Dental treatment abroad: it’s not plain sailing

We’ve all read the headlines about how cheap dental treatments abroad can be – and possibly more accessible than here in the UK.

Aesthetic and complex types of treatment such as tooth whitening or dental implant placements and bridges can be Suitcaseso unnecessarily expensive here – so the media will have us believe – and, if there’s a decent currency exchange and you’re jetting off for the summer anyway, why not? You can top up your vitamin D, enjoy foreign climes and get your teeth fixed all in one trip! It just adds a new dimension to your holiday – and it can’t be that problematic, can it?

Be warned. There are many risks and drawbacks and, without investigating fully any unchartered territories, it may a case of travels into tooth trouble rather than a passport to a perfect smile.

Before you commit to that trip abroad for dental treatment, it’s important you are fully aware of what to expect. You may well know how to raise concerns about your dental treatment in the UK, but it’s a different scenario in a foreign country where language can prove a barrier to understanding what the dentist, hygienist or therapist might be telling you and the rules may be different – if indeed there are rules, that is.

The General Dental Council (  oversee the practices of all us dental professionals here in the UK and we have to meet the strict rules they set when it comes to:

  • How we treat you
  • How we take care of your dental health
  • How we keep clean our dental tools and surgeries
  • And even how we behave.


There’s little guarantee that every country has this insurance against poor practice and you should put as much time into researching what the dental care is like at your destination of choice as you would the hotel’s pool, restaurant or sea view.

Some overseas clinics will have a UK office that will carry out the initial consultations before you head off. It’s truly not as simple as just popping in to your local practice and discussing treatment with them. Quality of aftercare is reportedly poor – worse, should the treatment fail in any way, do you really have the time, money and energy to return to the country for them to right any wrongs?

The Daily Telegraph recently quoted Ruth Chesmore, director of Bupa dental services (, who explains: ‘People want continuity of care with follow-ups and repeat appointments with the same dentist. You won’t get that if you go abroad.’


Home is definitely where the heart is, and never has this been more applicable than in the area of our dental care. Familiarity with pricings, language, even cultural similarities, behaviour and surroundings all help to put us at ease when we are putting our trust – and our health – in a professional and their care.

I once had my haircut while on holiday abroad and shed many tears after the appointment. I was as familiar with the hairdresser’s first language as she was with mine – amounting to zero understanding between us.

My hair grew back a long time ago – and the event is now a familiar family story of woe that I can retell with humour. Less funny, I’d imagine, if it’s damage to your teeth that is the result of your dalliance abroad.

I am happy to chat through treatments – free of charge – with patients before they commit to long courses of treatment. The dental practices where I work all offer complex dental treatments and we all work together to ease any of your fears and answer any of your questions before you we begin. Please do get in touch to discuss further. More importantly, we’re also here for the after care.

Happy holidays – and don’t forget to take your toothbrush!

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