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UK: Overseas dental travel on the rise

According to a recent survey conducted by the British Dental Association (BDA). The association, however, urges potential dental travelers to be fully informed of the risks and alternatives, before considering treatment abroad.

An increasing number of dental patients in the UK are seeking treatment in foreign countries such as Turkey due to low treatment costs.

However, evidence from the BDA suggests that dental treatment abroad is often risky and highly invasive, and that many patients need to have their dental problems corrected after treatment at home. The association works with the BBC to draw attention to the dangers of seeking treatment abroad.

Turkey is known to be one of the most popular destinations for those looking for inexpensive cosmetic dental treatment, with the most sought-after procedure being veneers or crowns.

The BBC reported that bookings for procedures abroad are often made online via social media platforms, giving patients easy access to treatment.

However, instead of perfecting their smiles and reducing treatment costs, the BDA says these treatments often leave patients with painful infections, tooth extractions and abscesses, not to mention the additional costs for additional care in case of toothache. complications.

The BDA survey included 1,000 UK dentists and found that 94% of them had seen patients who had gone abroad for treatment, and of these dental professionals, 86% had had to treat patients who had experienced adverse dental outcomes after treatment.

Follow-up treatment was most commonly required by patients who had undergone dental crowning, followed by those who had received dental implants.

Regarding treatment complications, 86% of the 94% of dentists who examined patients treated abroad reported that the patients’ treatment failed or had failed in the past, 76% said that the patients felt pain and 72% noted that the treatment was poorly executed.

Respondents to the survey said restoring damaged teeth can be expensive, with 65% of the 86% who treated these patients estimating treatment costs at least £500 (€586) and 51% at over £1,000. £. Of these, 20% said it cost more than £5,000. Over 40% of 86% of dentists said curative treatment was provided by the NHS.

Although the vast majority of respondents (98%) cited reducing treatment costs as the key factor influencing patients’ decision to seek treatment abroad, 31% of dentists surveyed said that patients had been attracted abroad because of shorter wait times.

Faced with the increase in dental tourism, 93% of dentists are concerned about the continuity of care for patients, 79% are not satisfied with the quality of care, 77% cite difficulties in seeking compensation or filing complaints, and 66% expressed concerns about poor communication between patients and practitioners.

Additionally, some of the respondents reported issues such as over-prepared teeth, ill-fitting crowns, and lost dental implants. Others expressed concern that the overseas treatment was carried out despite the fact that the patient had untreated periodontal disease, which could have increased the risk of crown and implant failure. and contribute to infection and pain. They noted that in the pursuit of the perfect smile, patients had a lot of work done on healthy teeth and would need to invest a substantial amount of money to maintain their smile or could otherwise risk losing their teeth and need dentures.

As dental tourism has become more popular, the NHS has devised a overseas treatment checklist for dental patients and stressed the importance of informed consent.

The BDA urges authorities to inform patients of the potential risks of treatment abroad through proactive campaigns.

BDA’s Dr Eddie Crouch says: “Patients should give informed consent for any treatment they receive and beware of a hard sell, as the reality is rarely as simple as it appears on Instagram. Unfortunately, many UK dentists pick up the pieces when things go wrong. Complex treatments usually require detailed preparation and a number of follow-up visits. Patients should be made aware of the risks and alternatives to the desired treatment, and advised on what to do if problems arise on their return.

The BDA strongly advises people considering traveling abroad for dental treatment to first check the qualifications and experience of the treating dentist and whether they are insured in case of complications from the treatment.

The UK dental industry is struggling with long NHS queues and many dentists are refusing to do NHS work, while economic pressures mean private dentistry is no longer as profitable as it once was, some dentists being forced to close their doors.

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