Record numbers of holidaymakers are flying out to Bulgaria this summer for sun, sea, sand – and cheap dental treatment.
That’s according to UK company, Dentaprime Dental Clinic (www.dentaprime.co.uk), who report rocketing figures for their summer 2008 bookings from UK residents looking to combine a trip to the dentist with their holiday.
As more and more patients baulk at the cost of treatment here, the coastal area of Bulgaria is fast becoming a haven for dental tourists where alongside the many souvenir shops, taverns, restaurants and night clubs, ‘dentist’ signs are appearing.
The Dentaprime clinic is located in the coastal resort of Varna, near Goldensands, and has an in-house laboratory to allow dentists and technicians to work side by side so tooth replacements can be manufactured on the same day.
The company guarantees all tooth replacements for two years, promising after-care with a dentist in Marylebone, London, if required.
Although the Black Sea coast is the most common destination for the service, the country’s major cities are also assuming some of the dental care tourism burden.
Meanwhile, StatMedica, a British-Polish medical tourism partnership that offers dental and medical treatment in Poland, has added a new dental clinic in the outskirts of Warsaw to its portfolio.
They, too, are reporting record number of bookings, hence the need for expansion.
Managing Partner Lukasz Liese explains: ‘There are a number of aspects that we take into consideration before adding a new clinic to our portfolio.
‘We frequently have to turn clinics away that do not meet our high standards.
‘StatMedica understands the needs of dental patients from the UK.
‘We are confident that we have selected clinics that have high standards, yet offer competitive prices at the same time.’
Recently, the world’s first dental tourism survey, conducted by RevaHealth.com – a medical and dental tourism search engine – showed high levels of satisfaction among the thousands of dental tourists around the world who were happy with the treatment they received in other countries.
But dental experts in Britain are wary of dental treatment abroad, especially if it goes wrong.
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: ‘It is a big worry that so many people are now willing to travel abroad for dental treatment without being fully aware of the risks.
‘So-called ‘dental holidays’ are presented as a cheap and hassle-free alternative to getting treatment in this country, but we know from calls to our Dental Helpline that if things go wrong then nothing could be further from the truth.’