Dental Treatment Abroad
In 2007, a survey published by well-known consumer association Which? revealed that dental treatment is one of the most popular planned health treatments in the UK, yet not all this work takes place at UK dentists. Although surveys on this subject have never been completed, it’s clear that many people are travelling abroad to have their dental treatments.
Some dentists, such as Damien Walmsley, the professor of restorative dentistry at the University of Birmingham, have spent time talking to both dentists who work abroad, and patients who have travelled for treatment. It’s clear from these conversations that many of the treatments being carried out abroad come under the umbrella of advanced dentistry. This could include crowns, bridges, reconstructive work including implants, and also veneers.
Saving money, highly qualified dentists, and the latest high quality materials being used in treatment, are just some of the benefits that foreign dentists and the agencies acting for them in the UK, tell potential clients they can expect. While there are happy clients out there, with happy smiles, if you are considering dental treatment abroad, then you need to be aware exactly what to expect, and make sure you do a lot of research before booking anything.
Travel without any risk
Travelling abroad for dental work is not without its risks, partly due to language and cultural differences, and aftercare problems. Here’s a checklist of things to think about:
Homework: Research into the dental practice and the dentist that could be carrying out the work could prove invaluable. This will ensure that they are properly registered with the relevant authorities/associations. Look into English speaking practices if possible, so it’s easier to get all the information and reassurance you need.
Advice: The General Dental Council advises speaking to your own dentist about your plans, partly so you can get an opinion from someone who knows your dental history, and partly so they are aware of your plans in case of any problems or complications at a later date. You should also be assessed by a qualified dentist prior to any costing or treatment plan being given.
Aftercare: With communication an issue in some countries and their dental practices, it is vital, that if you book any treatment, you have any information and documentation on this in English. Your UK dentist needs to understand fully the work that has been done on your teeth to help treat you in the future, should any problems arise.
Communication: Essentially you will be going into an environment that is unfamiliar, so be aware of your own expectations in terms of communication and being able to ask questions, and how you will deal with those, or any language barriers, if they are not met.
Costs: It’s important that you compare costs between different practices abroad, and factor in any extras you may have to pay on-top of treatment, such as travel costs or loss of earnings.
To find out if you could be reimbursed for treatment abroad via the NHS, and all the applicable routes to apply for health treatment abroad, visit the NHS website or seek advice from your local primary care trust.