The dangers of Brits going abroad for cheaper dental treatment
Whilst many dental procedures are available on the NHS in the UK, which means that costs are capped, cosmetic procedures are generally considered to not be essential for health reasons, so patients need to get access to this type of treatment privately. The cost of cosmetic procedures can quickly mount up, with treatments such as veneers or implants potentially costing thousands of pounds.
This is one of the reasons why 144,000 people travelled abroad for healthcare in 2016 (a 198% rise from 2014), which includes ‘dental tourists’ travelling to have cosmetic dental procedures carried out, usually in eastern European countries. The combined costs of flights, hotels and the dental procedure abroad is often cheaper than getting the procedure done privately in the UK, so it’s no surprise that this option is tempting to some people.
However, there are other considerations for dental treatment as well as the cost of procedures, some of which we have outlined in this article, to help you make an informed decision about your dental care.
What is different when you have dental treatment abroad?
In the UK, all dental professionals must be registered with the General Dental Council and adhere to their standards. If you are treated by a dentist abroad, there are no guarantees that the regulations, qualifications, standards or safeguards in place are of a similar level to those in the UK, or are even regulated at all.
Before any treatment takes place, in the UK or elsewhere, you should have a consultation to discuss the procedure(s) and make sure it’s the right option for you. For treatment that is carried out in the UK, this consultation will always be with a qualified dentist and they will ask you about your full medical history. If you have a consultation in a clinic abroad, or a consultation in the UK for treatment that will be carried out abroad, sometimes they are carried out by what is essentially a salesperson, rather than a qualified dental professional, so they may not be best placed to recommend what is best for you clinically.
If you are travelling abroad for dental treatment, it’s important to understand the process if your procedure(s) doesn’t go to plan, or if you require follow-up treatment. What type of aftercare is offered by the clinic you’re using? Is the work guaranteed for a set amount of time? Is there complaints system if you are unhappy with the results or your care? What are the cost implications if further treatment is required?
What if I’ve had dental treatment abroad that was negligent?
If you have received negligent treatment from a dental clinic abroad then making a compensation claim through a solicitor based in the UK may not be possible. If you do travel abroad for dental treatment, you do run the risk of not having the same legal protections that you do when undergoing the same procedures in the UK.
If you have been the victim of dental negligence in England and Wales, then you might be eligible for compensation. You can contact us to discuss your case and find out what your options are, on 0808 163 4521.