There are many countries today that provide good quality, affordable dental care. Residents in countries such as America, Australia, Germany and the UK are opting for dental treatment abroad in countries across Eastern Europe, Asia, Middle East and South America, where the cost of living is cheaper and, as a result, dental treatment less expensive.
Where patients go depends largely on where in the world they are located. For instance, it’s easy for Californians to hop across the border to Mexico, while Thailand is much easier for Australians. On the whole, it will cost UK citizens less to travel to a European destination.
Dental tourism in Europe has been growing by 10 to 15 per cent annually, according to research published by PwC in 2017. The trend has been increasing since 2013 when a new EU directive allowed patients to get treatment in a member state then claim the cost back if a national healthcare scheme covered it.
These are the leading medical tourism destinations for dental work around the world today:
Croatia tops our list of European destinations this year. The country of stunning turquoise waters is becoming a tourist phenomenon, attracting over 18 million tourists annually. Now that excitement is crossing over to the medical tourism industry.
Home to a growing number of specialised clinics, dental treatment in Croatia is significantly cheaper than in the United States and the United Kingdom. Most leading clinics are concentrated in Zagreb and Split, and most medical professionals speak English.
Notably, healthcare services in Croatia operate under EU law, which is an appealing safety net for many conscious medical tourists seeking safe, reliable and quality dentistry.
Thailand has world-beating dental establishments – some huge and many extremely contemporary. Australians and New Zealanders, in particular, make up many of the vast numbers of patients attending dental clinics in Thailand. But so too do Canadians and Americans.
Most dentists in Thailand have trained abroad before returning to their homeland to practice, many opting to finance their own clinic.
Thailand is also home to JCI accredited dental facilities, which offer comprehensive dental services including sedation dentistry for patients with a fear of major dental procedures.
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Tourists from both east and west travel to Turkey to take advantage of the low-cost, high-quality dental treatment surgeons there offer. The Turkish government is one of the most proactive in promoting medical tourism, and they are also planning to set up tax-free healthcare zones (VAT-free) for foreign medical tourists.
Dentists in Turkey are known for their international-grade training, making them some of the most skilled practitioners in the world. There is a vast range of impressive orthodontic and cosmetic dentistry clinics to choose from.
Dubai topped the 2022 TripAdvisor list for the most popular travel destination, and while it is known to be a luxury tourism hotspot, medical tourism is also catching up. Brits, Germans, Americans, Austrians and the Swiss are heading to Dubai for Dental treatment.
It’s not the least expensive place for dental tourism, but it does have exceptionally qualified dentists. Some of the most successful clinics worldwide have opened up second branches in Dubai to serve the affluent clientele that Dubai attracts. After all, Dubai has plenty of its millionaire residents to satisfy.
British, Irish and German tourists flock to Spain for their dentistry treatment. Even Americans who want a brighter smile have been known to head there rather than pay the exorbitant rates in their own country.
Spain’s dentistry market is renowned for its quality and affordability. It may not be as inexpensive as nearby Poland and Hungary, but the perceived quality difference makes the slight price difference. And basking in the sun while waiting for your treatment doesn’t hurt either…
Americans flock to Mexico for dental treatment – it’s so much less expensive than in their own country. And for border states, such as Texas and California, it’s not even much of a drive to contemplate (a short plane ride to Cancun or Peurto Vallarta isn’t out of the question either).
The dental care in Mexico is excellent. It is less expensive than in America because dentists in Mexico – unlike their American counterparts – don’t have to pay for malpractice insurance. The cost of living is lower, and they also carry less student debt, so they don’t have to charge their patients more.
The Covid-19 pandemic put a hold on the international dental tourism market, but demand for dental treatment abroad has steadily rebounded since air travel resumed. The good news for patients seeking the best dentists abroad is that plenty of high-quality dental clinics cater to international patients and are available within a short flight radius.