Comparison Of Dental Tourism Vs UK Dentistry

According to new research in 2022, out of 28 European countries, the UK ranks 12th in terms of dental hygiene. This is despite the UK having lower sugar consumption and fewer smokers than most of Europe. “Dental tourism” or overseas dentistry has become increasingly popular over the last decade. Due to more people wanting to create their ideal smile on a small budget. Various studies have reported that 84% of UK adults would change something about their smiles. With 11% of UK adults thinking their teeth are too crooked. Additionally, following the pandemic, zoom and team calls have become normal. However, 11% of adults feel conscious about seeing their smiles during an online meeting or video call. In addition to, 48% of UK adults say Zoom calls have made them more self-conscious about their smiles. Lastly, 63% of abroad UK dental patients are aged between 18-34, seeking their ideal social media smile. This fast-growing trend of dental tourism has naturally posed a range of questions. For instance, “why are dental treatments so affordable from a Turkey dentist when compared to the UK?”. In addition to the cost of potential corrective procedures, “is it really worth it?”. Dental treatments in the UK range dependent on several factors including NHS treatments versus private dental care.

Dental Care System

In the UK, there are two types of dentist practice. NHS often is cheaper however with long waiting lists, short appointments, and a narrow selection of treatments.  As well as private dental care, which has flexible appointments, times and a broad range of treatments including cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic treatments may include, teeth whitening, Invisalign, dental crowns, dental implants, and composite bonding. However, in Turkey and other countries, they only have private clinics, with the exception of government hospitals and universities.  As a result, many practices had to improve on their skills and technology. Yet, as investment increased, their prices had to remain low, so they were competitively priced.

Dentist Regulations: Is Dental Tourism Safe

All dentists in the UK are regulated by the General Dental Council (GDC) and must hold indemnity insurance. Furthermore, there are certain standards that UK dentists have to follow to comply with Care Quality Commission (CQC). They monitor and inspect surgeries to ensure they follow key lines of inquiry (KLOEs) and government regulations. However, an abroad dentist has completely different regulations which also differ depending on regions even in the same country. If the worse were to happen or if a patient is unhappy with their tourism dentistry it is extremely difficult to make a claim. As a UK citizen, the GDC is unable to as the GDC cannot investigate any dental work that has been performed abroad. You can find out about health regulators and professional bodies in other countries by visiting here.

Dental Tourism Prices

Private dentistry in the UK can cost up to 70% more than its counterpart in places such as Turkey. Due to the cost in the UK, many British patients have sought alternative ways to save money on their dental treatments. Every year patients travel to places such as Turkey, Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to take advantage of the low cost of dental work. Research has found that in 2019 over 35,000 Brits traveled overseas for cheap cosmetic dentistry. Abroad dental practices stress within their advertising campaigns the huge cost difference between them and the UK. Although often true, it also reflects their work, knowledge, materials, and experience. However, there are several other hidden costs that need to be considered, which can quickly add up:

  • Return flights
  • Hotel accommodation for the duration
  • Transport and any parking charges
  • The cost of living while away
  • Time off work for the treatment and recovery
  • Any correction procedures

Affordability and speed of treatment do not always equal quality and value. Patients thinking about dental tourism need to take this into consideration when deciding.

Dental Veneer Treatment

Statistics show that 53% of under 35’s in the UK have received some form of cosmetic dentistry to improve their smile. Dental veneers are one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments. Veneers are different from dental crowns; they act as a shell, bonded to the front surface of the tooth. Although less invasive they still require a small amount of the natural tooth enamel to be filed away. Therefore, it is essential that care is taken to ensure that the nerves of the tooth do not become exposed. If this does occur, there is a high risk of infection.

Treatment Time

Moving forward with dental veneers in the UK can take up to three weeks from consultation to having the veneer fitted. However, abroad, and when visiting a Turkey dentist this can be done in one visit with the “promise” of a low price and fast results.

Communication Barrier

Initial consultation for abroad procedures often occurs over the phone or through a virtual platform like Teams. Although we may be used to this following the pandemic, vital information can be missed for instance medical history and allergies. Additionally, dentistry is naturally hands-on however, having consultations over the internet, your dentist is unable to view your current teeth. Often abroad dentists use photographs sent using Facebook messenger ad WhatsApp. Lastly, patients are often faced with language barriers, leaving them feeling isolated and out of control of the situation.

Implications of abroad treatments

However, it has been found that emergency dental treatments have risen as a result of botched cosmetic work abroad. Furthermore, around 75% of those who had traveled abroad for dental procedures required corrective work back home. Some of the reported problems, which lead to corrective treatments include:

  • Long-lasting pain
  • Overly sensitive teeth, making it painful to eat and drink
  • Exposed nerves
  • 20% of nerves died off therefore, tooth removal is required
  • Poorly fitted veneers
  • Infected gums and root canals
  • Rotting teeth
  • Excessive, prolonged swelling
  • Poorly bonded veneers lead to them easily falling off

Many dentists have reported that often a patient is unaware of what treatment they have undergone abroad. Therefore, unaware of the state of their natural teeth underneath the work. It is vital a patient does that research before moving forward with dental tourism.

Are You Considering Cosmetic Dentistry?

Whilst the initial affordable cost of dental work using an abroad dentist is attractive, it is critical to consider all of the potential risks. Here at Cheslyn Hay Dental Practice we always recommend using a reputable UK dentist for any dental treatments. As a private dental practice, we offer a variety of dental plans. Our team has the experience, knowledge, and equipment needed to provide first-class dental treatments right here in the UK. Working across the West Midlands, Cannock, and Walsall our cosmetic treatments include, teeth whitening, Invisalign, dental crowns, and composite bonding. We appreciate that a private cosmetic dentist in the UK is not the cheapest option, however, you truly get what you pay for. By choosing a UK private dentist like Cheslyn Hay Dental Practice, you can guarantee the following:

  • A convenient location that can be visited as often as needed for consultations and check-ups.
  • A dentist that you can trust, you can see this person regularly to check the healing and maintain the work.
  • With a high standard of care, you are protected by UK law where cross-infection is unlikely.

To make our specialist, knowledge, expertise, and experience more affordable we have a range of plans and offers. To discover more, contact us today and start your smile transformation with a trusted UK dental practice.