In pursuit of the perfect smile, many Brits decide to venture abroad. And Hungary is by far the most prefered destination for dental tourism in Europe. The principal reason for that is having the same quality dental implant treatment as the one in the UK, but for a significantly lower cost.
Most overseas clinics offer treatment packages, meaning you could combine a dental implant treatment with a holiday. Looking at it that way dental tourism offers a tempting opportunity. It seems that you wouldn’t want to miss having medical work at a significantly lower price, combined with leisure time to enjoy foreign culture, cuisine and architecture.
However, as rare as it may be, some dental procedures do not go as planned, leaving agitated patients with accumulated pain, disappointment and extra bills to cover.
Let’s see what are the advantages – and the risks – of having a dental treatment in Hungary.
- 1 Why do patients travel for dental tourism?
- 2 Dental tourism in Hungary
- 3 Dental implant costs in Hungary, the UK, and other countries
- 4 Fixed Teeth Implants in Hungary – The Risks and Dangers Explained
- 5 Regulatory organs and can you report implant failure abroad
- 6 Dental tourism in Hungary and its impact on the NHS
- 7 Bringing it all together
Why do patients travel for dental tourism?
Living in the age of accessible information and minimal travelling restrictions (except COVID I guess) there are a few factors that drive people to travel to get their fixed teeth done. The dominant ones are the efficiency and reputation of the facility abroad. At home, it’s the extortionate prices of private dental treatment and long NHS waiting lists (or no availability).
The all-time struggle with the NHS is that despite being eligible for fixed teeth, this involves numerous appointments for consultations, imaging surgery and post-surgery procedures. Alternatively, patients choose to go abroad for the clinics’ simplified process, low price and a quicker final result.
From a medico-legal point of view, many UK dentists prefer to carry out simple procedures and avoid complex ones, fearing harsh lawsuits that may threaten them in case of a failed treatment.
On the other hand, there is the ethical point of view – patients who do not like the shape, colour (or both) of their teeth, are in pursuit of the best place for dental implants abroad. It has become increasingly difficult to get access to personally tailored dental treatment in the UK. The reason is that dentists are becoming more conservative in the treatments offered. Alternatively, oftentimes dental clinics abroad offer extractions of teeth that lack aesthetic looks but are still healthy, as opposed to local clinics that refuse to do so.
Dental tourism in Hungary
Hungary is one of the world’s 30 most popular tourist destinations for dental tourism. The country offers numerous aesthetical solutions for an improved smile. Here are the top 4 treatments that attract thousands of patients yearly to Hungary for dental treatment.
- Dental crowns
This procedure improves your smile by treating and fortifying chipped, unsightly or misshapen teeth with crowns.
Ultimately veneers have increasingly become the definition of a smile makeover. With a durability of 10-15 years, they solve issues with cracks and discolouration, uneven and misshaped teeth.
- Teeth whitening
When looking for the best teeth whitening ideas patients go for either whitening kits, laser whitening, strips, pens and the most enthusiastic ones walk the extra mile deciding to combine it with a dental excursion and travel abroad. Teeth whitening remedies stains ranging from tobacco, drinks and certain drugs. You can also opt for it to battle thinned enamel due to advanced ageing and neglected teeth.
- Dental implants with fixed teeth
The All-on-4/ All-on-6 is a complex procedure for full-mouth restoration with dental implants. It involved placing 4 titanium screws in the lower jaw, 6 in the upper one and a non-removable bridge attached on top. This dental treatment provides a lifelong solution to tooth loss, long-term stability, durability and unequalled aesthetic results.
Dental implant costs in Hungary, the UK, and other countries
It is no secret that anyone who needs this treatment (be it for cosmetic or health reasons) wants to get the cheapest dentist for All-on-4 dental implants. The key decision-making factor here has always been affordability according to research.
Let’s face it, if you have done your due diligence, you’d know that dental implants in the UK cost an arm and a leg at most dental practices (the average cost is £20,000-£30,000), which is why patients are forced to search elsewhere for the best, but the cheapest place for dental implants. Alternatively, with Dentaprime toothless patients can get complete non-removable dentures for up to 70% less as opposed to other clinics in the UK.
The seemingly affordable prices for permanent teeth in other countries are key in the decision-making process when it comes to dental tourism in Europe. Among the cheapest listed countries for dental implants are Hungary starting from £ 914, Croatia with £ 855 and Turkey with £600. Conversely, according to reviews of dental patients who’ve had implant treatments abroad those cheap dental implant prices represent the price of one part only.
You may remember from our dental implant guide article, that the dental implant is comprised of 3 integral parts – the implant itself, the abutment and the crown/ fixed bridge on top. Each one of these components comes with a separate cost, and when you do the maths you end up paying a lot more than expected.
Fixed Teeth Implants in Hungary – The Risks and Dangers Explained
Regardless of the low costs and accessibility of this dental treatment, they tend to come at a much higher price. As cheap and accessible these treatments seem to be, they may come at a price, with unexpected complications. Just like it did for the patient (let’s call him James as he wishes to remain anonymous for the obvious reasons). He travelled to Hungary for dental implants. Eventually, the dental implantation procedure failed and ultimately had to spend over £40,000 on remedial treatment back in the UK.
Here are 4 common risks that we have carefully selected from our experience with retreating patients who decided to have dental implants done outside the UK.
Cheap and quick dental treatment in Hungary
Every toothless patient has 2 main priorities when choosing a dental clinic abroad – cheap cost for implants and a fast hassle-free process. Clinics could take advantage by offering a fast track to a permanent solution to tooth loss. What we found in our research are cases where quick All-on-4 implant treatment is promised without the need for any bone graft.
This is a false statement as one cannot simply promise such a thing without verifying the jaw bone density first. To ensure the implantation will be successful and the chances of failure are next to none, a strong foundation needs to be provided for the dental implants. There are 2 ways for that – a 3D scan and (the most certain one) during the actual implant surgery – only then can the dentist confirm whether you have the appropriate bone density for the procedure.
Legal differences & unclear guarantees
It is far from straightforward to file a legal complaint in case your treatment goes wrong abroad. Among the common difficulties, you can face issues with the signed consent form on spot. Pro tip: Pay attention to clauses that restrict legal actions only to the country where the treatment has been carried out. In case of a legal dispute, this will involve returning numerous times to the country and paying extra legal fees. This, in turn, will obliterate the subject of travelling abroad for a cheaper treatment and instead of saving you end up spending more.
Guarantee only on the product
Nowadays most of us do our research online for everything before making the purchase – ranging from electric toothbrushes to sports cars. The good news is that information is widely available and can be used to make the correct decision. When it comes to dental implants and fixed teeth, especially if done abroad, it’s important to clearly understand what does the price of the service includes.
Some Hungarian clinics offer a full, comprehensive price that includes all materials for the All-on-4 treatment. Others may have separate pricing for all components – implants and implant parts, fixed teeth, additional services like anaesthesia, antibiotics etc. The other thing to look out for is guarantees. Make sure that you get a comprehensive written guarantee on both the restoration and the implants.
You wouldn’t want to be in the position of being left with broken teeth and not having a guarantee to take care of the repair works.
Regulatory organs and can you report implant failure abroad
Patients may not be able to report malpractice in case the country abroad doesn’t have professional regulators like the ones in the UK. According to the General Dental Council (GDC) patients need to be wary before deciding to go abroad for dental implants treatment since not every regulatory body has the same level of a high standard as the GDC and GMC (General Medical Council).
- Different implant brands
Yet another essential part of your preliminary research should be the brand of implants that the clinic plans on using. Pro tip: Always request your implant passport – this is a medical document that is valid worldwide. If a clinic would refuse to provide you with such – consider this as a huge red flag. The most prominent manufacturers are based in Germany, Switzerland (these are considered to be the top-notch ones globally), Korea and the USA.
- Medical risks
Dental implant procedures are not something that you want to do in a rush. It’s a complicated procedure that requires precise planning in advance. It can fail horribly if you overlook healing periods (needed for grafting) and you wouldn’t be able to make a legal claim if done in Hungary for instance.
In case the treatment is not done properly, there is a significant risk that you return home with horrible complications like infections, failed restorations, nerve injuries or a sinus lift gone wrong. Not only these can result in paying extra for complicated remedial treatment, but the failed treatment can affect your whole life and have long-term consequences.
To avoid health and finance risks you can opt for payment in instalments for your dental implant treatment in Dentaprime. You can check your credit score on the website of a highly reputable finance company like Experian.
Dental tourism in Hungary and its impact on the NHS
One raising concern has been raised over and over again about the limited capabilities of NHS resources and whether they should be made available to patients who deliberately chose to undergo cosmetic treatment regardless of whether in Hungary or Poland, but abroad in general. The implication is that the failed treatment could have been avoided should it have been done in the UK. It has been calculated in a 3-year study that it cost the NHS an average of £6,360 for remedial treatment after cosmetic surgery done abroad. This harm from cosmetic surgeries done outside the UK is arguably considered self-inflicted. This raises the valid question of whether NHS resources should be used for patients who have chosen to travel for cosmetic treatment in Europe.
Bringing it all together
At present dentistry seems to be quite consumer-driven, so patients who decide to travel abroad are mostly motivated by the idea that they will get the best deal. At the end of the day, wherever you decide to go, doing a thorough research in advance is a must. It will protect you against financial and emotional loss and will help you avoid suffering health complications that have resulted from treatment malpractice. Look into every aspect of the dental treatment until you feel completely comfortable with the details. Make sure you understand the treatment process, have proper expectations of the timeline and know what materials are involved or may cost extra.
Many European countries now offer low-cost dental implant treatments, still, cheapest doesn’t necessarily always implicate best. The good news is that nowadays more affordable choices are available, even here in the UK.
Positive things to look out for are verified review platforms like Google, Trustpilot and Facebook where patient reviews cannot be manipulated. There you’d be able to get a clear understanding of the patients’ experience. It’s highly unlikely to find the perfect clinic anywhere in the world, still, if the majority of the reviews are both positive and genuine that should be a positive thing to look out for.