If you’re nodding your head yes, then maybe you’re already considering dental travel. Each year thousands of Americans, Australians, Brits and Canadians travel for a dental treatment abroad. Some popular destinations include Mexico, Thailand, Costa Rica and most recently, Central Europe. The reasons patients travel abroad for dental treatments vary, but usually, the driving factors include price and time. Even including the price of travel and accommodation, patients save on average 50-75%.
In order to better understand the why’s, how’s and possibilities of dental travel, here are 3 common scenarios that explain the advantages of having your next dental treatment abroad.
1. One-Day Dentistry (2 Day Visit)
Thanks to CEREC technology, patients can have a new smile in 24 hours. By using a 3D camera and special software, the dentist can create, polish and fit new crowns, veneers, onlays, inlays or bridges during a single visit. This is perfect for having a dental treatment abroad.If you’re traveling from the UK, a flight to central Europe only takes less than 2 hours and is often less than £35.Patients who choose CEREC are often able to save the most, and stay a maximum of 1-2 nights.
2. Short-Gap (5-7 Day Visit)
For patients traveling further distances (United States, Canada), an ideal trip will last 5-7 days. Popular treatments include veneers and crowns and the procedure is split into two visits.
Day 1: Arrive, Consultation & Impressions, Temporary Crowns/Veneers (Visit #1)
Day 3: Diagnostic Dental Wax-Up (Smile Preview, optional during Visit #1)
Day 5-7: New Veneers/Crowns Fitted, Depart (Visit #2)
Another reason people are choosing dental treatment abroad is to travel– duh! Instead of spending thousands more to stay home and visit their local dentists, patients are combining low-cost dental treatment and their vacation. For instance, from Prague, Czech Republic (Central Europe) it takes only a few hours to travel by train or bus to Vienna, Budapest, Berlin and Munich. Because dental work generally requires little to no recovery time, patients are free to travel and take advantage of new sites and culture.
This was the case for Salutara patients, Paul Cogan, professional baseball scout with the LA Dodgers, and his wife Carol. In 2016, they couple traveled to Prague, the Czech Republic for dental work. After years of what Paul considered “band-aid fixes”, he and his wife of 31-years, and parents of three decided it was time to finally put an end to Paul’s dental fiasco and explore Europe in the meantime.
For the cost of the treatment (4 porcelain crowns + examination, OPG photo, Anesthesia- $2,000/approx. $438 per crown)
Four nights in Prague ($200)
A train ticket ($37) and one night in Vienna ($55)
Two nights in London ($130)
2 round-trip flight tickets ($1,479)
Price of food + other expenses (approx. $500)
All in all, the Cogan’s spent roughly $4,400 (USD). Compare this to the average cost of dental treatment near San Francisco, California,which can be as high as $1,800 per porcelain crown (*often excluding the price of examination, OPG photo, Anesthesia), andtheir total savings stretched well over two thousand dollars.
“Coming to Prague for Paul’s treatment was out first time in Europe. We wanted to make this trip more than just dental work, so we planned for a lot of sightseeing in between visits to the clinic,” Carol added in an interview with Salutara.“We toured Prague Castle, the Jewish Cemetery, Wenceslaus Square, Prague Zoo and took a train trip to Vienna. Prague is a very friendly, affordable city, and easy to get around on foot or by public transport.”
3. Longer-Gap (3 months)
Often times, patients experience more serious dental issues (i.e. dental implants, missing bone, etc.). As a result, two trips may be necessary. While this may seem like a more pricey option, extensive dental work in the United States and the UK tends to cost a small fortune. It is often uninsured as well.
Day 1: Arrive, Implant Consultation & 3D Scans
Day: 2-3: Make Implants, Depart
Trip #2: 3 Months Later
Day 1: Arrive, Crown Consultation
Day 2: Implantation (Stay 1-2 nights)
Day 3 or 4: Depart
After returning home, a local dentist can remove their sutures during a follow-up appointment For patients making two trips, it is a popular opinion to extend the first visit and soak up their surroundings much like Paul and Carol.
Dallas Wiens, 25, was severely injured when his head touched a high-voltage electrical wire while working inside a cherry picker.
Zlaté české ručičkyachytré české hlavičky is an old Czech proverb, meaning “golden Czech hands and clever Czech heads.” In 2011, a team of surgeons gathered around an operating table in Boston, Massachusetts to perform the nation’s first (and world’s third) full facial transplant. Lead by renowned plastic surgeon, Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, the patient’s nose, palate, upper lip, and facial skin, muscles, and nerves was successfully replaced with those of a deceased donor. Born in former Czechoslovakia, Dr. Pomahac’s groundbreaking achievements in plastic surgery are celebrated universally and abroad. As for the rest of the medical community, the newly named, “Czechia”, is setting the bar extra high when it comes to performance and innovation.
In a country known more for its medieval castles, hockey, and of course, beer, the Czechs are just as serious about their medical contributions. Check out 4 ways the Czechs are ahead of the game:
1. The “Heart” Of Europe
Faithfully beating more than 100,000 times a day, the heart is unquestionably one of our most vital organs. Landlocked between Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia, the Czech Republic is often referred to as “The Heart of Europe”.
Appropriately, the Czechs are world leaders in cardiac surgery; performing the country’s first successful heart transplant in 1984. Recognized for their excellent system of healthcare for those suffering from acute coronary symptoms- especially the treatment and prevention of heart attacks- the Czech Republic is also home to state-of-the-art cardiovascular centers as well as some of the world’s top cardiac specialists.
Da Vinci Xi. The widely universal word “robot” was first coined by Czech brother Karel and Josef Čapek.
Since 2005, Prague’s Na Homolce hospital has been using robotic technology to assist in various surgeries, including cardiac. In 2016, they added a new, upgraded member to their surgical team. His name? Da Vinci Xi.Controlled by a human surgeon, Da Vinci Xi’s mechanical arms offer precision that would not otherwise be possible.
2. Second Chances
In 1932, the Czech Republic became the first country in the world to recognize plastic surgery as an independent branch of medicine. Many Czech surgeons, including Dr. Pomahač, have received international acclaim; and their success is no accident. After a minimum of 6 years at an accredited university, medical students must pass a rigorous series of exams followed by a two years residency with an experienced practitioner. It can be nearly a decade before they ever perform an operation.
While working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Dr. Pomahač became increasingly interested in the subject of face transplants. In 2009, the first partial face transplant was successfully completed in France. Four years later, Dr. Pomahač and his surgical team performed a 17-hour operation to reconstruct the severely disfigured face of James Maki, age 59. In 2011, Dr. Pomahač led a team of 30 physicians, nurses and anesthesiologists for more than 15 hours to complete the first full transplant in the USA (see photo above).
3. Fighting Infertility
Since 1978, nearly 5 million babies have been born thanks to infertility treatment- specifically IVF. In
1984, the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) became one of the first countries to pioneer In Vitro Fertilization and facilitate a successful birth.
As of 2017, the Czech Republic is home to over 30 fertility clinics and centers.
According to NHS, 1 in 7 couples will have difficulty conceiving. Determined to help millions of men and women realize their dream of starting a family, the Czechs continue to invest a fortune in comprehensive IVF centers and extensive reproduction procedures. Today, they rank among the highest IVF success rates; 70 % in cases involving donated eggs. Czech legislation also plays a critical role in the rapidly growing field. It permits anonymous donation and the option to choose the physical characteristics of the donated egg or sperm in order to prevent serious genetic diseases.
Approximately 1 in every 5,000 women is born without a uterus, cervix, and upper vaginal canal. The rarely-discussed, devastating syndrome, MRKH, makes it impossible to carry a fetus to term.
Historically, women with MRKH have had very few options, one of which being a uterus transplant from a live donor. In 2016, Czech doctors from the Prague-based Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) performed the sixth of now thirteen worldwide uterus transplants. Czech experts say that the next step is transplanting from dead donors. For thousands of women, this means the opportunity to carry and give birth.
Paul Cogan, long-time professional baseball scout for the LA Dodgers, is no stranger when it comes to finding the best. The father of 4, and husband of 31 years, travels the United States each year searching for the most talented, up-and-coming players to recruit. However, despite victories on and off the field, Paul’s dental success was striking out big time. That is until after years of quick fixes, and “bandaid” procedures, he decided to look abroad for dental crowns.
Recently, Salutara had the opportunity to sit down with Paul, and his wife Carol, to discuss their trip to Prague, the Czech Republic, and why they traveled half-way around the world for help.
From California to Europe
Salutara: Explain your decision to travel abroad for dental crowns. Had you ever traveled abroad for a medical procedure before?
Paul:Never! Up until now all my dental work has been done in the U.S.. But I have several friends who have sought medical advice abroad-mostly Asia- and they felt very comfortable with their experience. So that’s how the seed got planted. When I knew I needed crowns, I started looked into Asia and Latin America, India and Europe. From the beginning, I had a certain fondness and trust in Europe over anywhere elsewhere- but that’s just me.
Paul and his dentist post dental crown procedure at Mediestetik clinic, Prague
How important was price when making your decision? Where there any other factors?
Well, price was a factor but certainly not THE factor. I needed the comfort factor first and foremost- then price. The difference between most countries was nominal as far as cost. For me, it was Prague and Salutara that stood out from the rest and helped me to make my decision.
Working With Salutara
How about the support from Salutara when you arrived in Prague?
I almost felt like a celebrity- it was amazing. My wife and I were met at the airport by Petr and Martin (Salutara Co-Founders) and immediately felt a connection and level of trust. The whole Salutara staff was outstanding.
Carol: I have to agree. Not only did Petr and Martin met us at the airport, but they took us to our first appointment and met us at our last. They also visited with me while my husband was in the dental chair and gave me tips on where to eat and what to see in Prague. We were extremely satisfied!
Did you get to do any additional traveling or sightseeing during your trip?
Carol: Yes of course. We toured Prague Castle, the Jewish Cemetery, Wenceslaus Square, Prague Zoo and took a train trip to Vienna. Prague is a very friendly, affordable city, and easy to get around on foot or by public transport. We made the most of our time!
Paul Cogan (left) with his wife, Carol, and Salutara Co-founder, Petr Vankat, at the Marriott Hotel, Prague
And what was your experience like working with Salutara to facilitate your procedure? Did you feel like you were cared for and in good hands?
Yes I did. Salutara was professional and caring. I felt that was cared for and in good hands throughout the entire procedure. Their expertise and professionalism was evident from the very first communication via email, to the moment they said goodbye as our taxi to the airport arrived.
What questions or concerns did you have for your dentist at Mediestetik during your consultation? Were you satisfied with the clinic?
Very satisfied! Going into the consultation I basically knew what to expect, but was advised which crowns and techniques would be best. The communication was easy and the language barrier was not a problem- I mention this because I know this is a worry of many patients who travel abroad for a procedure. The dentist anticipated my needs and was quick and efficient.
Carol:I’d also like to add that the staff was extremely professional and that the facility and equipment were state of the art. We couldn’t have been more impressed!
How long did the entire procedure take? Was it painful?
For all my crowns, I spent a total of 4 hours in the dentist chair, 2 hours in preparation to create a mold and a final 2 hours to install. I didn’t need any Novocain and they were very sensitive to ensure my comfort. There was no pain at all.
The Final Score
For other people thinking about dentistry abroad, would you recommend working with Salutara and coming to the Czech Republic?
I already have and will continue to do so. People think there is a big risk involved when traveling abroad for medical care, but I give them full assurance there isn’t. Never before have I had such a pleasant dentist office experience until this.
Carol: Do not hesitate working with Salutara or Mediestetik! We plan on returning for more dental work in the future.
And most importantly, how are you enjoying your new dental crowns?
Like a kid! For the first time in ages I don’t mind smiling wider and can finally eat properly now. They feel fantastic!
Quality, affordable healthcare is on the forefront of minds around the world. Out-of-pocket medical costs for critical and elective procedures continue to skyrocket, and nations offering universal care are struggling to keep up with the demand. As a result, millions of patients are crossing borders each year in order to access better healthcare options, save money, and cut down on increasingly long wait times. According to Patients Beyond Borders, the worldwide medical tourism market is estimated to be growing at a rate of 15-25%.
In a recent interview with Martin Cvetler and Petr Vankat, co-founders of Salutara, they discuss how Salutara.com is helping patients navigate the new world of medical travel, and how they plan to revolutionize the medical tourism industry.
Q: Hi Petr and Martin! Tell us a little bit about Salutara. Where did the inspiration to start an online medical travel platform come from?
Petr:Some people believe that traveling is the best way to enrich your life, and I completely agree. Several years ago I was visiting a friend in Switzerland, and came across a local travel agent who was providing citizens of the beautiful Swiss town, Thun, a chance to take advantage of high quality yet significantly lower priced Hungarian dentistry. It stroke me as a brilliant idea! I started imagining how great it would be to give people the means to find the perfect treatment, clinic and doctor, anywhere in the world.
A friendly, coherent online platform seemed like the easiest way to provide simple communication and allow patients to book their procedures directly. My mother is also an eye surgeon, so and I grew up around doctors. It only made sense.
Martin: There were other online platforms out there at the time we started building Salutara.com, but none that provided users with full, end-to-end service. Our idea wasn’t to be the same, and it still isn’t. We’ve created Salutara.com to be something like the Booking.com of medical treatments, although finding a clinic and booking a medical treatment is certainly not the same as booking a hotel room. When you’re working with patients from all over the world, with real medical concerns, building trust is the main concern.
Co-Founder, Petr Vankat and Salutara dental client, Ingrid, USA, sightseeing in Prague before her procedure.
Q: What are some of the main advantages of traveling abroad for medical treatments?
Martin: There are plenty of advantages of traveling abroad for a medical treatment. Shorter wait times, better quality, and lower prices to name a few. Patients generally want top quality for a reasonable and affordable price. Today, prices can vary 2-3 fold depending on the country. Recently, a client traveled from the USA for 5 days of extensive dental treatment. In total, she spent 8,800 USD. Back home in the USA, the same procedure would easily cost 3 times more.
Price aside, she was also extremely happy with the quality of the clinic in the Czech Republic. Based on her experience, she felt that it was better equipped than some US clinics.
Q: What is the most frequent question (or concern) patients have before traveling abroad for a medical procedure?
Petr: Price, quality and language spoken- in this order. As Martin mentioned, most people ask for good quality for an affordable price, however, some prefer quality regardless of price. And as far as languages, we direct our customers to clinics and doctors equipped with particular language skills. In the near future we’ll be launching a concierge service including interpretation on site.
Martin: We also provide every client with multiple price quotes from different clinics so they can compare and get a good feel for the price level. Our goal is to provide clients with standardized quotes that are easy to understand and compare. Simplicity is key. Our clients have busy lives and we value their time.
Q: Let’s talk about Salutara.com. What features and capabilities does your full-service, online platform provide?
Martin:The ultimate solution is a user friendly platform that connects clients with clinics for unlimited online consultations, price quotes, date booking, trip planning (when going abroad), including the transportation and accommodation. At the same time, every client has a dedicated Salutara coordinator that helps with questions before and during the trip, and helps clients make the right, and best decision for them.
Petr: Adding to what Martin said, it is also a matter of common sense. We want to solve the annoying problems people face when doing it themselves? For instance, having to approach clinics with different price lists, exchanging lengthy, exhausting e-mail back and forth (often hard to keep track of), discussing different availabilities, language skills, and of course, finding credible patient reviews. This is what we are currently solving and working on.
Q: How do you support the patients before, during and after their medical travel?
Martin: As I said before, we do and provide everything that helps to make the right decision about the clinic. Once the date of a treatment is reserved, we help each client organize everything else, including the airport transfers, accommodation and anything else they might need at the destination. Once they arrive, we make sure they are at all of their appointments on time, arrange any necessary transportation, and accompany them to the clinic if they wish.
Petr: In addition, as well as you might appreciate to be asked how everything was before leaving a restaurant, we do the same before our clients leave the country of treatment and when they arrive home. Feedback is crucial for further improvement and it also gives Salutara’s customers a chance to share a few happy “after” pictures with us, which so far they’ve loved doing.
Q: What responsibilities do you have as one of the world’s leading medical travel platforms?
Petr:It’s a good question. We are responsible for providing a variety of transparent options for customers to choose from. All data needs to be accurate and quick response times are critical for urgent treatments . This is especially true for IVF, when every seconds counts.
Martin:As Petr said, accurate and extensive information is 100% necessary, and we do not believe in cutting corners. Speedy and relevant responses are also important, as well as honesty, trust and care.
Online medical travel platform, Salutara, co-founders, Martin (right) and Petr (left)
Q: How do you ensure the safest and most comfortable experience for your patients?
Petr:Clients have the option to ask for our Salutara welcome package. Thisincludes having a personal assistant that picks them up at the airport, takes them to their hotel, and introduces them at clinic. It’s also totally natural to feel stressed before a surgery in a strange country. We understand that. Therefore, they appreciate having someone there, on the spot, ready to help provide comfort, courage and resolve any potential hick ups.
*Bringing patients a complimentary McFlurry or pumpkin spiced latte when there’s a sudden craving is just a bonus (smile).
Q: Your partnerships with clinics and physicians are a key factor in the patient’s success. How do you decide which partners meet your standards in order to provide highest level of service?
Petr: All of the clinics we work with are accredited, certified and members of various worldwide association.We do extensive research on each clinic beforehand recommending them to client. It’s also important to keep in mind that themedical field is very well connected, and the clinics we work with often recommend one another. For example, a dental clinic may recommend a plastic surgery clinic for cooperation. It is then our job to verify any personal bias- positive or negative. Also, you can tell a lot about a clinic from its management, staff and by looking into previous customers’ reviews. We take all customer feedback into consideration.
Q: Where do you see Salutara in the next few years? Which *new* treatments will you be offering?
Petr: Our goal to continually improve and provide more of what our clients want and need. In regards to treatments, there is a high demand on the market for laser eye surgeries – those are going to be next. Also dermatological procedures and so called mummy makeovers are to be added and later even more sophisticated treatments like knee or hip replacements and even proton cancer therapy.
Geographically, Salutara will expand its clinic offers to other countries such as Hungary, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand or Costa Rica and Mexico.
Q: Medical tourism is a booming industry, and shows no sign of slowing down. How does Salutara set itself apart from other medical travel agencies?
Martin:Well, in a way Salutara already has. A majority of agencies offer a limited scope of services focusing on a specific local market. For example, only bringing German customers to Hungary for dental treatments only. Salutara does not intend to be just ‘another agency’, per say, but the website/App which comes to mind every time you need a medical treatment. Salutara is transparent, easy to use, and an end-to-end service. Our goal is to facilitate direct communication with clinics/doctors, personal assistance and create a stress free process.
Each year, over 40 million cosmetic surgeries are performed around the world. Of these 40 million, 1.4 million are breast augmentations; the most popular cosmetic surgery among women. Most elective cosmetic surgery is not covered by health insurance, and as the price of health care skyrockets, more patients are choosing to have their medical treatments and surgeries abroad- over 11 million to be exact.
Today you will meet Candida, a Brazilian native and mother of a young daughter, as she talks about her decision to get breast augmentation abroad. Like other medical travelers, Candida’s story begins with a challenge and ends with a solution that provides the best, quickest and most affordable results.
Q: What factors influenced your decision to get breast augmentation?
Well, I’ve always had small breast- which I actually liked. I never thought about getting breast augmentation until after having my first child and starting to breastfeed. It’s amazing what a woman’s body experiences after childbirth, and it is not uncommon for the breasts to change size and shape after breastfeeding. Some get larger, some return to their pre-pregnancy size, but for me, mine got even smaller.
Breastfeeding for several years, along with post-baby dieting and exercise had a significant influence on their size. For the first time in my life I wanted larger breasts- similar to the size before having children. I had never had cosmetic surgery before, so it was not a decision to take lightly. If I was going to do this, I wanted the best surgeons and the highest quality. I am also a full-time chef, so between being a mother and my busy work schedule, I needed a solution that was simple.
Q: What made you choose to go abroad for your breast augmentation?
Originally I was going to go to Brazil, my home country, for the procedure. However, I live and work in Vienna, so traveling that far was going to be time consuming and pricey. That’s when a friend of mine introduced me to the full-service, online medical platform, Salutara. At the time I was aware of people traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery, but I never knew their were end-to-end services to assist you in the process. Salutara was an excellent resource to compare cosmetic surgery clinics based on price, accreditation, patient reviews and quality. They made the decision-making process quick, and simple, and saved me valuable time by alleviating the headache of doing research on my own.
Candida Before Breast Augmentation, Brandeis Clinic
Candida After Breast Augmentation, Brandeis Clinic
Q: Why did you choose to have your breast augmentation in Prague?
I had previously lived in Prague for 3 years, so I already knew it’s excellent reputation for cosmetic surgery. It is also a four and a half hour train ride from Vienna, so logistically it made sense. Salutara is partners with the Brandeis Clinic in Prague, and immediately put me in direct contact with my surgeon and the clinic staff. No surgery is without risk, and fears are normal, especially when you’re going into the surgery voluntarily. Speaking to my surgeon allowed me to have all of my questions and concerns addressed before the trip. We also discussed in length the type of implant I would get- anatomical (natural) or round- and if they would be subpectoral (under the muscle) or prepectoral (over the muscle). We agreed on Motiva, a round implant under the muscle.
Q:Was cost the most important factor?
I don’t think you can put a price on your health. If a safe surgery and better results meant spending more money, then I would do it. Sure, savings are attractive, especially when they can exceed 80%, but quality always takes precedence. Fortunately the Brandeis Clinic in Prague offers top-notch quality and state-of-the-art technology, so I did not have to sacrifice anything. The quality offered in Prague exceeded that in Vienna, so my decision to travel was easy. The significant difference in price was just icing on the cake.
Q: What were your first thoughts upon arriving at your clinic in Prague?
Throughout the entire process, my communication with Salutara and my clinic was quick and efficient. I was provided with all of the information about the surgery and exams before leaving Vienna. When I arrived in Prague, a member of Salutara was there to greet me and take me to my hotel, despite being very late in the evening. The next morning I went to the Brandeis Clinic where I met my surgeon, anesthetist, and the staff. As for the atmosphere, it was a beautiful building with modern installations, and located in the center of Prague. From my window I had lovely views that overlooked the cobblestone streets and century-old architecture.
Q: How prepared did you feel before the surgery?
I felt very confident and assured. The clinic was fully equipped, and my surgeon and anesthetist walked me through every detail. I was in good hands. There were absolutely no problems with communication either- which I know is a concern for some medical travelers. They offered english or german and the surgeons and nurses were really nice about providing me details about the whole surgery, care and after care. Breast augmentation requires full-anesthesia and the procedure took a little under two hours. Before I knew it I was waking up in recovery.
Brandeis Clinic is located in the historical center of the Czech Republic’s capital city, Prague
Q: It has been several weeks since your surgery, how do you feel about the results?
Well, I am still healing and the implants are settling. Surgery recovery is about 2 weeks and full recovery can take up to two months. But, so far I am extremely happy. My breasts look excellent and I am thrilled with the results. I keep asking myself why I didn’t get the surgery done sooner- but better late than never! My surgeon did beautiful work and I highly recommend Prague and the Brandeis Clinic to anyone else considering cosmetic surgery or medical travel. In fact, I am so pleased I have already recommended my surgeon to several of my friends who are now interested in breast augmentation themselves.
Q: What advice would you give to other medical travelers, or those considering it for the first time?
I highly recommend you don’t go it alone. Using a full-service medical platform like Salutara, saves you time, stress and a lot of headaches. And as I mentioned before, savings are great, but they should be a bonus to exceptional quality.
Second, ask questions! As many as you can think of. This is when being in direct contact with your surgeon is crucial, another benefit of using a medical platform. Cosmetic surgery is not something to take lightly, and important health questions (specific to you) need professional answers. Finally, if your schedule and allows it, take advantage of the city you’re traveling to. For instance, in Prague I recommend you take at least one day before your surgery to be a tourist and enjoy the most beautiful city in Europe. I also recommend spending a full 2-3 days (depending on your surgery) post-surgery to recover. This will make the trip home more comfortable.
Patients from the US, UK and Western Europe are packing their bags and heading to Central Europe for cheap, quick and quality dental work.
Creating The Perfect Smile
Cosmetic dentistry has quickly become the fastest growing field in the dental industry, as well as the medical tourism market. In the past, dentistry has largely focused on prevention and restorative problem-solving, and while it still does, the advent of cosmetic dentistry has provided additional elective treatments to the everyday patient in search of the healthiest and most beautiful smile -the perfect smile.
There is no shortage of treatments to select from. Patients are opting for everything from teeth whitening procedures to composite bonding, porcelain and composite veneers, crowns, bridgework, dental implants, inlays and onlays. For a complete list of treatments, visit our full cosmetic dentistry treatment guide.
While cosmetic dentistry is on the raise, prices are still considerably high in the US, UK and parts of Western Europe. UK prices for private dentistry are notoriously steep, and finding a practice that accepts NHS can be time consuming and nearly impossible in some cases. Even with coverage, patients are often hit with hefty additional charges, making it more than the cost for a similar treatment abroad. In the US, only the most basic dental care is covered by health insurance plans, leaving more than 150 million Americans without dental coverage.
Putting Central Europe On The Map
In recent years, Central European countries have capitalized on cosmetic dentistry, catering to the medical tourism population. Global leaders, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland have made considerable investments in ultra-modern, state-of-the art clinics, especially in their capital cities, to attract patients. As a result, this has created a highly competitive industry, ensuring that top-notch service and the latest technology and equipment are of the foremost priority. Many dentists are also trained internationally and a proficient level of english is absolutely necessary for both dentists and their staff.
To no surprise, medical tourists are flocking to these countries by the thousands, taking advantage of the high standards of quality, convenient, low cost flights, great value and opportunity to visit one of Europe’s most adored cities.
Savings Worth Travelling For
Patients are saving anywhere between 50% to upwards of 75% by packing their bags and travelling to Central Europe. In Hungary, which boasts more dentists per capita than any other country, patients may only pay £329/£379/ $429 for a single crown. In the UK, this could cost closer to £800/ €922 /$1045.
Similarly, and the shortest flight from the UK (1 hour and 45 minutes), lies the Czech Republic- the literal heart of Europe, and epicenter of cosmetic dentistry. It’s capital city, Prague, bursts at the seams with history and culture as well as cosmetic clinics. For patients seeking porcelain or composite veneers, prices may be as low as £247/€297/$322.
Uk prices average north of £600/€692/$783. Cost of flight and two nights accommodation in Prague’s city centre totals less than £200/€230/$261 and wait times are typically low- some less than a week. The Czech Republic is also held to some of the most rigorous health regulations and accreditation requirements in Europe.
Leave Relaxed- And With A New Smile
Into the bargain, Central Europe is home many of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Prague and others, ranking among the world’s TOP 50 cities on the Numbeo’s quality of life index. This list is largely influenced bythe quality andaffordability of healthcare, as well as safety and cost of living.
Cosmetic dentistry, like medical tourism, has emerged and grown out of demand and necessity. Patients are finally looking outside of the box (and away from their local providers), and finding affordable, quality answers in Central Europe. Not only will your wallet be satisfied, but dental travel fulfills the dream of a perfect smile, while giving each patient some well deserved R&R and the remarkable opportunity to explore a new city and country.
A trip to the dentist is no longer just a quick cleaning and reminder to floss. No No. Today cosmetic dentistry has revolutionized the classic field of dentistry and is giving patients more and more options to improve their smiles and their confidence. New technologies, such as CEREC®, have coined the phrase “1-day dentistry” and make getting a new smile over your lunch break possible. A variety of treatments are available including ceramic crowns, veneers, inlays onlays & overlays and teeth whitening. Similar restorative treatments include Dental Implants and Bridges.
Needless to say, advances in dentistry do not come without a price. Under the UK’s universal healthcare act, National Health Service (NHS), dental treatment is only covered if considered clinically necessary by your dentist in order to maintain oral health. This includes dentures, crowns and bridges. Dental implants, dentures and orthodontics are also covered. In most cases, cosmetic dentistry is considered an elective surgery and is not covered by insurance. Any cosmetic treatment used to improve the appearance of your teeth to make them look more attractive (i.e. teeth whitening, dental veneers), means patients must turn to private practices and pay out of pocket.
Why Should I Have My Cosmetic Dentistry Abroad?
In the United States, healthcare costs are through the roof and individuals who must purchase health insurance on the open market are faced with an overwhelming number of choices. According to Patients Beyond Borders, in the US, only the most rudimentary dental care is covered by health insurance plans, which is why more than 150 million Americans are without dental coverage. A comprehensive health insurance plan will run the average American $100 per month or more. For other health insurance consumers, their choices are limited by their employers’ group health insurance providers. Many medical treatments end up being out-of-pocket- such as adult dental care, weight loss or cosmetic surgery and corrective eye surgery. For example, dental veneers in the UK or United States can cost anywhere between £400-1000 per tooth, depending on the material used. Abroad, costs may be as low as £290 per tooth including the preparation, local anesthesia and patient care. On average, medical travel can save patients anywhere from 30-80% with wait-times as little as 1-2 weeks.
In 2011, the EU directive on cross-border healthcare was passed. The directive granted citizens fundamental right to purchase health care services across the European Economic Area (EEA) for all EEA citizens, and the right to apply for reimbursement from their home system. However, in the UK this still limits residents to treatment that is deemed medically necessary and would be made available under the NHS. Therefore, elective cosmetic dentistry is typically not covered.
Patients Beyond Borders explains, “The traveling dental patient need not sacrifice quality to save money. Highly competent dentists who attended respected schools of dentistry and are certified by boards in Western countries often work “just across the border,” providing excellent services for a fraction of the cost. For people who can easily cross a national boundary, the choice is a no brainer.”
Why is cosmetic dentistry cheaper abroad so cheap?
A general rule of thumb is that any medical treatment or procedure is going to be slightly more expensive in a metropolitan area. When you begin dealing with cosmetic dentistry, prices can also be influenced by the dentist and his/her specializations, the amount of preparatory work on the mouth, and skill and experience of the laboratory.
The reason cosmetic dentistry is cheaper abroad is largely due to the cost of living in other countries- which directly influences the average salaries of medical professionals. A cosmetic dentist in the UK may earn anywhere from £75,249 to £101,451 depending on years of experience, company size, and location. In Central Europe, a cosmetic dentist in the Czech Republic makes on average, £11,000-15,000 per year.
Where Are The Most Patients Travelling For Cosmetic Dentistry?
In the United States, people who live on the west coast or in the southwest tend to cross over to Mexico for their cosmetic dentistry. On the east coast and in Canada, patients are heading to Costa Rica or Central America, where savings are between 50-80%.
In the UK and western Europe, people are hopping borders over to countries like Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. Hungary, for example, has the most dentists per capita than any other country, along with some of the highest quality, low-cost clinics in the world. For europeans, dental travel is a very economical choice, but many north americans are also travelling to central Europe for more extensive treatments, including cosmetic oral surgeries, full-mouth restorations, and implants. Even after factoring in the cost of travel and accommodation, such work can be done at less than half the US price.
Other popular destinations include Malaysia, Thailand, and India. In Bangkok, some clinics are even specially dedicated to international tourists.
How Do I Begin Planning My Trip?
Medical travel platformor agencies are a great place to start. Many provide an end-to-end service, including everything from free online consultations, treatment costs, patient reviews, and clinic and staff credentials. When arranging your dental travel, a medical travel platform can also save you valuable time during the decision-making process and elevates the headache and stress of doing research on your own. Patients Against Borders suggests that medical travellers seek out evaluations from previous patients, and ask for proof of competence before making an appointment. “You are paying the bill. You have a right to know everything there is to know about your dentist’s training and experience.”
Medical platforms and agencies can act as a resource, putting you in direct contact with the clinics, and your cosmetic surgeon, allowing your questions and concerns to be answered by the professionals. It is also important to consider the amount of time you will need to spend at your destination. Procedures such as implants, may require two or more steps with weeks or months in between. Find out in advance how many visits are required and the amount of time between them. This is also important when considering your destination. If you are in a new country or city, this time between procedures is perfect for sightseeing and exploring the local history and culture.
Unlike other cosmetic procedures, cosmetic dentistry is not always permanent. The average veneer lasts 7-20 years. Therefore, it is good to be prepared if something bad happens (i.e. filling falls out, crown comes loose) Even with the best of dentists, bad things can happen after dental treatments. If something goes wrong after returning home from dental travel, your two options include- getting the problem fixed at home or travelling again. Luckily a number of clinics abroad will make repairs free of charge or at low cost. However, you will still have to pay for the travel costs. The best advice is to plan for a possible return in your travel budget and to keep your home town dental specialist informed of your medical travel decisions.
Each year more than 1.4 million breast augmentations are performed. For decades it has topped the list as the most popular cosmetic surgery among women. The aim of breast augmentation, or any breast surgery , is to improve the appearance of a woman’s breasts. For those with sagging breasts, she may opt for a breast lift. For a women with disproportionately large breasts, she may decide on a breast reduction. Regardless of the procedure, the results are to create more aesthetically appealing breasts.
Breast augmentation involves the placement of a saline or silicone implant to enhance small breasts or correct misshapen or asymmetrical breasts. Usually, women who are considering breast augmentation are uncomfortable with the proportion of their body, or how their undergarments and clothing fit. For women who desire larger breasts, it can increase the fullness and projection of your breasts, improve the balance of your figure and enhance self-confidence. It is particularly popular among new mothers who have recently finished breastfeeding and find that their breasts have lost shape or volume. Significant weight loss and aging may also influence the decision to have breast augmentation
Breast augmentation is not recommended for women suffering from obesity, heart disease, diabetes or for those who smoker, as these can all increase the risk of complications during surgery and recovery.
How much does it cost?
A number of factors attribute to the cost of the breast augmentation. Influences include- surgical facility and hospital fees, anesthesia fees during the procedure, prescription medication and post-surgery care. Depending on the severity or complexity of the procedure, prices may fluctuate from patient to patient. Generally, cost of living where the surgery is performed will have the greatest impact on the final price.
In the UK, cost of living is high and the average cost is anywhere from £3,400-£5,000. Often this does not include the cost of the consultation, anesthesia, recovery time, or the actual implants. In the United States, prices have steadily been dropping, but the average remains around $3,600 (£2493). In most cases, breast augmentation is considered an elective cosmetic surgery and is not covered by health insurance. In the UK, women covered by the National Health Service (NHS) must find a private clinic to have their surgery.
To avoid paying astronomical prices out-of-pocket, many patients are choosing to have their surgery abroad.
Should I have my breast augmentation abroad?
This year alone, more than 200,000 Brits and 1.4 million Americans are expected to travel abroad for a medical treatment or procedure. Medical travel or medical tourism, is a global market of patients electing to travel across international borders to receive some kind of medical treatment. The two main reasons people choose medical tourism are long wait-times and cost. It is also the world’s fastest growing healthcare market, and a popular choice for high quality and affordable breast augmentation.
More and more women in the UK are choosing to have their breast augmentation abroad. A flight from London to Prague is only 2 hours and cost as little as £40.
Leading countries for breast augmentation abroad include Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Greece and Malaysia. Because these countries have a lower cost of living than the UK or United States, savings can fall between 30-80%. For example, the highest-paid doctors in the Czech Republic (Central Europe) make around £13,000 per year. In the UK, salaries raise to about £48,000. Compared to other developed countries, the Czech Republic still has a relatively low cost of living. This means that even top medical professionals expect much smaller salaries, allowing services to remain affordable while quality remains high. The average silicon breast augmentation (all-inclusive) may cost you £2,120, (approx. £2,600 including travel, accommodation and insurance) as opposed to £3,400-£5,000 in the UK of United States.
Is breast augmentation abroad safe?
Hospitals and clinics that promote medical travel spend millions each year to ensure their facilities have the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment. They understand the fear and misconception patients have that quality might suffer at the the expense of lower costs. To ensure patient safety and care, cosmetic surgery clinics work very hard to earn accreditation from internationally recognized institutes such as the International Society for Quality (ISQua). This allows performance levels to be assessed in relation to established standards. It also means that hospitals and clinics can be appropriately rated for risks.
If you are unsure, memberships and associations to look for include the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), and European Association of Plastic Surgeons (EURAPS). If a cosmetic surgeon is trained in the UK they are likely members of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) or the General Medical Council (GMC). If trained in the US, look for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Although accreditation is important, it does not guarantee the clinic adheres to the national and international standards, or the surgeon’s quality of work. When deciding on a country and clinic abroad, the most important thing to do is ask questions and be well-informed.
How do I arrange my breast augmentation abroad?
Although some patients decide to go this step alone, millions use an medical travel platformor agency to help. Everything from treatment costs and convenience, to credentials and experience of the staff. If this seems overwhelming- that’s because it can be. By using an medical travel platform you save valuable time during the decision-making process and elevates the headache and stress of doing research on your own. Services like this do not stand as a middleman, but rather act as a resource, putting you in direct contact with the clinics, and your cosmetic surgeon, allowing your questions and concerns to be answered by the professionals.
The final step is to book a date. If you go through a medical platform, they will help you arrange your flights, accommodation and transportation upon arrival. Patients should allow themselves at least 10-14 days of recovery before flying home to ensure the best results. A recent medical traveller gave this advice after her breast augmentation in Prague, Czech Republic:
“Regardless of the surgery you are going for, take at least a day to be a tourist and enjoy yourself, and an additional 2-3 days of recovery and make your travel back home more comfortable.”
This may include sightseeing, leisure activities and exploring the local culture and history. Whether your travelling alone or with someone, you may want to allow yourself some time pre or post surgery to relax and enjoy the experience of being abroad.
Is travelling for breast augmentation right for me?
For millions of women, breast augmentation has been a positive, changing experience. For new mothers, it has given them a chance to have their pre-baby bodies back, and for others- a chance to improve their overall appearance and feel comfortable in their bodies. Breast augmentation abroad has made this otherwise pricey surgery, more affordable, without giving up quality. Popular destinations such as Europe and Southeast Asia also give patients valuable time away from home to recoup after a procedure, and a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Technology and globalization have allowed travel and communication to become faster and easier than ever before. Millions of people travel for business and tourism, and now medical tourism is attracting over 11 million patients per year. According to OECD reports, the most frequent treatments include dental care, cosmetic surgery, elective surgery and infertility treatment. Although there is no universal definition of medical travel, it generally does not include emergency cases or expatriates seeking medical care in their country of residence.
Where are the most popular destinations?
The most popular destination for medical tourism is Malaysia, averaging half a million visitor each year.
Centuries ago, ancient Greeks journeyed from all over the Mediterranean to a small territory near the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria- the birthplace of medical tourism. According to the Greeks, this territory belonged to the healing god Asklepios.
Today the most popular medical tourism destinations include Mexico, India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Turkey. In Europe, hospitals and private clinics have started promoting their services. Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland are among the most popular.
Jonathan Edelheit, chief executive of the Medical Tourism Association, says that destinations often depends on cultural ties. Spanish-speaking patients might favor Latin America, for example. Edelheit continued:
“While five years ago most American patients who went abroad for cheaper care went to countries like India and Thailand and over the border to Mexico, many are now going to Europe, where care at top hospitals frequently costs a fraction of what is charged in the United States. There are private facilitators who help make the arrangements, pairing patients with doctors and hospitals and arranging travel plans.”
Why are people choosing medical tourism?
The two main reasons people choose medical tourism are long wait-times and cost. Recent statistics show that the average wait time for an approved treatment in the UK is now 18 more weeks or more- the worst in 7 years. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS), covers routine screenings, treatment for long-term conditions and end-of-life care, but often excludes prescription costs, optical and dental services, and infertility treatments such as IVF. Unapproved patients forced to seek out private practices, where high prices make many medical treatments unaffordable.
Executive director, Balazs Stumpf-Biro, of the European Medical Travel Alliance, believes that the idea (of medical tourism) is to make it easier for patients from overseas- whether from North America, Russia or the Middle East- and to see it as a solution because of its high quality and reasonable prices.
In the United States, healthcare costs continue to skyrocket. Many employers and insurance companies are looking at toward medical travel as a way to lower them. For patients, medical tourism can provide savings up to 80%.
Clinics and hospitals abroad are able to lower their prices due to lower costs of living. The highest-paid doctors in the Czech Republic (Central Europe) make around £13,000 per year whereas, in the UK, salaries rise to about £48,000. Compared to other developed countries, the Czech Republic still has a relatively low cost of living. This means even top medical professionals expect much smaller salaries, allowing services to remain affordable while quality remains high.
For instance, a silicon breast augmentation in the UK costs £3,400-£5,000. In the Czech Republic, an all- inclusive surgery will cost you £2,600 including travel, accommodation, and insurance.
What about quality- will it suffer if travel abroad?
The most common fear people have when traveling abroad is the sacrifice of quality. Hospitals and clinics that promote medical travel understand this misconception and spend millions each year to ensure their facilities have the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment.
“In the past few years, Americans are definitely more willing to go overseas and now appreciate that there is quality there, whereas seven years ago they didn’t have that perception.”-The New York Times
Clinic and hospitals work very hard to earn accreditation from internationally recognized institutes such as the International Society for Quality (ISQua). Assessments of performance levels are determined in relation to preexisting standards. It also means that hospitals and clinics can be appropriately rated for risks. Accreditation is vital in gaining trust and ensuring patient safety.
What are the risks?
Each country is different, which could mean different physician and clinic licensing and certification protocols and medical ethics. To protect yourself, it is important to be familiar with the destination country and its regulations before deciding to travel there. For example, a therapy that is considered experimental in one country (like stem cell therapy) may be used in the private care institutions for medical tourists in other countries.
Unsafe medical practice is always a risk anytime a medical procedure is performed. Hospital infections, such as MRSA may be the result of reused needles or unsafe injection practices and blood supplies. Serious infections such as hepatitis and HIV can also be a transmitted from one patient to another. To avoid these risks, select a country which practices highly regulated medicine and a clinic with proper accreditation.
When considering a surgical procedure, patients should also assess the length of their flight. Traveling long distances after surgery can be dangerous and result in deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. To prevent complications, physicians advise that patients drink plenty of water, exercise their legs while sitting, and take a walk every 2-3 hours on long flights. For high-risk patients, they may prescribe medical compression stockings and anti-clotting medications.
Is medical tourism right for me?
Traveling for a medical treatment is a big decision and must be considered on an individual base. For millions of people, medical tourism has changed the way they look at healthcare and has become a life-changing solution. Lower costs and wait times have attracted patients from across the globe, and clinics and hospitals are investing to provide the highest quality of care.
Additionally, medical tourism platforms and agencies have made researching and planning your trip quick and easy. From the comfort of your sofa, you can search and compare prices, clinics, and procedures. You can also get free online consultations and quotes. Once selecting a treatment and clinic, you’re also put in direct communication with your surgeon or dentist, and all of your medical questions and a professional will address your concerns.
Medical tourism is the world’s fastest growing healthcare market and shows no sign of slowing down. Are you ready to join the movement?
Considering medical travel? Let’s talk about how to prepare
Knowing what you want
An estimated 11 million patients worldwide cross borders each year for a medical treatment. In 2016, more than 200,000 Brits and are expected to leave the UK for medical purposes as well as over a million Americans. Why is this important? Because you are not alone. Medical travel is a multi-billion dollar global healthcare market and people are choosing to go abroad for a number of reasons including better quality, shorter wait times,and lower-costs.
An estimated 12 million patients travel abroad each year seeking medical treatments that are not accessible or affordable in their home countries.
If you are one of the millions who have decided to go abroad for medical travel (or are thinking about it) then it is important to prepare. Firstly, what do you want done? This is obvious, but medical travel covers a full spectrum of medical services. Most popular is cosmetic surgery. Typically not covered by insurance, cosmetic surgery ranges from cosmetic dentistryand hair transplants tobreast augmentation, rhinoplasty and liposuction. Other non-cosmetic treatments include LASIK eye surgery, fertility treatment (IVF), bariatric surgery, and orthopedic surgery. In the early stages it is also important to:
Talk to your local physician/healthcare provider
Ask people who have travelled abroad for medical treatment about their experiences (positive and negative)
Once you know what you want, the next question is- where? Choosing the right country can seem daunting , but it doesn’t have to be. Start by asking yourself, how long do you want to be away from home? How far are you prepared to travel? How flexible is your work schedule? Will you have to travel alone, or will a close friend or family member be able to join you?
Selecting your medical travel destination
On average, medical travel saves patients 30-80% on the cost of their medical procedure or treatment. So ask yourself, what is your main priority? Is it finding the lowest price and saving the most money? Or is it finding the highest quality? For most, the goal is to find the best price without compromising the quality of care.
Standards, costs, and areas of expertise vary by country. In Central Europe, countries like the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary have excellent reputations for low cost dentistry and LASIK eye surgery. In Western Europe, Spain is popular for its specialized and affordable IVF treatments, whereas Belgium is known for obesity surgery. For patients travelling from the UK, Canada or the United States, Europe still offers the quickest, cheapest flights and accommodation. In Southeast Asia, Thailand and Malaysia are popular destinations amongst travellers from Australia and New Zealand. Regardless if you prefer a nearby European city, or enjoy the idea of recovering in an exotic destination, the appeal of a destination should never outweigh the importance of quality and safety. Each country has its advantages and drawbacks. Other important questions to consider include:
Is your treatment or procedure available in that country
Is English widely spoken?
What are the health safety standards and how strictly are they enforced?
Where can I find the best prices without compromising quality of care?
What are the average flight and accommodation prices?
Is there a best time of year to go? (consider the weather, high tourist season, cheapest flights)
Full service platforms save time and act as an advisor and intermediary, putting you in direct contact with the clinics, dentists, and surgeons.
Finding the right clinic for you
After deciding on the right country, the next step is selecting the right clinic. This is when research is key. Everything from treatment costs and convenience, to credentials and experience of the staff. If this seems overwhelming- that’s because it can be. Although some patients decide to go this step alone, millions use an online medical travel platformor agency to help. This saves valuable time during the decision-making process and elevates the headache and stress of doing research on your own. Services like this do not stand as a middleman, but rather act as a resource, putting you in direct contact with the clinics, dentists, and surgeons, allowing your questions and concerns to be answered by the professionals. What questions should you ask your potential dentist or surgeon?
What is their educational and professional background? How many years have they been in practice?
What professional memberships and qualifications do they hold?
How often do they perform your procedure, do they specialize in a particular area?
What is the expected recovery time, and how soon after can you fly home?
Much of this information is readily available on a trusted medical platform, as well as clinic licensing and accreditation. If you are unsure, memberships and associations to look for include the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), and European Association of Plastic Surgeons (EURAPS). If a cosmetic surgeon is trained in the UK they are likely members of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) or the General Medical Council (GMC). If trained in the USA, look for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Although accreditation is important, it does not guarantee the clinic adheres to the national and international standards, or the surgeon’s quality of work.
You may also want to ask: what is the clinics success rate? Can you be put in touch with past patients? How long is your estimated recovery time and what are your limitations after the surgery? Is it recommended that a friend or family accompany you?
Ultimately, you should feel trust, understanding and a good chemistry between yourself and your surgeon or dentist. No question or concern should be left unanswered before making a commitment.
The Final Steps
Medical travellers are taking advantage of being abroad and adding several days to the beginning or end of their trip to enjoy the country.
Once you’ve spoken to your surgeon or dentist and decided on a clinic, the final step is to book a date. If you go through a medical platform, they will help you arrange your flights, accommodation and transportation upon arrival. For patients getting cosmetic dentistry or LASIK surgery, recovery time is often 48 hours or less. For patients getting bariatric surgery or breast augmentation, recovery time can be weeks. This is important when deciding how long you want to (need to) stay in the country vs. how much recovery time you’d like to spend recovering at home. A recent medical traveller gave this advice after her breast augmentation in Prague, Czech Republic:
“Regardless of your surgery, take at least a day to be a tourist and enjoy yourself, and an additional 2-3 days (depending on your procedure) of recovery and make your travel back home more comfortable.”
It is perfectly normal to take advantage of what the country has to offer. This may include sightseeing, leisure activities and exploring the local culture and history. Whether your travelling alone or with someone, you may want to allow yourself some time pre or post surgery to relax and enjoy the experience of being abroad.
Salutara does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information on this site is merely to orientate and provide a general outline. It does not replace professional advice, diagnosis and treatment recommended by a physician.