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All on 4 is a special type of dental implant where a full set of ‘false’ teeth sit on four implants. This type of procedure is only very rarely funded by the NHS in exceptional circumstances. The vast majority of British people who wish to have this procedure must pay for it privately.
Getting all on 4 abroad can greatly reduce the cost, but as a fairly invasive procedure it does pay to ensure that the chosen foreign dentist really does know what he/she is doing.
Dental tourism to Hungary has been established for many years now, which is why over 35,000 foreigners a year entrust their dental procedures to a Hungarian dentist. Not only is it a favourite place for dental tourism for the British, but also for many other western European countries like Germany and Austria. As the ‘Dental Capital of Europe’, Hungarian dentists invest time and money on ensuring that their training and their equipment is second to none. So, why can Hungary offer dental procedures such as all on 4 so much cheaper than in the UK? The difference in cost is not down to inferior materials or inferior workmanship, it is purely because the cost of living, and therefore labour charges, are much lower than in western Europe. The dentist, dental nurse and dental laboratory technician quite simply do not expect (and do not need) to get paid the same high salaries enjoyed by those in Britain
The Semmelweiss University in Budapest – a medical school – is one of the leading universities in Central Europe. Its dentistry courses take place in Hungarian, English and German. As an indication of its recognition as a major provider of dentistry education, about 50% of its students are from other countries besides Hungary. Other dentistry schools with equally high standards are spread across the country. To qualify as an implantologist a graduate must take a separate, additional course lasting about 18 months.
When dentists in Hungary qualify, after a 5-6 year course, they are obliged to register with the Ministry of Health. Re-registration takes place on an annual basis, but only providing the dentist has accrued enough ‘points’. These ‘points’ are collected by attending lectures, seminars and presentations about new dental procedures and the latest cutting edge technology and participating in seminars.
Further information and lectures on the latest and most effective dental procedures is provided by the Hungarian Medical Chamber (HMC), which, although membership is not compulsory, the majority of dentists do belong to.
Dentist education and training in Hungary is of a very high standard and dentists are encouraged to constantly update their knowledge.
English is widely spoken in Hungary. It is now a compulsory subject in Hungarian schools, so most under-30s speak English. Many older people in Hungary, recognising that the majority of foreign visitors are not going to learn Hungarian (one of the most difficult European languages, by the way) have also spent time learning the international language of business – English. The world of dentistry is no different, and, particularly in those clinics which cater for foreign visitors English is widely spoken. English-speaking dentists are the norm in Hungary rather than the exception.
Dental clinics in Hungary are now some of the best-equipped in Europe. Some of them hold the ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) 9001 – a quality management system accreditation. This is a generic standard which demonstrates the holder consistently provides products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. Much money has been invested in the latest equipment clinic wise. Some clinics even have their own dental laboratories. This reduces the time required and gives the dentist greater control over the craftsmanship of the dental implants. Many also use 3D scanning equipment rather than dental moulds .
Unless there are genuine medical reasons why alternatives ( e.g. standard dentures) cannot be provided for a patient, the NHS will not cover the cost of the all on 4 procedure. It is very rare for the NHS to offer this type of procedure at a reduced rate.
How much do all on 4 cost privately in the UK:
As with all dental procedures the UK private cost for all on 4 varies greatly depending on how many teeth are required, what materials are used, what treatment is required prior to the all on 4 (e.g. tooth extraction) and, of course how much the dentist charges for his time. Expected UK costs for all on 4 with a permanent bridge of 10-12 teeth start at about £8000 and can cost as much as almost £20,000.
Hungarian prices are considerably cheaper than in the UK and it is not unusual to save about 50% of the cost that would be paid in the UK. Usually two dentist visits are required and often the dentist requests that you stay a few days just so that they can perform a check-up to ensure that everything is OK. Like the UK, it pays to shop around and get a few different quotes. Starting prices in Hungary are around £4000, so even with two return flights (tickets from London airports to Budapest can be obtained for around £35) and a few nights hotel accommodation, the savings are very impressive.
It obviously pays to visit Hungarian dentists in the cities which have good international air connections, if journey time and travelling costs are important to you. However, for those wishing to combine their dental treatment with a holiday there are many other dental clinics offering all on 4 treatment. Often, dentistry prices outside Budapest will be cheaper, however there may be a slight increase in travel costs and, of course, in the amount of travel time required.
Budapest, as the capital city of Hungary, has the greatest concentration of dentists/dental surgeons offering all on 4 treatment. Many budget airlines offer frequent flights and cheap tickets from many airports in the UK and other European cities. Additionally it is a very interesting city and has a lot of attractions for visitors. A pleasant few days can be spent sightseeing while waiting for the final check-up on the surgery.
Of the other locations, where all on 4 dentists or dental surgeons are available, it is worth considering Debrecen which also has some direct flights from UK airports. Many of the other major cities in Hungary do have dental clinics offering all on 4 and, as this procedure will require a stay of longer than a day, length of journey may not be such an issue. As well as slightly cheaper dental prices, hotels outside of Budapest will almost certainly be cheaper. It is maybe worth considering one of the numerous spa towns scattered around the country or towns nearer to Lake Balaton, the largest lake in Central Europe.
Alternative locations for dental implants include Poland and Turkey. These destinations are also a very popular choice for dental tourism in Europe. Both locations offer similar facilities to those in Hungary with greatly reduced prices when compared to the cost of UK treatment.
Poland, like Hungary, has a reputation for having well-trained and highly-qualified dentists. Dental clinics are of a very high standard and the price for all on 4 in Poland is very similarly priced to those in Hungary. Poland has the added advantage of frequent budget airline flights to all its major cities from the main city airports in Europe as well as from some smaller provincial airports. Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw and Gdansk all have excellent international flight connections. English is also widely spoken.
Turkey, although outside the EU can also boast of increasing numbers of dental tourists.
Facilities in good Turkish clinics are on a par with the best in Europe. Prices can be slightly cheaper, however this may be offset by the slightly higher priced air fares and less frequent flight schedule. Having said that, what better way to spend your time waiting for your next check-up appointment, than lying on a sun-drenched Aegean or Mediterranean beach or strolling through the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul?
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