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Dental Implant Treatment Abroad – Is Dental Tourism Safe?

Dental tourism involves the patient visiting a foreign country to receive dental implants or other types of dental care. In several eastern European or Asian countries, dental treatment fees can be less than half the price compared with the most expensive UK dental practices. Many people perceive this to mean that significant savings can be made, especially if they do not have dental insurance which covers the treatment which they require. Many dentistry treatments such as dental implants are classified as purely cosmetic dental procedures, and as a result they are not covered by most dental insurance policies.

In recent years it has became increasingly easier to find dental clinics which can offer treatment overseas. There are numerous foreign dental companies whose websites can easily be found on the internet. Such clinics are usually located in Hungary, Poland, Thailand, India or Singapore.

At the beginning of 2010, a study showed that trips for ‘dental tourism’ were becoming increasingly popular in Britain – maybe partly due to the recession.  The survey suggested that a growing number of British people have been travelling to other countries in the belief that they will receive usually high-priced dental treatments at a far lower price. In 2009 just over quarter of a million UK citizens travelled overseas to receive dental treatment.

Ongoing Research
Currently Dr Neil Lunt from the University of York is leading a team of researchers to look into whether venturing overseas for dental treatments and various other health procedures actually provides good value for money. The research team includes sociologists, medical professionals and health economists;  they are responsible for determining the impact which British health tourists are having on the UK economy and the NHS (National Health Service).

The main perceived advantage of receiving dental treatment abroad is the cost of the treatment.  However, if complications occur after the patient returns to the UK it is likely to be the NHS which is left to correct the problem and pick up the tab.

Disadvantages & Risks

There are a number of disadvantages and increased levels of risk involved in dental tourism; including quality issues, guarantees of dental work and costly repeat visits.

  • Dentists who are based in other countries may use dental implants and other components which are of lower quality than those used in the UK. This is due to the strict regulation of the UK dental implant industry which is imposed by European and British regulatory bodies. Similar regulations may not be so strictly enforced in some other counties.
  • An individual who is dissatisfied with their dental work might have little if any redress against the cosmetic dentist in some countries.
  • Treatments – such as dental implants – that have a lengthy recovery period in between treatments or involve repeat visits will require the patient to make several expensive trips.

For any prospective UK Dental Implant Patient who is considering dental tourism it is important to make an informed choice on whether having dental implant treatments abroad is sufficiently cheaper than in the Britain; and whether those savings are substantial enough to warrant the increased risks. This can be achieved with an understanding of the dental implant procedure and thorough internet research enabling the price differences to be compared along with the extra costs of flights and accommodation being taken into account.

Mark Hub is an experienced dental health blogger who is the author of many well researched articles on the subject of dental health mainly focusing on dental implants and cosmetic dental surgery. The majority of the articles are written to inform the public about procedures which they may be considering and the general issues surrounding dental implants -


  1. drmartinkitay

    March 8, 2015 at 4:05 am

    The primary driving factor of ‘dental tourism’ is the cost. People travel abroad to get same quality service at a lower price.

  2. Brigita

    March 3, 2015 at 8:20 am

    I’ve seen kids two years old with 20 baby teeth, and 16 of them are crowns or root canals. If you catch the child early and provide dental education for the parents, you can really prevent this. Most people think about getting cavities from eating candy, but the bacteria that causes dental decay can be transmitted by kissing or sharing food and utensils. So educate early and be a good role model: If Mom and Dad brush their teeth regularly, so will the kid. Regards, Estetinis dantų protezavimas

  3. Jim

    August 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Very interesting article you have here. I’m not so sure about the situation in Europe but in Australia, dental treatment is very expensive and they are thousands of Australians who go abroad to Phuket to get their teeth fixed for at least 1/3rd the price in Australia.

    How safe is it? Not sure but they are a lot of them who get good results but they are those who get really bad work done too.

  4. Lee Branson

    August 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    What a load of rubbish, why you want to make Poland and Hungary sound like its in the out back instead of part of the European community. Hungary has just received £300 million from the E U to develop its dental tourism industry…why, well that’s simple the best trained dentist in the world and a really competitive prices.

    Get you facts straight other people might assume you’re being paid by a consortium of Uk dentist.

    What a load of rubbish. And yes I am English sick of uk dentistry, over priced, crap work and terrible manners.

  5. Ben Erskine

    August 23, 2012 at 5:02 am

    The risks and advantages in the article don’t really give a clear picture of why people are travelling abroad for dental treatment. It’s not a new concept, I have been sending people to Kreativ Dental Clinic in Hungary since 2003 and customers dont travel to solely save money. Infact 75% of the people I speak to are travelling to receive a better quality of service than they have received previously here in the UK. I can only speak for our clinic but the implants and materials used are the best you can get anywhere in the world, Nobel Bio Care, Emax Porcelain, Arcus Digma the list can go on and on. All professional clinics in Hungary offer UK after care and we do not leave the NHS to pick up the tab if there is a problem, we deal with it. This is dentistry so yes, sometimes there are problems.
    Dental tourism is very different to visiting your local NHS dentist for a filling here and a root canal there. Mark is write in his article…that Implant treatment will involve 2 visits however our customers are informed of this before they travel. Information is key before making a decision to travel for any kind of health care, like everything in life, its not for everyone.
    One thing I would like to add is that… “In 2009 just over quarter of a million UK citizens travelled overseas to receive dental treatment” not sure where this stat came from but it seems massively over estimated. The figure is more like 50,000.

  6. Dental Tourist

    August 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    In my experience the risk is far less than what people would imagine. It all depends if you find a quality dentist, and that’s why there are intermediaries to help ensure a decent experience.

    My opinion is that dental tourism exists because it’s safe, effective, and affordable.

    • Asaph Rose

      August 10, 2015 at 12:40 am

      agree with you as it is truly upon the dentist… so one should wisely act in choosing his or her dentist.

      Asaph Rose | Northbrook dental care

  7. Carson Fuller

    August 22, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Treatment generally is a three-part process that takes several months. Your dentist may provide the treatment, or you may be referred to a specialist – such as a periodontist, a prosthodontistor an oral and maxillofacial surgeon – for all or part of the treatment.

  8. Andrew J. Kiggundu

    August 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Seems too risky. I wonder what the sum of losses to UK dentists is with so many people choosing to go to alternative destinations. Would certainly be a drawback to go back a second time if something did not go well the first time!

  9. Mike Silford

    August 20, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Where does the idea come from that dentist in uk use higher quality and regulation is higher? The question to be asked is not why is dentistry cheaper overseas, but why is it so expensive in uk? There are now companies in the uk that offer dentistry at comparable prices to those found overseas.

  10. Eoin Holohan

    August 20, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Interesting article. Would be keen to see the results of the study into dental tourism.

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