Exodontia.Info
Going Abroad for your Dental
(Implant) Care?
What You Need To Know Before You Go

Before you commit to travelling abroad for dental treatment,
it’s important you are fully aware of what to expect and what
risks are involved.

You may know how to raise concerns about your dental
treatment in the UK but are you familiar with the process in
a foreign country?

What you do before going abroad for treatment (that is,
research regarding the treatment, costings and questions to
ask
) applies equally to being treated here in the UK.  If you
are going to have elaborate (and expensive) treatment, you
should always research the matter before hand.  Similarly,
the questions that you ask about foreign treatment apply
equally to treatment here in the UK.


Checking Regulation

The General Dental Council (GDC) is the UK dental
regulator; all dental professionals must be registered with
the
GDC to work in the UK.  The GDC sets the standards
that all registered dentists in the UK must adhere to.  The
GDC can’t guarantee another organisation like it exists in
other countries or even that the standards will be the same
as they are here in the UK.

The
GDC recommends that you do as much research as
you can and find out the facts before you go to ensure your
treatment abroad meets your expectations.

Dental regulation is likely to vary from country to country, so
it’s a good idea to do some initial research on where your
planned treatment will take place.

  • Does that country have a professional dental regulatory
    body?

  • Is it compulsory for dental professionals to be
    registered with them?

You can find out about health regulators and professional
bodies in other countries by visiting
www.healthregulation.
org.

If there is a regulatory body, you will want to visit their
website to find out about the standards they enforce, what
qualifications dental professionals must have and who to
contact if you have a complaint about your treatment.


Initial Consultation

Some overseas clinics will have a UK base offering initial
consultations in this country before you travel abroad for
treatment.  Others may offer free consultations if you’re
prepared to travel.

The initial consultation is your chance to ask as many
questions as possible so you can feel safe and confident in
your decision.

You should always be assessed by a qualified dentist
before being given a treatment plan and cost estimate.

If your consultation is in the UK, be sure to ask if the dentist
is registered with the
GDC.  If they aren’t, they are working
illegally and should not be practising in the UK.

You can check if a dentist is registered with the
GDC by
visiting the
GDC website, and searching the online register
or by calling the
GDC on 0845 222 4141.


As part of your initial consultation, the dentist assessing you
should ask about your:

  • full medical history

  • general health

  • any serious illnesses in the past

  • any chronic medical condition

  • any drugs / medications you are taking

  • whether you smoke and

  • if you’ve had surgery or a general anaesthetic in the
    past.

It’s always a good idea to speak to your
own dentist before
considering travelling abroad for your dental treatment as
they may be able to offer advice based on your dental
history.

Your
own dentist will also need to be aware of your plans in
case of any later complications and also the ongoing care of
the dental implants when you have come back from abroad.


Questions To Ask

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, even if they seem
blunt or obvious.

If you are not happy with the answers you are given, don’t
feel you have to commit to anything that day.

Go home and do some more research until you feel
confident that all your questions have been answered.

You may also want to talk to other patients who have
travelled abroad for dental treatment by visiting online
groups and fora (the
GDC have suggested www.
treatmentabroad.com).

Some of the questions you may want to ask are:

  • Who will be carrying out my treatment and what
    qualifications do they have?

  • Will the dental team speak English?  If not, will you
    provide a translator on the day of the procedure?

  • Do you have any references or testimonials from
    previous patients?

  • How many times have you carried out the procedure I
    am having?

  • What are the rates of success, complication,
    readmission and infection?

  • Are you regulated by a professional body and do you
    have to be registered with them?

  • Is the work guaranteed for a certain period of time?

  • What aftercare do you provide?

  • What happens if I am unhappy with the results?

  • Who pays for the extra flights, hotel and remedial
    work?

  • If there are complications and I need further treatment,
    is this included in the initial cost?

  • Do you have insurance to cover this procedure?

  • Do you have a complaints system in place? Can I see
    a copy of it?

  • Who can I contact for advice after the treatment?

If the dentist claims to be a specialist, it’s also important to
ask whether they can back this up. In the UK, the
GDC
holds lists of dentists entitled to use the title ‘specialist’.

Entry onto these lists is only granted if a dentist meets
certain minimum standards of training.  You may want to
find out if you can expect the same standards of training
from the dentist who will be carrying out your treatment
abroad.


Useful Websites:

General Dental Council

Association of Dental Implantologists UK

British Society of Oral Implantologists
Please click here to send any comments via email.
Last Updated 11th August 2010