There is a secret that the Austrians and Germans have known for years that is slowly leaking out into the wider world. Dental treatment in Hungary is not only a fraction of the cost it is at home, it is also some of the best quality available anywhere in the world.
Around 50% of Austrians now cross the border to Hungary for their dental treatment, and when you visit some of the 1,000 dental surgeries located throughout the main border towns, it’s not hard to see why.(*) The excellent academic traditions of the medical schools of the region are now being combined with an unprecedented level of investment in high technology and medical facilities.
For those of us unfortunate enough to be living much further away from Hungary, help is now at hand in the form of low cost flights and accommodation. Hungary is now readily accessible from any major city in Europe, and Budapest in particular has caught on fast to providing the same high quality, high tech dental treatments to visiting tourists that its border cousins have been doing for years.
Unsurprisingly, Hungary’s success in the field of Dental Tourism has brought with it the media spotlight. USA Today and the BBC have both published complementary accounts of dental procedures carried out in Hungary, and the value for money they report is exceptional. Speaking to the BBC, Bill Hunter told of how he paid less than half the cost he would have in the UK, saving himself £12,000 in the process.(*) Nancy Carothers, speaking to USA Today, reported an even more impressive saving. Her $2900 price tag was less than a quarter of the price quoted to her in the USA.(*)
While much of the world has yet to even hear of Dental or Medical Tourism, thanks to the Austrians and Germans, Hungary has an established tradition in both. Their dentists are used to receiving patients from around the world on a regular basis. As far back as the year 2000, the trend setting Kreativ Dental in Budapest had opened an information office in New York to drive business.
Now that Hungary is a full member of the E.U., patients are not only covered by the stringent Hungarian laws covering dental treatment, they also benefit from the E.U.’s renowned consumer’s rights legislation.
One thing that may also come as a surprise to some is the ready availability and speed of treatment. With some towns boasting up to 10 times the per capita number of dentists that the UK has, waiting lists are nonexistent, and with ready access to the newest technologies, treatments can often be completed in a fraction of the time.
Take the example of dental implants, one of the most popular solutions for missing teeth. A titanium screw replaces the old root and a natural looking crown is attached to perfectly replicate the missing tooth. Unlike bridgework, implants do not affect the surrounding teeth. Integrated into the jaw, they avoid the gum problems and bone loss that can accompany a bridge or dentures.
Typically a titanium screw is implanted and the area is left to heal for up to six months before the crown, or fake tooth, is attached. With the newest treatment methods this period can be dramatically reduced, allowing the fitting of the crown at the same time as the titanium screw implantation. Healing should be very rapid after the implant is placed, taking just a few days with little associated pain.
Most local patients can return to work the same day as the procedure is carried out. This speed can be particularly beneficial for dental tourists, as they can save on the added travel costs of having to return to their chosen clinic a few months down the line for a fitting.
Top quality treatment, great value, easy accessibility, and speed of treatment mean that Hungary is already ahead of the field in Dental Tourism, and in this information age the secret is spreading fast.
(*) Info Sources:
The Daily Telegraph (UK), 06 October 2002.
USA Today Travel News, 28 July 2005
BBC News website, 03 April 2006