Because of these low prices, some people many worry that having dentistry abroad might be fraud or a scam. However, the main reason behind these low prices are lower wages, low insurance costs, lower clinic rental and operating costs as well as cheaper dental supplies. Although the dental treatments are “cheap” compared to UK standards, usually all dental procedures on overseas patients are performed by well trained dental experts who use the extra money gained from these foreign patients to invest in top notch technology and worldwide dental developments.
Many of the doctors that offer dental services to international patients are internationally recognized and members of leading dental institutions. Their dental clinics have also acquired accreditation from well known international organizations such as JCI, JCAHO and ISO to express their dedication to excellence.
Another advantage of a “dental holiday” is the immediate access to a doctor at a time that suits you. I see it as a chance to be placed on the priority list. When dealing with some matters of dental health, waiting is not always an option.
Most dental procedures performed abroad can be scheduled quickly via the internet or by phone. People have the flexibility to book flights and schedule dental procedures from the comfort of their own home, eliminating the inconvenience of going to a local dentist for evaluations and assessments.
Even though dental tourism is about obtaining cheaper dental care, a side benefit of a “dental holiday” is having the opportunity to travel to other countries. For some of my patients, it’s an excuse to visit a part of the world that they’ve always wanted to see.
The concept of a “dental holiday” is appealing to anyone, who is interested in high quality and affordable dentistry. Going abroad to countries like Slovakia is gaining popularity and the number of people going abroad for dental treatment at least in our dental clinic, increases rapidly every year.
With so many benefits, advancements in technology and improvements in healthcare standards within central European countries, it is likely that the advantages of a “dental holiday” will continue to offer a striking economical solution to many of the problems facing NHS dentistry in the UK today.