Irish dental patients have been told to ‘do their homework’ before traveling abroad for cheaper treatment. It comes as distant dental tourism destinations announce they are open for business again.
A number of dental clinics across Europe have seen an increase in bookings from Irish clients since the lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Most dental holidaymakers require major procedures, such as implants, root canals and crowns, which often cost a fraction of the equivalent treatment in Ireland.
However, the Irish Dental Association has advised people wishing to seek treatment abroad to “use more discernment”.
They warn that a previous survey found that up to three in four Irish dentists were treating patients for problems resulting from procedures they had undergone abroad.
A spokesperson for the group said: ‘The Irish Dental Association is concerned about the quality of dental care in other countries and urges people to seek home consultations first.
“We need to encourage people who are likely to travel internationally to focus on the quality of work they receive and the real need for that work, not just the price of that work.”
However, a number of practices in Hungary, which are popular with Irish patients, insist that opting for cheaper treatment in their clinics is a ‘no-brainer’.
Ildiko Cservenyak, managing director of Access Smile – which has a clinic in Budapest, Hungary and a sister clinic in Dublin – said: “Interest has started to return now after a very quiet two-year period during the pandemic.
“Given how things are going, I would expect us to return to pre-pandemic activity levels later this summer.
“Most clients who travel overseas for dental work need major work. They don’t just come for a check-up.
“Dentists in Hungary are highly respected and it has been the leading country for dental tourism for the past two decades. People can get quality care for around half the price they would pay in Ireland for treatments like root canals, crowns and implants.
“Also, if someone comes to Hungary for dental treatment, they can reclaim the tax once they return to Ireland.”
Mary Flanagan, the Irish representative for Kreativ – a Budapest practice that provides a follow-up service in Dublin – said Irish patients have been flying out daily for treatment since restrictions were eased.
“The demand is very high, as the standards are extremely high and the financial savings are considerable,” she said. “Along with that, you also get a vacation in the beautiful city of Budapest.
“Before the pandemic, around 150 Irish people visited each month for major treatment. But the numbers are rising again every month.
“In January, about 70 exceededand last month it was 100. I think we will be back to pre-pandemic levels in the next weeks. »