UK Push/Pull Factors & Dental Tourism

UK PushPull Factors  Dental Tourism

Push/Pull and Cost Factors

With fewer NHS dentists, longer waiting times and rising costs of private treatment, more and more Britons are opting to travel abroad for dental treatment, with Hungary as the top destination.

The cost of private dental treatment in the UK is steadily on the rise and has already risen beyond the means of many patients. For example, the cost of a dental implant can cost anywhere from £1,800 - £3,000 whereas in Hungary they are almost half the price at £580. It is evident that even with the cost of flights and accommodation the savings are substantial, considering you can also enjoy a holiday at the same time. 

Although the NHS does provide dental services there are very few NHS dentists, due to the current contract in which dentists are paid according to the Band level of treatment provided rather than per item of service provided which means they get paid a fixed amount regardless of the amount of treatment required. In the UK there are approximately four dentists for every 10,000 people in England, this, as you can imagine, creates long waiting lists for treatment, forcing people to choose private services which are often well beyond their means. Furthermore the NHS does not cover cosmetic treatment, so for those in need of cosmetic dental treatment, private dental services are the only option. It is not unheard of for people to receive quotes for upwards of £11,000 for cosmetic dental treatment, whereas the same procedure can be in Hungary or Poland for almost half the price.

UK-specific price comparison for the common dental procedures (typical cost in £):

   Procedure UK (Private)  Hungary Poland
Cosmetic White Fillings  £115 £40 £55
 Acrylic Dentures £550 £360 £139
 White Aesthetic Crowns  £500 £240 £261
 Tooth Whitening £345 £156 £140
 Dental Implants (per tooth) £2,150 £950 £895
 Orthodontics £2,500 £1,350 £640
 Root Canal £250 £90 £78
 Extractions £75 £33 £43


As can be seen from the above table, the cost of the procedures abroad is a huge attraction factor for Britons looking for high quality affordable dental services as you can easily save up to 70%.

Dentists in Hungary, Poland and Eastern and Central Europe provide world class dental procedures and services, with highly qualified dentists with an excellent knowledge of current dental technologies and procedures you can rest at ease knowing that you are safe hands.

Insurance and Payment Issues

Although the UK does have a National Health Service (NHS), the NHS dental service has been reduced to a very basic standard of care due to recent budget cuts. As of April 2013 the three NHS dental price bands are as follows:

• Band 1: £18. This charge includes an examination, diagnosis and preventive advice. If necessary, it also includes X-rays, scale and polish and planning for further treatment.

• Band 2: £49. This charge includes all the necessary treatment covered by the £18 charge, plus additional treatment, such as fillings, root canal treatment or extractions.

• Band 3: £214. This charge includes all the necessary treatment that is covered by the £18 and £49 charges, plus more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures and bridges.

Each band “expires” after 2 months, which means you will be charged for further treatment.

However you are entitled to free dental treatment if you are:

• under 18 

• under 19 and in full-time education

• pregnant or you’ve had a baby within the 12 months before treatment starts

• staying in an NHS hospital and the hospital dentist carries out your treatment

• an NHS Hospital Dental Service outpatient (although you may have to pay for your dentures or bridges)

For dental insurance in the UK prices start from £5 per month and usually have different levels of cover to choose from. For example, a basic policy may cover all of your NHS treatment and cost £10 per month, while a more comprehensive policy for £20 may cover some private treatment costs. However, most providers won't let you claim for the first three months, unless it's for a routine check-up and treatments that are not clinically necessary, unless as part of a course of NHS dental treatment, may not be covered. Also, if a condition is new you will be covered for it, but if it is a pre-existing condition – including accidents – you may not be covered.

Many insurance providers only pay out a percentage of costs. For example, they'll only pay up to 50% of the cost of routine treatment (to a maximum of £200) and you'll have to cough up the rest.

In the UK 88% of the adult population have no form of dental insurance and 19% have delayed their dental treatment for cost reasons.

Cost of Dental Tuition

In the UK (not including Scotland) for entry in 2015 the tuition fees were £9,000 per annum for home/EU students, £19,000 per annum for international students and £33,000 for Clinical overseas students.