Do you need dental work? Do you have a passport?
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), and their 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.