Dental tourism, the act of travelling abroad for dental treatment, has become increasingly popular over the last few years. The main reason for the boom in dental tourism is cost; travelling overseas can save patients from the UK up to 70 per cent and many people choose to combine having treatment with taking a break.
Why would I go abroad?
The most common reason for going abroad for treatment is to save money; in the UK, prices are considerably higher than other European countries, especially those in the East and patients who could not afford to have treatments, such as dental implants, veneers or 6 Month Smile braces, in the UK, can afford to have them if they go abroad. More info on the six month smiles website. On average, prices are up to 70 per cent lower in countries such as Poland, Hungary and Romania, meaning that patients will save a huge amount of money even once they have taken transport and accommodation costs into account.
Another reason people may choose to travel overseas is to avoid waiting lists and benefit from a wider range of treatments; dental treatment on the NHS is affordable for many but the range of treatments is small, as only essential treatments are covered. Cosmetic dentistry, which has become hugely popular, is not available on the NHS, meaning that patients have to pay private fees. The risk of joining a lengthy waiting list is also smaller overseas.
Are there any disadvantages?
There are greater risks associated with going abroad for dental treatment, especially in countries where EU regulations are not in place. Regulation is strict in the UK and protocol and policy relating to infection control, cross infection and standards of care and treatment may not be as stringent as in the UK. There have been numerous examples of botched operations abroad and patients actually end up paying a lot more than they would have done by having treatment at home; if you are thinking of having treatment abroad, make sure you do your research.