Dental health depends on a thoroughly planned process by a highly trained professional. However, many individuals are choosing to undergo dental work abroad where the price is cheaper – but it comes at a different cost, ultimately more complex treatment being required, further costs, and ultimately loss of teeth sooner.

One of the most common causes comes from unnecessary filing teeth down more than required to provide cosmetic treatment. Many patients are going abroad to receive what they believe are dental veneers, but leaving with full contour crowns, where the tooth is drilled down circumferentially, as opposed to veneers where significantly less tooth removal is carried out.  Likewise, where teeth are very crowded, the amount of tooth drilled down will be significantly more than in someone with straighter teeth.  It is for this reason, in the UK, you will likely be offered the option to undergo teeth straightening first and be informed of the increased risks should you choose not to. Though this may be a longer method of achieving a more cosmetic smile, the long-term benefits and the overall cosmetic result outweigh a quick treatment course given abroad, where time is a factor.

Recently, numerous examples have been published in which patients suffered from the absence of adequately performed dental care in other countries.  There are rules with status and risk factors that everyone should be aware of before travelling abroad for dental care. This blog post will discuss why you should be cautious about going abroad for dental work.

Lack of regulation:

Every dentist in the UK is required to register with a professional regulatory organisation.  The registration process includes evidence of appropriate qualifications, and ongoing continuous professional development (CPD).  Dentists in the UK are expected to carry out a minimum number of CPD hours. 

This is where the UK differs from many other countries. It’s crucial to check the process and training required to become a dentist within these countries, and whether the profession is regulated appropriately.  You may be putting yourself at higher risk of being on the receiving end of malpractice where there is improper regulation.

Challenges of legal protection:

As previously indicated, all practitioners are submitted to regulatory agencies in the United Kingdom. If something goes wrong or you believe your treatment was not provided correctly, you can thus contact the regulatory organisations to obtain legal advice. However, in many countries, this wouldn’t be an option and obtaining any legal help would be difficult. 

Improper aftercare:

Many dentists in the UK will follow up with their patients to ensure they are adapting well to the treatment and check there haven’t been any complications.  Going abroad for dental treatment doesn’t allow for this and should you experience any difficulties, you can expect to make a flight back there to have your treatment reviewed.  Having treatment in the UK has the benefit for you being able to re-visit the dental practice should you occur any issues following treatment. 

Complications can occur with dental treatment, and moreso if the treatment has been carried out suboptimally.  It will be a struggle to find a dentist to take on the treatment, as the dentist and dental practice will not want to be liable for any further issues going forward.  If you do manage to find a clinician willing to help you, you can expect to pay significantly more than what you would have paid in the first place.

Not only will the overall cost end up significantly more, your teeth will have already been compromised irreversibly, treatment will likely be more complex, you will require more visits to the dentist, and treatment time is expected to be much longer.

If you are thinking about going abroad for dental treatment, please weigh up these risks before doing so.  I have had first-hand experience of many patients with multiple issues following improper dental treatment.  For those on the receiving end of this, it is heart-breaking and was not worth the short-lived saving.

Your smile isn’t worth losing! For quality dental care in Harley Street, London, visit Dr Vivek Shah.