How do I choose a dental clinic abroad?

Significant savings can be made by having dental treatment in another country. Dental tourism is a growing industry with hundreds of high quality clinics offerings services across Europe and across the world.

But how do you find the clinic that is right for you? How do you know you will be in safe hands and get the quality of care that you need? And how can you be sure that you’ll be looked after if anything goes wrong? This guide provides a few ideas that you can use to select a dental clinic abroad.

Understand what you need from your dental clinic

The first step in choosing a dental clinic abroad is to understand what restorative dental treatment you need, or what cosmetic dental treatment you would like. Your local dentist in your home country will be able to examine you and offer advice on the best treatment for you. You should always have a thorough consultation with a dentist you know and trust before putting yourself in the hands of a new dentist in another country.

Using the information your dentist has given you, you should then research your treatment online, so that you know what you are asking for. This will help you to identify the best materials for the job, so that you can avoid cut price deals based on low quality materials.

Decide what your priorities are

Next, you need to decide what your priorities are when it comes to dental treatment abroad. If you simply want the lowest price possible, then the location of the clinic may not be that important. For example, Latvia, Lithuania and the Ukraine may not be the most popular holiday destinations, but they do offer some of the lowest prices for dental treatment abroad.

Alternatively, you may want to combine cosmetic dentistry, such as teeth whitening, with a holiday in the sun, and so the location will be much more important. For example, Spain, Turkey and Cyprus have become popular dental tourism destinations as they offer a great holiday at the same time as your treatment.

Do your homework

Having decided on your treatment and set your priorities, you can then begin searching online to create a shortlist of possible clinics. Most quality clinics will have a website in your own language, detailing the facilities of the clinic and the expertise and experience of the staff. These websites will tell you whether the clinic undertakes the treatment you need and whether they have any specialties.

The websites will help you get an idea of prices in various countries. Always make sure that you are comparing like for like when deciding between clinics. Some may hide extra costs to keep the headline price down, whereas others may include travel and accommodation in their package.

You can also look for useful information on standards from international organisations such as:

Check the local regulations

It is important to find out about how dental treatment is regulated in your chosen country. This will help you identify reputable clinics that have registered with the governing body or national association. It will also tell you about your rights, complaints procedures and legal redress if anything goes wrong. Some national associations will even recommend dentist members in the area of your choice.

You can find out how dental care is registered in Europe from the Council of European Dentists. This details dental care in 32 countries, and represents 330,000 dentists.


Questions to ask every clinic

Once you have made your shortlist, there are a number of questions that you must ask in order to be sure of getting the highest quality and safest dental treatment abroad. These questions include:

  • Do they speak your language or provide a translator?
  • Do they have testimonials from previous patients?
  • How often have they performed the treatment you require?
  • What is their success rate / satisfaction rate with this treatment?
  • What is their record on infections and complications?
  • What are the qualifications and experience of the dentist who will treat you?
  • Is the clinic registered with the national association?
  • Does the clinic have insurance?
  • Is your dental work guaranteed and if so for how long?

You should also ask detailed questions about who pays for what if you are not happy with the outcome of your treatment. Returning for further treatment, or having remedial work done in your home country can be very expensive. You should always insist on a written contract that is legally binding and enforceable.

Trust your instincts

Even if you have gathered all the information suggested above in great detail, there will still be an element of personal choice when it comes to selecting a dentist abroad. This personal element should not be underestimated, since dental treatment can be quite traumatic for many people, especially when undertaken in a foreign country and in unfamiliar surroundings. For this reason, you should trust your instincts as much as the raw data. If a clinic feels wrong, then walk away, even if there is no logical reason to feel that way. If a clinic feels right for you, you will be much more relaxed and more likely to enjoy a successful outcome to your treatment.


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