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Many people from the UK, other western European countries and the USA choose to get cheap dental crowns abroad. Many central and eastern European countries can offer dental crowns abroad cheaper than in places like the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and the USA. Hungary has become the most popular destination for many Europeans and is now known as the ‘Dental Capital of Europe’. About 35,000 people every year travel to Hungary for treatment. As a country, it offers many tourist attractions from the old Buda castle in the capital to the numerous spa towns dotted around the country.
Getting crowns abroad can be a tricky business – there are huge savings to be made, but, on the other hand, nobody wants unqualified or third rate dentists performing dental treatments. Dental crowns in Hungary are cheaper, only because the labour costs are much lower when compared with other western European countries. Dentist clinics and equipment are of a very high standard and dentists well-qualified. In fact, dental clinics have invested a lot of money in the dental tourism business to ensure that they offer the highest standards of treatment at least equal to and sometimes superior to dental clinics in the UK.
Hungary, unlike some other dental tourism locations, is, of course, a member of the EU and, as such, must adhere to EU dentist regulations. In Hungary students are required to study for 5-6 years in order to obtain their dentist qualifications. It is obligatory for practising dentists in Hungary to register with the Ministry of Health – which in essence licenses a dentist. This licence to practice is granted on an annual basis and, in order to renew it each year the dentist must have a certain number of ‘points’. These points are collected by attending lectures and seminars about the latest dental technology and procedures. Although not compulsory, most dentists also belong to the Hungarian Medical Chamber (HMC) . This organisation organises information and lectures on the latest and most effective dental procedures, in addition to ensuring that certain standards are maintained by clinics and dentists. The dentist education and training is of a very high standard.
It’s important to bear in mind that many Hungarian dentists specifically target their services at foreign visitors. English, as the main international business language, is therefore widely spoken in those dental clinics who wish to attract patients from other countries. It is always worth checking that your preferred dentist does indeed speak English, but it is very unlikely that the answer will be ‘no’. English is now compulsory in all Hungarian schools so even outside the word of dentistry, most under-30s speak English. Staff at hotels, main attractions and other places will probably speak English.
Dental clinics in Hungary, generally maintain a very high standard. When a dentist wishes to set up a private clinic they must first get permission from the National Public Health and Medical Officers service. This service has some additional requirements in addition to the usual health and safety conditions connected with establishing a public service. Some Hungarian dental clinics also hold 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. Dental clinics in Budapest Hungary tend to be very popular with British visitors mainly because of the frequent and relatively cheap flights which operate to Budapest’s international airport – Ferihegy. As Budapest is the capital of Hungary it, obviously, boasts some of the most well-equipped and high-tech clinics in the country. It is not unusual, however, to find clinics of the same standard in other locations.
Many visitors are pleasantly surprised to find that these modern well-equipped clinics are often of a higher standard than in their own home country. Dental tourism is now a highly competitive industry, so clinics are constantly improving and updating their facilities and services.
UK residents who are entitled to NHS treatment may be able to obtain crowns provided by the NHS. There must be a genuine dental need for the treatment – crowns required for cosmetic reasons are not eligible for NHS treatment. Crowns come under the NHS Band 3 procedures – £269.30 in England, £199.10 in Wales, up to about £145 in Scotland and up to about £112 in Northern Ireland. Crowns provided by the NHS are often metal for the back teeth, although crowns for the front teeth will often be colour-matched to your teeth on the visible side with metal ‘bands’ at the back of the tooth.
Many people prefer to have non-metal crowns fitted privately. In the UK, costs for privately fitted crowns vary greatly from dentist to dentist, but you can expect to pay anything up to £1000 for an all-porcelain or all-ceramic crown.
Dental crowns in Hungary cost up to 50% of the UK private treatment costs. Here is a breakdown of typical costs for the highest priced crowns (£1000 in UK):
Even adding in hotel stays at about £60 a night there are still considerable savings to be made. In addition there is the opportunity to take a short holiday in a very interesting European country.
The capital city of Hungary is Budapest, which sits on the banks of the River Danube. It is the largest city in Hungary and was formed in 1873 when the two towns of Buda and Pest merged together. Other cities in Budapest which have their own international airports are: Debrecen – in the east of the country, Pecs in the south-west of the country and Gyor in the north-west close to the Slovakian and Austrian borders. As with any country the most frequent and cheapest international flights are to the capital – Budapest. However, it is also possible to find fairly frequent flights from London airports to Debrecen. If you are making the trip only for the sake of the dental treatment then it pays to select a dentist near to the airport. On the other hand, if the dental treatment will be combined with a holiday or short break it’s worth considering other tourist centres in Hungary like the old town of Pecs, Lake Balaton or one of the many spa towns which exist throughout the country.
As mentioned earlier Budapest is a good place to have dental crown treatment in Hungary. It offers frequent flights from many other European and International cities and, as the capital, probably offers the biggest choice of well-trained dentists. If you are thinking of visiting a Hungarian dentist, Budapest is a very popular place.
Some European airports offer budget flights to Debrecen in eastern Hungary, which is a good alternative for dental crown treatment. Debrecen is Hungary’s second largest city. Flights are slightly more expensive than to Budapest but, overall, flights and treatment still offer excellent savings on UK prices. Other interesting locations include Heviz, Gyor, Szombathely, Szekesfehervar and Pecs. Reaching these places is not so straightforward as Budapest and Debrecen, however if you are combining your dental treatment with a holiday these destinations are worth considering.
So, what if you decide that Hungary is not the place where you want to go for your new dental crown. What are the alternatives? Probably the next most popular countries for treatment for the British is Poland or Turkey. Both countries, like Hungary, invest in top-class facilities in order to attract foreign dental patients and promote medical tourism.
Poland is very similar to Hungary, from the point of view of dentists’ expertise and training, and also boasts well-appointed and equipped dental clinics. There are numerous budget fights from many major and provincial UK airports to the major cities in Poland – Warsaw, Krakow, Katowice, Wroclaw, Gdansk and others. English is widely spoken and the country offers many sightseeing opportunities.
Many dentists in Turkey also offer similar facilities. The downside of Turkey is that there are less flights available, but of course the upside is that, in addition to the capital city of Istanbul, there is also the opportunity to spend some time at one of Turkey’s many beach resorts. Costs are roughly similar with dental work sometimes slightly cheaper, but flight costs slightly higher. It is more difficult to visit Turkey for just one day, so hotel accommodation is often required.
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