When Love Island’s Jack Fincham revealed that his pearly whites were the result of inexpensive dentistry in Turkey, Google saw the search rate for dental tourism to that area go up a whopping 100%.
Great teeth on the cheap and nothing to do but soak up the sun while you’re between treatments… what’s not to love about that?
Where to start? Although many of the dentists offering treatments in countries such as Turkey, Poland and Spain are qualified, respected professionals; according to Dr Tony Jacobs at 406 Dental in Manchester, the ones who are the best at marketing their business, are not necessarily the ones who are best at their job.
But let’s start at the beginning, the basic reason for the rise in dental tourism is the high cost of dentistry in the UK. So why is it so much more expensive?
“First you have to take into account that everything costs more here.” Dr Jacobs explained. “Plus, dentistry is more highly regulated here than in any other country, by the General Dental Council and the Care Quality Commission.”
Let’s say you happen to find a really good dentist overseas, we can presume that the quality of material and equipment used to treat the patient is going to be fairly standard throughout; can’t we?
“In the UK we buy the highest-grade products from countries such as Switzerland, Austria and Germany.” Dr Jacobs continued, “the quality used overseas, which often includes poor grade material sourced from China for example, simply wouldn’t pass muster in the UK.”
Does Dr Jacobs count himself among those dentists who will not treat a patient who has undergone cosmetic dental work overseas?
“I wouldn’t refuse to treat someone who has been for cheap work abroad. If a patient has had implants though, there is simply no way to know what system has been used, and with literally hundreds of systems out there, each requiring its own unique set of tools, we can only advise the patient to go back to the dentist who performed the work for them in the first instance.” He added, “If you’re having to make repeated trips abroad, suddenly it doesn’t work out as such a cheap option.”
When you take into account the brief time in which you are in your destination country, consider what goes into guaranteeing you get the best possible result with no serious long-term effects.
The dentist must take time to assess the health of the gums and teeth so that procedures aren’t being carried out on areas that are not healthy enough to undergo them. They then set out on the extensive preparation necessary prior to the work commencing.
Not only the dentists, but the team that works with them are fully trained and skilled in carrying out the work with those specific tools and materials.
Highly skilled craftspeople then engineer the crown, veneer or implant and produce precision made material with tolerances to within a fraction of a millimetre.
Essential aftercare is provided by the dentist to ensure the work sits well and, and in the case of an implant, that it is integrating into the bone and healing properly. Whether a veneer, crown or implant, just a fraction out, can cause the patient significant pain. This can easily be remedied with minor adjustments undertaken in a brief visit back to the dentist (not so easy if you have to hop on a plane).
The biggest danger it seems, is to the gums. You may at first be happy with your crowns, veneers or implants but, if they’re not precision fitted to your unique contours, with long term gum health in mind, you are heading for big trouble.
“Serious gum problems due to ill-fitting dental work, could even result in the patient losing their teeth completely,” warned Dr Jacobs.
It would appear that making a wise investment in your smile, is akin to making a wise investment in property, it all comes down to location, location, location and in that regard, the UK really is your best bet.
406 Dental is a family run practice in Prestwich, where Dr Jacobs and Dr Lazarus head a team of highly trained professionals who pride themselves on their friendly and accessible approach to their patients. https://www.406dental.co.uk/