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.
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!
Imagine you’ve been set up on a blind date. You don’t know anything about this person except that your mutual friend thinks, “you guys would be great together”, and that he/she has an affinity for dogs and works in finance. So you put on your Sunday best, take a quick shot of liquid courage, and head off to a nice (but not too nice) restaurant to find out if the stars have finally aligned. However, when you finally meet said person, you immediately realize the one thing your friend conveniently failed to mention- they have terrible teeth.
Do You Have A Winning Smile?
As of 2016, professional teeth whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures.
For many people, bad teeth are a deal breaker. In fact, a recent study suggests that nearly 50 percent of us believe that a great smile is the most important feature in making a good impression; and even more important when considering a potential love interest.
In a recent interview, Dr Mark Hughes, founder and clinical director of the Harley Street Dental Group in London, comments on the importance of a good smile. “If someone has a strong smile, you feel they are a strong person and that is very attractive. It is becoming more and more culturally unacceptable to have discolored, missing and crooked teeth.”
Similarly, according to psychotherapist and novelist, Lucy Beresford, our brains are hardwired to associate good teeth with youth. “Having good teeth is a sign of youth and fertility-in our psyche, good teeth equal fitness and vitality.”
But what about the other 50 percent? Are bad teeth always a hard no, or can their be charm in a slightly imperfect smile?
New York native, Megan, 26, agrees with the latter. “I love a quirky smile. I think when it comes to teeth, health is more important than perfection,” says Megan. “If someone’s smile isn’t blindingly white, or they have a couple of crooked teeth or a gap, it’s definitely not a deal breaker. Just so long as they are confident in their smile and own it. Yellow, unhealthy teeth on the other hand- no way. Hygiene is important.”
“I love a quirky smile. I think when it comes to teeth, health is more important than perfection.”- Megan, 26, New York
A ‘diastema’ is a space or gap between two teeth. It is actually a very common trait among many species of mammals.
Indian fashion photographer, Anushka Menon, also doesn’t mind a few flaws. “I love the gap!” she says in a recent interview with Vogue. “When you have a face and body to go with it, that imperfection seems like the icing on the cake.”
For Samuel, a 31-year-old consultant from Queensland, there is nothing cute or charming about a bad smile. “When I meet a girl it is the first thing I notice. I’ve gone out with girls with crooked and discolored teeth before and honestly, it was distracting. Maybe I’m shallow, but I think bad teeth are a major turn off. I know that not everyone can afford braces or cosmetic surgery, but even just a little teeth whitening can go a long way.”
“I’ve gone out with girls with crooked and discolored teeth before and honestly, it was distracting. Maybe I’m shallow, but I think bad teeth are a major turn off.”- Samuel, 31, Queensland
12 out of 20 woman confessed that having a great smile is one of the biggest turns-on in a man.
Gretchen, a 34-year-old mother of two from London, also advocates getting a little help if your smile isn’t naturally as appealing as you’d like.
“When I was in my early twenties I had a terrible time dating and meeting men. Growing up, my family did not have enough money for braces, so I always had slight space between my front teeth. I’m not sure it was something other people noticed much, but it absolutely killed my self-esteem. I could never laugh and flirt with confidence like my girlfriends. And any time we took group photos I’d give my best, toothless grin. So at 25 I decided to save up and get porcelain veneers. For me it was about feeling comfortable in my own skin and finally fixing a pesky problem. I think my newfound confidence must have been noticeable because I met my now husband about 6 weeks after the procedure.”
Ultra popular dating app, Tinder, also released recent data to support that people who smile in their profile photos (regardless of the shape, color or size of their teeth) receive 10 times more ‘swipes right’ than those who don’t.
“I think it’s all personal preference,” Adam, 23, Philadelphia adds. “When I meet someone out at a bar, or online, I am much more interested in their personality and interests, rather than how white or straight their teeth are. Sure, looks are important, but someone’s smile is only a small fraction of what makes them “datable” or attractive.”
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.
Think the rich and famous are born with those beautiful, white, flawless smiles? Guess again. Even some of the biggest stars once had smiles that were…less than camera ready. Thanks to cosmetic dentistry, some gnarly grins have been turned into beautiful, Hollywood smiles. Here are our 5 Best Celebrity Dental Makeovers:
5. Nicolas Cage
Regardless of what you think of his acting skills, Nicolas Cage didn’t always have a red carpet smile. To help boost his imagine (and career), Cage upped his game by getting a full set of dental veneers. Now we’re just waiting for that Travolta, Cage Face/Off sequel.
4. Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham
Ever wondered why Posh never smiled? After Spice Girls fame and scoring the most famous footballer on earth, Victoria decided it was time to have a smile that matched her royal lifestyle.
3. Zac Efron
Zac Efron was not always the sexy, talented, presumably shirtless movie star we see on screen today. Cosmetic dentistry helped turn his boyish grin into the flawless smile of a Hollywood heart-throb.
2. Miley Cyrus
Miley has literally transformed before our eyes since her sweet, tween days on Hannah Montana. While she’s been busy twerking, partying, and riding naked on wrecking balls, she has also upgraded her smile with a perfect set of veneers.
1. Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is the definition of a movie-star, but his smile was nothing short of a “mission impossible”. Thanks to some whitening, straightening and ultimately a full set of dental veneer, Tom is the leading man we know and love.
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.
Do you know who invented the first soft contact lenses?
How about the surgeon who completed the first full face transplant in 2011? Or the Nobel Prize nominated scientist who pioneered antiviral drugs crucial to the fight against HIV? Thanks to a small country in the heart of Europe, all of these scientific discoveries and technological advances have been made possible.
Medical Tourism: The Czech Republic
What it lacks in size, the Czech Republic surely makes up in innovation, coining the old Czech proverb “Zlaté české ručičky a chytré české hlavičky” or“golden Czech hands and clever Czech heads.”
In keeping with tradition, the Czech Republic, an EU member since 2004, has recently become one of the most sought after destinations for medical tourism. Its capital city, Prague, often referred to as the “Jewel in the Crown” of Europe, or “The City of a Hundred Spires”, is one of the most popular tourist destinations around the world, enchanting more than 7 million visitors each year. Now, the vibrant and historical Czech capital is attracting more than just its usual beer and culture seeking crowds, but also thousands of medical travelers in need of everything ranging from cosmetic dentistry, breast augmentation and liposuction to “tummy tucks”, LASIK eye surgery and IVF. Other notable cities in the Czech Republic include Brno, Ostrava, and Pilsen.
Only a two-hour plane ride from London, its close proximity to the UK and Western Europe has made the Czech Republic the ideal location for those seeking medical procedures abroad. Along with its convenience, the Czech Republic maintains the highest standards of professionalism and top-notch quality, and considerably low prices when compared to other countries.
According to Iveta Jabouková of the Czech Tourism board, nearly 3 million CZK(£94,290/€109,978) has been dedicated to boosting the Czech Republic’s medical tourism profile this year alone.
Why Are People Choosing Medical Tourism?
This year, an estimated 11 million patients will hop on a plane, train or drive across borders for a medical treatment. Recently, Western Europe and the UK have felt the impact of major public sector cuts, resulting in a decrease in the quality of medical care in countries such as Germany, France, and Great Britain. Less spending on public healthcare has resulted in longer wait lines and understaffed hospitals and clinics.
Recent stats show that the average wait time for an approved treatment in the UK is more than 18 weeks- the worst it’s been in 7 years. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS), covers routine screenings, treatment for the long-term condition and end-of-life care, but often excludes prescription costs, optical and dental services, and infertility treatments such as IVF. Unapproved patients are forced to seek out expensive private practices, which are often unaffordable.
Fed up with long waiting lists, uninsured procedures, and hefty prices, an increasing number of people are looking overseas for medical care. When the quality of care, wait time and cost are considered, it makes a lot of sense. Financial savings from medical tourism can be significant. For instance, a silicon breast augmentation in the UK costs £3,400-£5,000 (€3,965-€5831). In the Czech Republic, an all-inclusive surgery will cost you £2,600 (€3,032) including travel, accommodation, and insurance.
Similarly, dental veneers in the UK or United States can cost anywhere between £400-1000 (€466-€1,166) per tooth, depending on the material used.In the Czech Republic, costs may be as low as £290 (€338) per tooth including the preparation, local anesthesia, and patient care. On average, medical tourism can save patients anywhere from 30-80% and keep wait times as short as one week.
What To Expect in the Czech Republic
While cheaper prices are attractive, the superior quality of care is what sets the Czech Republic apart. Its medical industry is highly regulated and there are strict state regulations and accreditation requirements for all healthcare facilities, both state-operated and private. Accredited organizations such as ISO and JCI ensure that patients receive world-class treatment. Many private clinics provide ultra modern facilities. This ensures that each client has a luxurious place to stay during their treatment and recovery, as well as round-the-clock care.
And if you think to become a medical professional in the Czech Republic was a park in the walk- think again. First, medical students must graduate from their accredited universities after a minimum of six years. Next, they must pass a series of first level exams followed by a two years residency with an experienced practitioner. For instance, a plastic surgeon must spend two years in general surgery and four years studying plastic surgery theory and gaining practical practice in a state-certified clinic before ever having the opportunity to operate themselves.
Over the past 2 decades more and more western-style, privately owned clinics have opened throughout the country.Quite often they are run by Western-trained doctors. English literacy is high, especially in Prague, and with cultural differences at a minimum, it is perfect for seasoned or first-time medical traveler.
All in all, the Czech Republic is the perfect place to relax and recoup after a procedure. It is also ideal for a pre or post-op sightseeing holiday and soaking in everything the city has to offer- a much-needed break from the daily grind. You gain quality of care and keep money in your wallet, all the while having an opportunity to experience one of Europe’s finest cities.
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.
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.