Dental Treatment ABROAD

At New Smile we understand the temptation to travel abroad in search of cheaper dental treatment. For a number of years we have been competing successfully with clinics in the North for patients from both South and North of the border.

However the decision to travel should not be taken lightly and based on price alone. We have in the past, and will continue in the future to treat a large number of “dental tourists” whose treatments have failed and/or have not lived up to what they were promised.

Unfortunately when complex dental treatment goes wrong, it goes very wrong leading to pain, infection and ultimate failure with associated anguish and a feeling of helplessness. Few people feel it worthwhile to travel for small treatments where no savings can be made; wrongly believing instead that the more teeth they have treated the better the “value”. Remember the larger the number of teeth treated, the greater the complexity.

The failures we have treated are usually due to four key problems:

A single crown or implant is relatively straight forward but multiple teeth restorations increase the complexity and the risks of complications occurring. Complex treatments which change the patient’s appearance/bite/jaw positions must be carefully planned to prevent future problems and to give the patient an accurate guide of the results they can expect when the treatment is completed. This planning cannot be comprehensively undertaken in a hotel room prior to travel and patients often complain that the treatment they received was not what was originally discussed at their initial consultation. In all cases additional treatments were carried out at additional costs to the patient.

Dental implant
Dental implant

Patients have described how they were advised to have more crowns/bridges/implants when greater discounts were offered for multiple treatments. Therefore people who have travelled to have their front teeth treated often return home with un-necessary crowns on their back teeth to boot, they are made to feel that these extra treatments were a “bargain”. In a way, people feel the more treatment they have, the more money they save, the more their decision to travel for cheaper treatment was justified, regardless of the consequences for their teeth.

The big one. The more teeth that are crowned at the same time, the greater the risk of changing the natural dimensions of the teeth, the position of your teeth when you bite together and the positions of your jaws. If some or all teeth are made fractionally too long or short the jaw positions change, you will always try to “return” to your natural biting position so the crowns/bridgework/implants fracture under the excess load placed on them. This leads to catastrophic failure and the need to re-do all crowns/bridgework at the patients cost.

Occlusal problems in teeth
Occlusal problems in teeth
Occlusal problems in teeth

When you travel for treatment as part of a “dental holiday”, it must be completed by the return flight date, regardless of what needs to be, or what should be done. Put simply the crowns/bridgework/ implants are going in whether they fit/look right or not. One patient informed us that the first time she saw her unsatisfactory crowns was in the bathroom at the airport. A taxi had picked her up from the dental clinic immediately after her fit appointment so she could catch her flight home. We have since replaced all her crowns.

With the help of our patients who have experienced the pitfalls of “dental tourism”, I have prepared the document below for your consideration. I have included questions you need to ask and assurances you should receive from the foreign dentist and his/her Irish agent prior to travel. I have also provided a link to the Irish Dental Council website and their document relating to choosing a dentist and dental treatments abroad.

Please print off these two documents and bring them with you to your consultation, if you are not knowledgeable about dentists, their relevant qualifications and various dental treatments, these documents may prove invaluable.

If you are not satisfied with the treatment you have received abroad, please do not hesitate to contact us, you will be treated caringly; you will have our full understanding and support.

Please note we do not provide “aftercare” on behalf of foreign clinics. We always advise patients who require alterations/adjustments to attend the “aftercare” clinics provided by the foreign clinics, these are sometimes located in Dublin or London.

Thank you,
Dr. David Kennedy. B.D.S.
Dental Surgeon