Sun, sea and sand abroad with a spot of dental treatment thrown in sounds brilliant, however, many people are unaware of the complications that can occur once you return home.
Dental tourism is rising at a rate of 23% every year, and with countries like Turkey, Bulgaria and Poland offering dental treatments for less money than in the UK, it sounds like a great deal, however, its often not good news...
90% of UK dentists report having to re-treat patients that have travelled abroad for cheap dental work.
The British Dental Association (BDA) report outlined the serious concerns of dental professionals treating UK residents following procedures abroad – notably poor quality work and failed or failing treatment.
If you plan to travel abroad for dentistry, you should be aware of the potential risks before booking your flight.
The majority of people travelling abroad for dental treatment are usually looking for advanced high-cost procedures. These types of procedures come with a higher risk of complications, many of which may develop after you return home.
When this happens, it’s not easy travelling back to the clinic that provided treatment, especially if you’re in severe pain or have an infection. Overpreparation of teeth, lack of aftercare, difficulty making a complaint or seeking redress were cited by 77% of dentists that responded to the BDA survey in 2022.
The aftermath of this is that restoring damaged teeth can be very expensive. 65% of dentists stated that it cost patients at least £500 to repair the damage done from getting dental work abroad, while a further 51% reported patients spent more than £1,000, and 20% of those said the repair costs to some patients exceeded £5,000.
Days rather than months!
Complex treatments such as Implants, bridges and veneers require detailed preparation and several follow-up visits. These procedures aren’t easy or quickly carried out. Expertise and time are of the greatest importance for the best outcome possible as well as several follow up appointment to ensure that you are happy with the treatment that you have received.
Failure to leave sufficient time in between treatment stages often leads to complications at a later date and usually the patients flight home is within the week!
Varying standards and approaches
In the UK, we have high standards of cross-infection control that other countries may not have. Consequently, patients travelling to developing countries could be more at risk of developing infection, antibiotic resistance, and exposure to blood-borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis B.
Approaches may also vary. For example, UK dentists are more inclined to try and save a tooth, whereas dentists abroad may lean towards extraction. Overseas dentists may also have a different concept of aesthetic beauty for example bright white 'turkey teeth' when you may request a more natural looking smile.
In any dental procedure, proper communication is of the upmost importance. Understanding what’s involved before, during and after treatment is vital, particularly post-surgical care.
The clinician needs to understand your requirements fully, and ultimately, you need to know what you’re getting.
There are many cases of patients who have not received the treatment that they thought they were getting!
The price quoted online or in leaflets may not be the total cost of your treatment. For instance, a multi-stage procedure, like dental implants, may mean an extended stay in a foreign country or multiple separate visits. Therefore, any costs you may have factored in for accommodation and transport will likely be higher than you first anticipated.
A word of warning
If you think dental treatment abroad is right for you, do your homework. Check the dentist’s qualifications and experience, and try to find patient testimonials from people who have undergone the same procedure you’re seeking. Do not rely on marketing and 5 star google reviews. It is also worth checking if your dentist back home is happy to treat any teeth which have been treated abroad as often when things do go wrong, unfortunately the damage is irreversible.
Have your treatment at home
Many patients think that private dental treatment in the UK is beyond their reach. At Hermitage Dental Practice , we believe everyone deserves access to high-quality dental treatment, which is why we offer a variety of dental plans to help you keep your oral health on track. We also provide 0% finance for any treatment over £250. So don’t take unnecessary risks; give us a call on 01530 510533.