I often read about “rip off Ireland” and how we have to travel a short journey North with an empty boot and €50 to fill up on food and drink, and still have some change. So if it’s true for my groceries, why not my teeth?
I have worked with a number of dentists in Northern Ireland, and in my experience, there are many excellent clinics offering high quality dentistry. You can tell which practices they are, because their fee structure will be similar to comparable practices here. The fact remains that there are some costs that are unavoidable if dentistry is to be done to a high standard.
What about heading East?
I have to admit, it’s a tempting proposition, a week in the sun in a beautiful city (often Budapest) whilst having a total mouth makeover at less that ¼ the cost of the same treatment here.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, & here’s why (boring economics of dentistry bit coming………….)
If you look at the breakdown of costs for a complex dental procedure (e.g root canal, implant, crown) – a certain proportion of the fee goes towards rent/rates/wages; costs which are going to be higher in Ireland. In reality though, the majority of the fee will go towards costs for materials, precious metal alloys, porcelain, and precision attachments etc., which are the same everywhere in the world. So if the overseas treatment is 10%, or even at a push 20% cheaper, then I could see how those cost savings could be made. BUT, if an implant costs say €2,500 in Ireland and takes 7 visits over 6 months, if someone tells you it can be done in 2 visits for €850, I can absolutely guarantee you that a lot of corners have been cut.
It’s true that a lot of people seem to be happy with the dental treatment they have undergone abroad, so am I overreacting? Here are some facts, (as opposed to my opinion!)
“An Irish Dental Association survey on the first three months of 2007 found that 21 out of 26 people who had gone overseas for dentistry needed corrective surgery. Sixteen of these required extensive specialist work. The survey was prepared by Professor Brian O’Connell of the Dublin Dental Hospital and Dr Michael O’Sullivan.
Out of the 26 people, a sample group, only four had no problems at all with the dental work they received. The patients had received dental treatment in various countries, including Hungary, Spain, Croatia, Turkey and Northern Ireland.
One patient had 27 crowns applied abroad. In Ireland the person’s dentist found they had been ‘over-treated’ and that the work was of poor quality.”
Or, for some first-hand accounts from a patient’s perspective:
So, my advice to you is as follows:
- Do your research, what are the qualifications and experience of your dentist abroad, don’t just rely on a friend’s experience.
- Get 2nd opinions in Ireland before you go – if you know what your treatment should be before you go, you are less likely to be subject to unnecessary treatment. 10 crowns for €2,000 might seem like a bargain – but it’s not if you don’t need 7 of them (VERY common)
- If you are determined to be a dental tourist– read this : Goingabroad