It’s official. The UK is now the most expensive country in the world for dental treatment.
This is something which a lot of people have suspected for some time, but a recent study focusing on private dental care in the UK reveals that there is perhaps an even wider gap that many people believe.
England tops the table, with countries such as Spain and Italy very close behind, but surprisingly some countries which we would have imagined were more expensive come in around half the price of those treatments available in England. Countries including France and Germany, with the most affordable of all being Hungary.
By looking at a single treatment, the cost of a single filling, it was easy to directly compare the average cost charged by private dental surgeries in a number of different countries around the world.
The cheapest average price for a single filling came in at just €80, found in Hungary. The most expensive average price for the same treatment came in at €156, or £117, which of course was the average price charged in this country.
It is directly because of the fact that dental costs in this country are so high, at least when going private, that dental tourism is now such a popular choice.
Because by travelling abroad patients can often save up to 70% on the price of dental treatments, it is estimated that around 70,000 people every year travel abroad specifically for dental treatment. Unsurprisingly Hungary is the most popular destination for this, with Poland a very popular second choice. The fact that cheap flights are now so easily available, and from right across the country, even taking these costs into consideration it can still be a very great deal cheaper to travel abroad.
Another one of the advantages cited by those people who have travelled abroad for dental treatments is the fact that very often there are no waiting lists, and this is certainly a factor which has put off a lot of patients in the UK.
A recent survey of dentists in the UK, carried out by the British Dental Association, found that around half of all dentists admit that they have had patients who have received dental treatment abroad.
But it is not all good news for patients, and it’s important that more information is made more widely available to people who may be considering dental tourism as a viable option.
Of those 50% of dentists who have had patients who have already received some kind of dental treatment abroad, 29% of them said that as a result of that treatment they had to carry out subsequent corrective treatment to put right problems caused by the overseas dentists.
Often many patients don’t realise that although they may well be saving money, and possibly saving time by being able to avoid waiting list, many dentists abroad are not regulated as well as dentists in the UK are, and in the long run any corrective treatments which may be necessary could end up costing far more than having the procedure carried out in the UK. This isn’t taking into consideration the potential pain caused as a result of dental complications.
As far as what the answer is, it’s clearly not going to be easy. With England now topping the charts in terms of dental costs, and with waiting lists often calculated in months rather than weeks, we can perhaps forgive those patients who have lost faith in the UK dental industry and who are travelling abroad.
But we cannot sit on our laurels and accept this situation, with people suffering unnecessarily, ending up paying far more than they would have done in the first place, and having a great deal of additional pain, distress and worry to deal with.