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Useful tips for choosing a dentist

1. Was That Really You?

Always check any reference to press coverage for a specific mention of the clinic in question. If the link is broken or doesn't go anywhere it's probably for a reason.

2. Letters of Praise

A good clinic will have happy clients willing to share their experiences. It's sometimes a leap of faith that gets someone in a foreign dentists chair and when the experience turns out to be way above their expectations the letters come flooding in. Often a clinic's websites will publish client's letters and emails as proof of their excellent service. But look closer. Are they showing the entire letter or just conveniently edited highlights? We've certainly seen lots of takes on this; even obviously made up testimonials. Thankfully we have the English language on our side as genuine English is particularly hard to forge and relatively easy to spot.
If in doubt ask to see case studies and if you're still in doubt ask for some reference telephone numbers of people who they have treated from your area.

3. Location, Location, Location

If you're thinking of traveling to a new city for dental treatment always check exactly where the clinic is in relation to the city centre. So many clinics skirt over the fact that they are in fact many miles away from where you might want to be staying (one dental clinic was found to be atleast 3 hour drive from the airport!).
Personally I'd rather spend my time taking in the sights of a new city, not be stuck in traffic for hours between appointments or looking round the dead streets of a distant suburb where the hotel is 'conveniently located'.

4. The Price is Right?

The most important part for many people is understandably price and today's highly competitive market of dentistry has a huge drive to keep prices as low as possible. A word of advice here: you should try as much as is possible to satisfy as many of the criteria listed below before looking at price.
For more involved procedures it may be worth avoiding temptingly low offers from clinics that score low on experience and qualifications. Also, keep an eye out for any hidden extras. For example: with dental implants there is the price for the implant and the price for the crown but lesser known is the cost of uncovering the implant, fitting healing screws and the abutments which support the final crown. Ask exactly what is included in the price.

5. Giving it Away

In the UK and elsewhere dental patients are usually asked to pay for absolutely everything right down to the mouth wash. In today's competitive dentist market there's a lot to be got for free. Typically we would expect to see free consultations, x-rays (including panoramic x-rays), airport transfers and transfers to and from all your appointments, oral-sedation, impression taking, antibiotics, pain killers where necessary and of course the complimentary mouth wash.
The list could go on but be wary of too many discounts and freebies if the basics don't add up.

6. You Speak English?

It is an absolute must that everyone you come into contact within the clinic, especially the dentist who will be treating you, should have a firm grasp of the English language. Your communication with your dentist needs to be very specific and, if you haven't already pre-negotiated your treatment, then you both need to decide between you on the best course of action to take. Any inability to communication will seriously hamper both your treatment and potentially your wallet.

7. Guarantees

A lot of dentists now offer guarantees on their work and this is often a good way to compare clinics. Check the terms and conditions carefully and beware any web-sites that do not clearly state this. For dental crowns you should expect 3 to 5 years and for implants up to 10 years. Always ask whether the guarantee is provided by the clinic, the manufacturer or both. A large and well established clinic is a good sign that the guarantees will be honoured.

8. Clinic Facilities

There are some technical aspects to consider here when looking at a dental clinic's facilities which I'll spare you for now but, as a rule of thumb, we found the larger the clinic the better. More space and more dental chairs is a sign of a clinic with serious intentions to invest in their own future and therefore also in their clients.
The clinic should of course be spotless and well equipped but a good sign is often a clinic that provides a good sized waiting area for its clients and their family & friends and these days things like a free internet access area. For a large clinic we also like to see a good number of receptionists on hand to attend to client's non-dental requests which can be especially important in a foreign city.
Check a prospective clinic's web-site for 3D virtual tours which allow you to inspect before you arrive.

9. Are they up to the job?

You might say that surely a dentist is a dentist, but delve a little deeper and you'll find there can be a world of difference between them. The basic qualification for a dentist in the UK is the BDS or LDS.
This is usually all a general dentist will need and, when combined with good postgraduate training and solid real life experience, they are ready to take up their own private practice.
However, when offering surgical procedures like implant placing, we always look for the all important MD (Medical Doctor) qualification plus postgraduate specialization in maxillofacial surgery which can only be obtained by a dentist if they are an MD first. Similarly cosmetic dentistry specialists should have undergone specific training to enable them to produce truly stunning results.

10. Experience is King

So the qualifications look good and the price is right but have they got any lengthy real life experience to back it up? Depending on their specialization, if any, a good dentist needs to be practicing in the field for at least 5-10 years to achieve an acceptable level of experience. And it's no good if they've been tucked away in some back water for years treating children and even less so if their client list is too small.

Useful tips for choosing a foreign dentist

Over 50,000 UK foriegn dentists patients are travelling abroad for treatment every year and more are set to follow. Full of sound practical advice on going overseas for elective surgery, cosmetic surgery and dentistry this guide will answer the concerns of the medical tourist and help him or her decide on the best destination and healthcare provider to suit their needs.
“Medical tourism is a growing industry and there are a huge number of foriegn countries offering competitively priced surgery - there is so much choice that it can be confusing” says Keith Pollard, Director Treatment Abroad “It is essential that potential foriegn patients do their research. The Guide to Medical Tourism was compiled to help patients make the right decisions about treatment abroad”.
Here are ten top tips from the guide to help the medical foriegn dentists tourist on his or her way.

1. Find out all you can about the treatment or procedure that you are interested in – an informed patient is more able to make an informed choice.

2. Prepare a comprehensive checklist of questions to ask your surgeon or foriegn dentists abroad.

3. Pick the destination that is right for you - countries vary in terms of costs and areas of surgical specialty of foriegn dentists.  Hungary and Poland are popular for dental treatment, Belgium, Spain and Germany for cosmetic and elective surgery, and France for obesity surgery. 

4. Get quotes from the healthcare provider or medical tourism agent and compare costs of foriegn dentists.  Find out exactly what the medical tourism package includes.

5. Find out what qualifications and accreditations the foriegn dentists, doctors or surgeons should have to practice in their country – make sure they are in place.

6. Ask about treatment guarantees - all operations carry some risk.  What can you expect if a complication should arise?  Will this be dealt with within the package price?

7. Plan properly for your recovery period and allow flexibility in your schedule.   Find out from your foriegn dentists what to expect in the days following surgery.
8. Once you have considered all the options, choose a foriegn dentist that you trust and feel comfortable with.

9. Don’t go for cosmetic surgery or dentistry based on pictures or email correspondence alone.   Ask for contact details of previous patients of the foriegn dentists .

10. And finally.  Check you have a valid passport and the correct visas.  And remember if you do combine a holiday with treatment and want to enjoy sporting actisvities such as diving or surfing, do that first - you may just want to put your feet up afterwards.



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