Seeking dental treatment abroad is growing in popularity, thanks to an increasing number of high-quality dental clinics based in medical tourism destinations such as Turkey, Czech Republic, Spain, Hungary, Thailand and Mexico.
In this article we look at common treatments people seek and what precisely these involve:
One of the most popular reasons individuals go abroad for dental treatment is to have implants fitted. This can involve a single crown or bridgework. For the more ambitious, it includes the all-on-four treatment – for an entire row of teeth, or both the upper and lower areas implanted. For patients who have suffered the loss of part of the jawbone, treatment can extend to bone grafts or sinus lift.
Porcelain veneers are commonly used to give the appearance of white, straight teeth. A wafer-thin custom-made ceramic is fitted over the original tooth. Two visits to the dental clinic are necessary – the first to make the moulds and the second to fit the permanent veneers.
Other types of veneers available include Lumineers and those made from composite resin. Lumineers are often used for covering discolouration or spaces. These ultra-thin veneers are delicate but hard-wearing and can be removed later.
Composite veneers are created by applying layers of composite filling material to the tooth then sculpting the composite. The individual layers are hardened using light treatment, and the surface is polished to a high shine. These veneers can be applied in just one dental visit and last from two to five years. This technique is also referred to as ‘composite bonding.’
Crowns and Bridges
Crowns also referred to as ‘caps’, are used to cover an unsightly or damaged tooth. They also protect teeth from further decay. The treatment involves two sittings – the first to make the mould and fit a temporary crown, the second time to fit the permanent crown. Most crowns these days are made from zirconia, emax ceramic, porcelain or metal.
Zirconia crowns very popular today due to their strength and durability. Teeth colour is matched but they are not as translucent as Porcelain crowns, which have a closer match to the natural tooth colour. Metal crowns are often a good choice for out of sight molars.
A bridge is often used between healthy teeth to cover the gap due to a missing tooth or teeth. A typical dental bridge consists of abutment teeth (i.e. two crowns on the teeth on either side of the gap) and pontics (the false tooth or teeth to fill in the gap).
As the name implies, tooth whitening is about making the teeth gleam. This can be achieved by bleaching either the tooth’s exterior or interior.
External bleaching involves using light-activated gel and laser equipment to whiten the exterior of the teeth and this treatment can be performed in a single sitting.
Again, heat and light are used to achieve a whitening effect for internal bleaching. The difference is this can take quite a few sessions until the exact shade of white is obtained.
Hollywood smile makeovers
One of the most popular dental treatments abroad is the so-called “Hollywood smile makeover”. This usually involves a comprehensive smile design that brings together the above treatments, altering the teeth’ shapes, colours, and sizes to fit perfectly into the mouth.
Thin ceramic wafers are customised for individual teeth to provide a gleaming white smile. Chipped or worn down teeth are restored while gaps between teeth are closed, and misaligned teeth are straightened.
Which countries offer the best dental tourism experience?
High quality and affordable dentistry options are not far away. Check out an earlier article summarising the leading dental tourism destinations in 2022.
Cost of dental treatment abroad
The biggest driver for dental tourism is the affordability of dental treatment abroad. Dental implants and smile makeovers are up to 50% cheaper in popular dental tourism countries such as Turkey, the Czech Republic and Hungary. For example, a single implant in the UK will cost approximately £1,400 to £2000 for a single tooth, compared to an average range of £500 to £900 in Turkey.
Patients from Scandinavia to the UK are already visiting European dental tourism destinations for affordable dental treatment. This is only set to become more popular as international travel resumes, and competition for high-quality dentistry continues to rise.