For those of you considering a holiday that includes major dental work such as crowns, implants, veneers and bridgework, and costs less than a good meal in a fine Dublin restaurant, take a few minutes to read this advice.
Before you go, at least get an assessment from a reliable dentist here for the work you are planning to have done. If we tell you it’s going to take 6 months from start to finish, there’s a good reason why, and it’s not just to allow you to hang on to your money for a bit longer! (Wouldn’t we rather have it quicker?) If your prospective dentist in lands afar plans to do the same work in 3 weeks, you should be wondering why, especially if he hasn’t even seen your teeth before he starts. An assessment with us is generally going to cost you around E100 including x-rays, and at least you have some idea of what should be happening when you arrive overseas.
Also, be prepared to return to the country in question on an annual basis, as complex work often requires specific maintenance regimes, and if we aren’t happy with the work, or are unhappy as to how you are looking after it , we’ll send you back to the original dentist for it’s maintenance.
Check out a few of the downsides before you go as well. Achieving any kind of comeback on substandard work in a different jurisdiction is proving extremely difficult in our experience, and the dentist who replied to your e-mails within minutes before you went over, is generally less forthcoming when things aren’t working out. It can also be a long trip back if things are going awry, and replacement of temporary restorations and the like can mean flying back more often than planned. Don’t expect a dentist here to be overly helpful if someone else is doing the work for you. If your dentist is in Bulgaria, that’s where you’re headed if it’s not working out.
Finally, here’s a couple of our recent experiences with foreign dentistry on the cheap.
Firstly, Poland. Steven (real name) flew to Poland to have his crooked front 4 teeth straightened for his 30th birthday. Before leaving, the teeth were sound, but misaligned. He would have been an ideal candidate for braces to correct the problem, or alternatively, veneers may have been used instead. His trip to poland lasted 1 week in total, and he returned with his straighter teeth, as requested. His first visit to us was last Wednesday, 6th Feb. His gums were ‘bleeding a bit’ around the front teeth. Examination revealed crowns on his front 4 teeth, none of which were ideal, but adequately fitting at best. X-rays were more informative, and showed that 3 of the 4 teeth had their nerves removed, and as this had not been carried out to a sufficient standard, were now chronically infected in the bone. The less than ideal crowns were causing chronic gum disease around the teeth, adn he had been given no instruction as to how to maintain the crowns. Steven now requires the 3 root treatments to be redone to clear the infection, will need posts in the weakened 3 teeth, followed by 4 new crowns to complete the work, over a 9 month period. He will never be able to get back to his pre-Poland state, and will now be left with compromised front teeth for the rest of his life. None of the work carried out was necessary, or appropriate, and it should never have been completed in 1 week.
Secondly, Elaine, Budapest. Elaine flew from the UK to Budapest for Implants on the cheap. She has never regretted any decision more than this. Without giving the whole story, which is now ongoing for nearly 3 years, the work was a disaster from day 1, and has only deteriorated since. Suffice to say that the teeth which were fitted to the implants lasted less than 3 months, the implants placed in the jaw bone were all infected within 3-6 months, and no general dentist in the UK would even consider trying to rectify the situation. Referral to a specialist oral surgeon was required, and by this time she had been in CONSTANT pain for nearly 4 months. Every one of the implants had to be removed, she has required bone grafting surgery to try and repair the damage to the jaw bone, and is currently having plastic surgery to move the skin of her cheek over the exposed bone areas of the jaw. She endured over 18 months of pain, leading to her requiring prescription anti-depressants for more than 12 months, and will never look or feel the same as before her visits to Hungary. Her life has effectively been destroyed for the past 2 years, and she will never get that back. She was advised before she went that it was possibly not the best option, but price is a powerful motivator. She is currently not in a sufficiently stable frame of mind to document her experience, but we are hoping that she will eventually be able to do so.
We have other tales from many countries, Lebanon, Spain, Romania, Thailand, Bulgaria and others near and far, and some from Dublin also, but we have not yet found a single failed case from abroad that has achieved financial recompense from the original dentist. Genrally, the remedial work required is far more extensive than the original treatment required.
Obviously we do see some acceptable cases that return from abroad, but be careful. If it goes wrong, it’s generally very wrong…