People all over the UK have been growing increasingly unhappy with the availability and quality of dental work in the UK. We are far from appreciative of the high prices, the seemingly endless wait and the poor service, so there’s no wonder many of us are traveling abroad to have dental treatments. Places like Poland, Thailand and even Turkey have better equipped and staffed dentists than many in practices in the UK and that is a major draw, add the fact that the cost is much lower and there is no reason why we should pay UK prices. That is, until it goes wrong.
Risks with Major Surgery
There are always risks associated with a surgical procedure and that will never change. The problem is that travelling to a foreign country to have a surgical operation such as dental implants will mean voiding any of your standard medical insurance. Even though many of the dental holidays you see advertised state they carry their own insurance to ensure your safety, is that insurance any use when you arrive home?
What happens if you have implants that need removing because of an infection or some other complication that causes pain? It is not practical to jump on a plane and re-visit the dentist and you are unlikely to gain access to the country if you are honest enough to state your reason for travel is to receive medical attention. The fact is that you are on your own, regardless of the insurance cover you purchase or that your foreign dentist has in place.
The Telegraph featured one woman who travelled to Hungary for dental treatment that cost £3,500, but had to pay another £8,000 to have her implants removed and to be fitted with dentures instead. That is just one example, but look and you will find more. There are many good examples too; otherwise, there would be much less adverts for dental holidays. Of course, there are bad examples of dentists who have injured people and performed shoddy work in the UK, so it’s not fair to demonise foreign practices when we have the same problems at home.
The major difference is the cost. There is no way to argue that foreign dentists work out more expensive when things go smoothly because they out price UK practitioners by quite some way. It is only when the procedure is not what you planned or complications arise that things can cost too much. That is when people realise that the savings they made initially may have cost them a lot more.
What if I Only Want Cosmetic Dentistry?
Most people travelling abroad for treatment are doing so because they want some form of implant or crown fixed and while most of those treatments result in a trouble free experience, there will always be a gamble. It is not fair to state that hygiene plays a part in the problems with foreign dentists because they are no worse or better than practices in the UK, although there are always exceptions.
The fact is anything other than having your teeth painted or minor treatments produces the potential for a problem that may not be easily dealt with during your short break. If time is not an issue and you are able to rely on your dentist’s insurance to cover your costs for extended stays then there is no reason why you should pay much more to have your teeth done in the UK. However, if you need to go back to work any time soon or you are just not comfortable with risk then the UK should be the place of choice for you.
Stuart Edge is a traveller who has used foreign dentists for many years and has never needed to file dental negligence claims. He understands the risks and knows of people who have had different experiences to his.