Cosmetic dentistry is booming in the UK and Europe in general. The number of people engaging in veneers or other cosmetic dentistry procedures has tripled. The demand for tooth whitening, repair of worn teeth, or dental implants is soaring.
A major underlying reason for this is that many people abhor the visual effects of age. The teeth and the mouth have a major impact on our smile and thus our appearance so that people are increasingly looking for ways and means to look younger.
Cosmetic dental surgery is one way this can be achieved. Yet, dental surgery in Western Europe and the US is horribly expensive. Veneers can cost anything between £ 590 and £ 650 per tooth. Tooth whitening can cost £ 500 per session. Thus, many people are increasingly looking for dental solutions abroad.
Why is dental surgery cheaper abroad?
There are three major factors that decrease the cost of dental surgery in other countries:
- The quality of materials used may be lower, for example cheaper implants may be used.
- The costs of living in those countries are lower than in the West so that dentists charge less.
- The costs of running a dental practice is lower because wages are low and other associated costs such as rent and materials are also low.
In the West, on the other hand, overheads form a great part of the cost. The dentist will need to pass these costs to the patient in order to survive economically.
What are the risks of dental treatment abroad?
While price seems to be the preponderant factor that motivates people in their choices of dental treatment, there are significant downsides to seeking dental solutions abroad. Firstly, follow-ups and after care service are generally out of the question, unless you are willing to book another flight to visit your dentist.
Secondly, even the best dental surgeons have bad days. In the case of implants, about 5% of them will fail. In these cases, it is much cheaper to contact your local dentist rather than making the trip back to the other end of the world.
A very important consideration is the aspect of quality of care. British and European dentists have to abide by very stringent regulations that are enforced by their respective dental councils. Are the regulations in the foreign country of the same standard?
Moreover, there is an inherent unease in trusting your mouth to a stranger. In most cases, people are familiar with their neighborhood dentist and have developed a rapport with them. At every incident, he can be contacted for a rendezvous. Familiarity with the dentist is sometimes a motivation for patients to visit them!
Dental treatment abroad options
Dental tourism can be organized by the individual himself or through a travel agency. If you have gone to a country, you try to find out the charges of the local dentists. You may then take an appointment and have your treatment scheduled.
The disadvantage is that you may not be aware of the level of professionalism of these dentists or you may have to rely on the advice of people you are not really familiar with. The experience of the dentist as a professional and in the treatment of foreign patients is essential criteria for you to look at before choosing a dentist.
A second option is the travel agency who may contact the dentist for you beforehand and pre-plan the treatment before you actually board the plane. Even then, you would not be sure of the quality of the dentists being contacted.
A third option is an agency specializing in dental tourism. There are not that many but the services they offer would offset some of the fears associated with treatment abroad. The dental tourism agency would be based locally but would already have contacts with dentists or dental institutions abroad. They would offer a consultation with a local dentist but the treatment would be done overseas. Thus, in the case of a problem, the agency can still be contacted for help.
Popular dental tourism destinations
Eastern European countries like Croatia and the Czech Republic are very popular dental tourism destinations. A veneer in Belgrade would cost just £180. In Poland it would cost £290, while in Hunagry it would be about £265. If you are looking to mingle your vacations with a dental tourism venture, you might go for more exotic latitudes like India which has a remarkable pool of qualified and cheap dentists.