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Top dentist warns of hidden dangers of flying abroad for cosmetic dental work

A leading dentist has warned of the risks faced by thousands of Britons traveling abroad in search of a better smile.

Tens of thousands of British residents are flocking to hotspots such as Turkey, Hungary, Ukraine and Spain to get dental procedures at a fraction of the price it costs at home.

However, for many it can backfire, with a range of risks that could leave patients with crippling bills and substandard treatments.

Dr. Honar Shakir, from leading private dental practice Ban dental group, told the Daily Star: “Dental tourism has been on the rise for several years as UK patients believe they can perfect their smiles cheaply abroad.

Dr. Honar Shakir belongs to leading private dental company Banning Dental Group

“However, traveling for treatment carries a range of inherent risks, from a lack of regulation to sloppy procedures.

“Many clinics overseas don’t have to meet the same hygiene and training standards as we do in the UK, so you can’t always be sure you’re in safe hands.

“There may also be a lack of proper aftercare and adjustment, which is vital for major dental work, so you may not get the results promised. And the result might not last as long as expected.

“It can be tempting to let the cost of procedures like veneers or orthodontic work dictate where you choose to have them done, but that can end up being a false economy and an orthographic disaster for your teeth.”

Patient in a dentist's office
He says Britons could face crippling bills and substandard treatment abroad

Dental tourism is the term given to the practice of flying abroad for dental care, whether it is a routine job or a cosmetic procedure.

It has grown in popularity over the past decade – from 48,000 patients in 2014 to 144,000 in 2016 according to the latest figures.

Popular destinations for Britons are Turkey, Hungary, Spain, Greece, Ukraine and Slovakia.

Often patients will pay for a package that includes flights and accommodation as well as the procedure itself.

However, a lack of regulation and monitoring can leave patients with substandard work that they then have to have corrected at home, leading to spiraling bills and months of suffering.

Dr. Shakir said it was important to consider all factors when deciding where to get treatment, not just price.

He added: “Some people may think the cost of home dental work is too high and therefore they look for cheaper options.

“However, price shouldn’t be the only consideration when it comes to your health.

“Clinics in the UK must subscribe to the highest standards of hygiene and care, and the reason it might be cheaper to go overseas for treatment is that overseas clinics don’t necessarily have to meet the same standards.

“It’s important to do your research on who will be performing your treatment and weigh the possible benefits and risks to make sure you are completely comfortable with your decision. Some treatments need biological time to work, such as dental implants placed in the bone. Rushing such procedures during the holidays can lead to devastating health issues”

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