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09th April 2014

Dental Tourists Stay in the UK (and it’s not Because of the Weather)

Dental TouristsWe recently treated a patient who had been abroad for implants.  On examination, it was found that several recently fitted implants were mobile and the whole prosthesis had to be scrapped.  Based on experiences like this, it’s very easy to knock the standard of cheap dentistry provided in middle Europe.  But we must remember that problems happen with our work too, we are not immune to this.  However, when there are issues to address, the patient just has to cross the road and not get back on a plane.

Thank you to Dental Tribune for this story.  According to TeethWise, a cosmetic dental clinic search and cost comparison website, the number of people travelling for dental treatments has dropped significantly over the past decade. This trend is largely attributable to cheaper dental implants and other cosmetic procedures that have become available in the UK.
For instance, Hungarian dentists and dental tour operators have noted a significant fall in the number of medical tourists. The country has attracted many European medical tourists since 2004 when Hungary joined the European Union. According to Eoin Holohan, founder of TeethWise, an estimated 250,000 UK patients travelled to Hungary for medical treatment in 2005 alone. However, a decade later, the number of UK nationals travelling to Hungary has fallen by 38 per cent.

Less is more

They further point out that the economic climate and price pressures on restorative dentistry in the UK were the two main factors causing the drop in numbers. First of all, the basic costs have begun to come nearer to comparison, as more and more dentists are offering a low-cost alternative along-side a premium implant brand. Moreover, a number of dentists in the UK have established specialised dental implant clinics, offering cheap implants to larger numbers of patients.  With less of a saving to be made, patients are choosing to stay home.   Additionally, as the recent recession has had  an effect on cash available, more patients are opting for less sophisticated tooth replacement methods.

Marketing opportunity

It’s never a good idea to concentrate on negatives, of another brand, to try to make a sale.  But we can now market the positives, in order to make the most of this opportunistic change in patterns.

With this change at the core of a campaign aimed at patients you can now highlight quality, surroundings they are used to, practitioners that are familiar and a wide range of answers.  Let’s market ‘Brand UK’!

Dr John Shapter – QCS Expert Dental Contributor

Topics: Dentists

Sarah Riley

Senior Customer Care Executive

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