Why dental tourism is worth considering
PUBLISHED: 17:24 03 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:30 04 March 2020
From cosmetic dentistry to essential dental care, the popularity of dental tourism is soaring as more of us become aware of the huge cost savings.
Patients from across the UK, including East Anglia, are increasingly heading to countries such as Hungary, Spain and Thailand seeking treatments ranging from dental implants and veneers to teeth whitening and root canals.
Anxieties over undertaking cheap dental procedures abroad are subsiding as patients return home with new smiles and healthy mouths, proving treatments can be safe, as well as affordable.
Who is opting for dental care abroad?
"Overseas dental treatment appeals to people of all ages," explains Paul McTaggart, CEO of Dental Departures, which puts patients in touch with more than 6,350 dentists in 38 countries.
"We see young people in their 20s, looking for cheap veneers and dental whitening, up to those in their 60s seeking cost effective dental implants, affordable fillings and dentures," he says.
"The popularity of having dental treatment abroad recently hit the headlines when Connor Durman discussed having his veneers done in Thailand on Love Island, but anyone can benefit from overseas dental care and treatment is not limited to cosmetic procedures."
With more than 100,000 bookings and 35,000 original patient reviews, Dental Departures is now the world's foremost online dental travel agency.
Is dental tourism safe?
Understandably, patients can be anxious about undergoing treatment from unknown practitioners.
Some surgeries in the UK have ties abroad and will offer a first treatment at home before the patient goes overseas for the final and most expensive work to be done.
"This is what we would recommend and is something we can help with," Paul suggests.
Some patients are choosing to find their own cheap dentists overseas while others are opting for assistance from Dental Departures.
"We know how important it is to ensure safe dental tourism, so we test and verify all the clinics we work with," he explains.
"Our dentists and doctors have to have the correct certifications - we look into their previous work to confirm they are trustworthy and experienced. Those using our website can then compare clinics. We carry out our own background checks to give patients the greatest peace of mind in comparing clinics and making an informed choice."
How does dental tourism work?
Essentially, you book your treatment then arrange your travel and accommodation.
"Our staff answer questions via live chat on our website and will obtain a free, no-obligation quote for you and will even help with insurance and finance - they offer support every step of the way," he says.
"We also offer background information on destinations and ideas for accommodation."
Is dental tourism worth it?
According to Dental Departures, procedures abroad can be as much as 70pc less expensive than in the UK.
Dental implants abroad can cost as little as £660 each in Turkey, £770 in Poland and £1,080 in Thailand, whereas in the UK patients can pay up to £2,500.
Veneers abroad are as low as £190 in Malaysia and £230 in Mexico, compared with £920 in Britain.
"People looking for affordable teeth whitening will find it for around £155 in Hungary or £240 in Spain instead of the £380 they might pay in Britain," Paul adds.
"All on Four treatments - a dental implants technique that refers to four dental implants supporting all teeth - cost as much as £20,000 in the UK, compared to a mere £6025 in Poland."
Top destinations for cosmetic dentistry abroad
So, if you are wondering how to transform your smile while enjoying a holiday at the same time, it is worth comparing treatment prices and considering destinations.
For Brits looking at options abroad for dentistry, Hungary is a firm favourite; Thailand also tops the leading destinations while dentistry in Spain and Poland are growing in popularity as well.
Hungary was a pioneer of dental tourism and, of course, beautiful Budapest is widely considered one of the most exciting cities in the world.
Thailand could be your dream destination if you want to go further afield to Bangkok or perhaps lie on a tropical beach in Phuket.
But there is no reason why anyone should not look into it to see if it might be an ideal option for them.
"Quite apart from saving money, you can also combine the appointment with a city break or holiday, making the whole experience far more enjoyable!" says Paul.