In the UK, we have been blessed for many years now with a ‘free at the point of service’ National Health Care System. Those in the US have
not been so fortunate and money is the key to obtaining good health care or any health care at all.
Yet, despite our free health care, many people are opting to go abroad for medical treatment. There may be a number of reasons for this. Sometimes, for more serious illnesses, it is because the skills and expertise lies in those countries, and who wouldn’t want the best care possible for their loved ones?
One of the most common reasons that people go abroad though is for dental care. This may well be because since the NHS sector of dental health care has been diminished and a whole raft of private dental practices have opened up, bringing with them a new range of cosmetic dental procedures which most of us didn’t even know existed.
These treatments such as dental veneers and implants have started to (literally) change the face of the British public which has long had a reputation for poor teeth. Fewer people than ever are prepared to accept their teeth being crooked and discoloured and are visiting these practices to improve the appearance of their teeth.
The downside to this though is the cost. Whilst some procedures such as teeth whitening is reasonably affordable, especially if done for a one off occasion, some procedures are significantly more expensive and none more so than dental implants. This procedure is likely to set a patient back more than a thousand pounds for a single implant.
Some dentists in lower cost countries such as Poland, and I believe Mexico for those in the US, have started to offer what is sometimes termed dental tourism. THis usually not only involves a significantly lower price for the procedure but also often offers flights and accommodation too. Naturally, this is tempting but are there any drawbacks?
Whilst acknowledging that there are many excellent dentists abroad, especially if languages are different, how do we know this? Would you feel comfortable having a hole drilled into your jaw by someone who you had gone to purely on cost alone and whom you had no knowledge or experience of? What if something goes wrong, how much will that cost to return to the dentist to have it put right and would you really want to visit the same dentist? Many UK dentists will not touch work that has been done by another dentist so that may not work as a back up plan.
If you do decide to go, it is best to find someone that a friend can recommend and check them out thoroughly before going. However, for most people, although it may cost more, having the treatment done locally is still likely to be the better option.
After looking at various options abroad, Tim Cooker chose to stay in the UK and have his implants done at a dentist in Derbyshire.