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Dental implants are one of the most expensive dental procedures and are only very rarely funded by the NHS in exceptional circumstances. Getting dental implants abroad can save a lot of money. Dental tourism to Hungary is now well-established and offers a very real and very cost-effective alternative to treatment in Britain. The cheaper price certainly doesn’t mean that dental work is inferior to that in western Europe. The dental clinics are bright and well-equipped with experienced English-speaking dentists. The only reason that Hungarian dentists can offer their services cheaper than in the UK simply boils down to the fact that the cost of living, and therefore labor charges, are much lower than in western Europe.
Hungary is now the most popular European country for dental tourism with 35,000 people annually traveling there for dental procedures. The abundance of budget airlines from many UK provincial airports means that Budapest is only a short flight (about 2 hours 30 minutes) from a local airport. Dental implants in Hungary represent a huge financial saving without cutting back on quality.
Let’s be honest, dental tourism represents a huge business opportunity for Hungarian dentists, so they will spend time and money on ensuring that their skills and training are second to none.
Dentist education, as in the UK, starts at university or dental school. The course lasts 5-6 years and, once a dentist is qualified, he/she must register with the Ministry of Health. This government department renews a dentist’s licence to practise on an annual basis, provided that the dentist has accrued enough ‘points’. These ‘points’ are collected through attendance at lectures and seminars where the participants are informed about the latest dental technology and procedures. Most dentists also belong to the Hungarian Medical Chamber (HMC) which again organises information and lectures on the latest and most effective dental procedures as well as ensuring certain standards are maintained. Dentists in Hungary can also attend further courses to gain dental qualifications in specialist areas, like dental implants. The main dentist in each dental practice will probably have 10-15 years experience. We can certainly say that the dentist education and training in Hungary is at least comparable to that of dentists in the UK and maybe, at times, even higher.
English is widely spoken in Hungary. It is now a compulsory subject in Hungarian schools, so most under-30s speak English. In the world of dentistry, the Hungarians realise that, in order to maintain their title as the ‘dentistry capital’ of Europe, it is essential that the ‘international’ language of English is 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 that demonstrates the holder consistently provides products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. Much money has been invested in equipping the clinics with the latest technology and some clinics boast 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 using dental molds.
Unless there are genuine medical reasons why alternatives to implants cannot be provided for a patient, the NHS will not cover the cost of dental implant surgery. Hence it is very rare for the NHS to foot the bill for this type of procedure.
The cost of dental implants varies greatly from dentist to dentist and from town to town, however, a realistic range is about £2000 to £2500 per tooth, with full mouth implants ranging from £7000 to £28000. Sometimes there are additional associated costs to add to this figure, e.g. bone grafting usually from around £500.
Hungarian prices are considerably cheaper than in the UK. Prices for a single tooth start at around £475 and full mouth implants range from £1800 to £7000. Generally a minimum of two visits will be required and the dentist will probably want you to stay a few days so that he/she can check that everything is OK. Should bone grafting be required this will certainly be much cheaper than the equivalent cost in the UK.
Even allowing for the cost of flights and hotel accommodation prices are considerably less in Hungary. Single implants cost a whacking £1525 less than in the UK and for a full mouth implant savings could be up to £21000! The cost of flights and hotel accommodation pale into insignificance with these sorts of numbers.
If time and ease of journey is a factor then it obviously pays to visit Hungarian dentists in the cities which have good international air connections. However, if you wish to combine the treatment with a holiday there are many other well-appointed dental clinics around the country offering dental implant 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 time required.
There are many budget airline flights to Budapest from the main airports in the UK as well as from some of the UK provincial airports. This means that, in addition to a good frequency of flights, there are often cheap tickets available. Budapest, as the capital of Hungary, has a high concentration of dental clinics catering for international visitors and therefore gives the greatest choice of clinics.
Of the other locations, where dental implant clinics are available, it is worth considering Debrecen which also has some direct flights from UK airports. Many of the other major cities in Hungary have dental implant clinics, and, as this procedure will require a stay of longer than a day, length of journey may not be such an issue as it is with a day return trip. 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.
Other countries which are almost as popular as Hungary for dental implants include Poland and Turkey. It is difficult to assess exactly how many people visit Poland for dental treatment each year. In 2012 the figure was quoted as 100,000, a figure which is possibly double or treble that currently. Figures for medical tourism to Turkey are put at half a million of which one would expect to find a fairly high proportion of dental tourists.
Poland, also has a reputation for having well-trained and highly-qualified dentists. Dental clinics are of a very high standard and dental implants in Poland prices are similarly priced to those in Hungary. There are many low-priced air tickets available to the main cities from many airports in the UK and Europe.
Turkey, although outside the EU can also boast of increasing numbers of dental tourists.
Many dentists in Turkey offer similar facilities to those in Hungary or Poland. Prices can be slightly cheaper, however this can be offset by the slightly higher priced air fares and less frequent flight schedule. Turkey can also offer the opportunity of a combined beach holiday at one of its Aegean or Mediterranean resorts, as well as stays in the fascinating city of Istanbul.
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