The high cost of cut-price dentistry
Chronic ulcers, cysts, infections, bleeding gums, cracked crowns and loose implants – just some of the hair-raising problems being reported by patients who have received cheap dental treatment abroad.
“I’ve seen people with pus running down the inside of their faces,” says Anne O’Donoghue, periodontist (gum specialist) and lecturer in dentistry at Trinity College Dublin.
“They literally have pus running down inside their nose because of infections in the sinus.
“We see a lot of patients with chronic ulcers caused by ill-fitting crowns, implants or veneers,” says O’Donoghue, a dentist for 30 years.
Increasingly, she says, she’s dealing with patients who have travelled abroad for dental treatment and are now reporting everything from infections and swelling to bleeding gums, bad breath, chipping or cracking crowns and implants falling out.
Large numbers of Irish people are opting for cosmetic dental treatments overseas, and they’re travelling to clinics in countries like Spain, Portugal, Turkey and throughout Eastern Europe, which are offering savings of up to 70 per cent on prices in Dublin.
Prices for dental treatment are higher here, acknowledges the Irish Dentists’ Association, but it says that’s partly because of the overall cost of living, but also because of recession-era cutbacks in state aid such as changes in tax reliefs and PRSI allowances and the restriction of medical card dental care to patients.
Many patients are happy with the low-priced dental treatment they receive abroad, but others can pay dearly for their decision to go outside Ireland.
According to a survey carried out by the Irish Dentists’ Association, some 6,000 patients a year are presenting to Irish dentists seeking remedial treatment following dental work carried out in foreign clinics.
Over time, they may experience problems as a result of poor materials or workmanship, because work is carried out on top of existing infections or because complex procedures are shoe-horned into too little time.
Part of the problem is that people are so anxious to get a low price that they’re not carrying out thorough checks on the clinic they choose and are failing to make informed decisions about their treatment, believes Davor Mekterovic MD, of Dental Hungary, which has been operating in Ireland since 2005.
“It amazes me that people just go with price rather than finding out who is doing the work – they put more effort into researching and buying a new car than they do into who is doing their teeth,” he says.
Via Irish Independent Health & Living.