Why to choose an international dental clinic over a dental works "factory" abroad


When considering of travelling abroad for dentistry, people often perform a lot of research. They visit a clinic’s website, they see the premises, they explore the photo gallery with previous work, they compare the prices and of course they look for what other people say about this clinic by reading old and recent testimonials, reviews and ratings. During their research, the dental travelers usually have the opportunity to explore a lot of dental clinic options abroad. Some of these clinics have a few dental chairs and the leading dentist or founding dentists are still working in the clinic and some others are really large dental clinics usually owned by business entities rather than individuals.

During this initial comparison dental travelers usually feel tempted to select one of the big fancy dental work “factories” abroad. These clinics often have the size of a large organization. They have been set up by business people (not necessarily dentists); they have 24 - hour call center, fancy web sites and very appealing dental treatment packages. These organizations are set up by professionals; are profit oriented and they usually direct the prospective dental travelers to emerging dental tourism destinations. Along with the dental treatment they provide a full package that includes luxury car transfer, accommodation to a villa and sometimes even an air ticket. Due to many patients’ testimonials very often, dental travelers at the beginning get impressed by the comfortable welcoming services and the cost savings but very often they become badly disappointed by the communication with the dentists and the dental service.

Due to her public review, Samantha from UK had travelled to a non EU destination for crown dental works and wrote: “As soon as I contacted the clinic, I was impressed by their fast and detailed responses, the travel options they provided and of course the treatment package cost. I needed some crowns for my front teeth and this was something I could not afford in UK. As soon as I landed, a driver was waiting for me at the airport and drove me to a fantastic villa by the sea. I was excited and I thought that it could not be any better. Next morning a car picked me up and took me to the clinic. It was a spacey, luxury, modern building with some influence from the local architecture. A nurse that I could hardly understand kindly joined me to the dental room. After around 10 minutes, a young lady showed up. She seemed to be in a hurry. She didn’t speak English at all. She grabbed some documents from the desk had a look and got to work! I tried to explain what I wanted but communication was impossible. At the end of the treatment I was left with a few straight sparkling white front teeth. My teeth had never been very straight and their natural white color is not sparkling white so my new teeth look different from the rest ones. I wanted my new teeth to look natural as they were and in the same white shade. I am sure that my new teeth are strong and shiny but these are not what I wanted and they definitely don’t look natural.

Samantha’s review is a typical example of rather negative reviews about dental clinics that had grown fast due to high demand but personnel was not trained or failed to adapt to the international dental travel standards and this has a tremendous impact on the service quality. The same time in order to keep costs down, maximize the profit and cope up with the high demand, they keep recruiting dentists with small experience locals or from abroad. Although treatment cost remains the most crucial factor for the treatment decision-making, experience has shown that very low cost treatment is often connected with lower quality and patients’ frustration. 

On the other hand, Dr George Vardakis, Founder of Dental Holiday Crete, a medium size dental clinic located at the island of Crete in Greece, treating more than 600 foreign dental patients every year explains the benefits of selecting an international dental clinic abroad. “It is important that the leading dental surgeon is a member of the clinic’s team. He or she will set up the clinical standards, will educate or supervise new doctors and has the criteria to recruit new dentists or select partners. Dentists usually do not work by having in mind a package shown on a document but due to the actual patients’ needs. There are times that although the patient has emailed us their panoramic x-ray along with detailed requests for their treatment, the condition we see when they travel to Crete and come to our clinic requires an entirely different treatment plan. We will then have to explain to them what should be done, what not and why. I or one of my dentist partners will spend time with them over a call because it is crucial for them to understand with whom they are dealing with and for us to have a good idea of their dental needs. When prospective dental travelers (not all of them) ask the Dental Holiday Crete to arrange their accommodation, we always send them some options of selected hotels but we don’t make their reservations. It is important for a Dental clinic to remain focused to the medical part rather than expanding to travel services. Most small to medium size clinics find that they cannot afford following up with reservations, cancellations and tourist guiding for site seeing. In an island like Crete there are many reliable providers to undertake all that on behalf of our patient. A high quality dental service, reasonable pricing in combination with great local destination travel services end up to an excellent patient experience and this is above all!

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