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Dental tourism: nine in 10 dentists have treated patients who travelled abroad for treatment

by adminjay

More than 90% of dentists report that they have examined patients who had undergone dental treatment abroad. 

In a new survey looking at dental tourism, it shows that an additional 86% of dentists have treated patients who developed problems after receiving treatment abroad.

Several dentists reported concerns about over-prepared teeth – where more of a tooth is removed than necessary. They also reported cases of ill-fitting crowns and implants that fell out.

Further findings –which were put together by the British Dental Association – include:

  • 87% identified crowns as the treatment most likely to require follow-up work, followed by implants at 85%
  • The highest single risk factor identified was failing or failed treatment (86%). This was followed by pain (76%) and poorly executed treatment (72%)
  • Two-thirds of respondents (65%) said that it cost patients at least £500 to repair the damage done to their teeth. More than half (51%) reported that it was more than £1,000. One in five of these dentists said the cost exceeded £5,000. More than 40% said the remedial treatment was provided by the NHS
  • More than half (56%) reported seeing cases in the past three years, with a fifth (20%) seeing cases during the pandemic.

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 Picking up the pieces

British Dental Association chair, Eddie Crouch, issued a warning on the risks of dental tourism.

‘Dentists are aware that many people are struggling to access care and may be tempted to go overseas for cut-price treatment,’ he said.

‘Patients need to provide informed consent for any treatment they have and be wary of a hard-sell, as the reality is rarely as simple as it appears on Instagram. Sadly, many UK dentists are now picking up the pieces when things go wrong.

‘Complex courses of treatment typically require detailed preparation and a number of follow-up visits. Patients should be aware of the risks and alternatives to the treatment desired, and get advice on what they should do in the event of problems occurring when they return.

‘The cost of follow-up treatment needs to be factored in. If there are complications, the initial price may not be such a bargain.

‘We strongly advise people considering this to check a dentist’s qualifications and experience and whether they are insured if things go wrong.’

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