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Dental tourism: Fewer patients leave the UK for treatment

Today, fewer UK patients travel for dental treatments. The majority of health tourists travelling to Eastern European countries seek wellness and spa treatments. (Photo: pio3/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

Dental Tribune International

Thu. 20 March 2014


LONDON – According to TeethWise, a cosmetic dental clinic search and cost comparison website, the number of people travelling for dental treatments has dropped significantly over the past decade. This trend is largely attributable to cheaper dental implants and other cosmetic procedures that have become available in the UK.

For instance, Hungarian dentists and dental tour operators have noted a significant fall in the number of medical tourists. The country has attracted many European medical tourists since 2004 when Hungary joined the European Union. According to Eoin Holohan, founder of TeethWise, an estimated 250,000 UK patients travelled to Hungary for medical treatment in 2005 alone. However, a decade later, the number of UK nationals travelling to Hungary has fallen by 38 per cent, Holohan stated.

He further pointed out that the economic climate and price pressures on restorative dentistry in the UK were the two main factors causing the drop in numbers. “A full jaw replacement with six implants will cost from £9,900 (€11,800) in the UK and £6,000 (€7,160) in Hungary. Implants are rarely available on the NHS and other inferior replacement methods may be more attractive to patients during periods of belt tightening,” he said.

In addition, he highlighted that increased competition in the UK and offers from low-cost manufacturers have driven down the price of dental implants, which are now available from as little as £995 (€1,190), as more and more dentists are offering a low-cost alternative along with a premium implants brand. Moreover, a number of dentists in the UK have established specialised dental implant clinics, offering cheap implants to large numbers of patients.

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