Dental tourism is on the rise, with many patients from the United States traveling to Poland and the Czech Republic to have work done on their teeth. Procedures for everything from cosmetic repair to root canals are often cheaper, just as well done, and are often long-lasting in other countries than the United States.
Poland’s Baltic coast, known for its foreign tourists that come to visit the sandy beaches and riverbanks, is a key tourist destination in Europe.
International patients started to flock to the area a little over a decade ago when one dental clinic in the area started to offer services to international clients. The trend has led to almost every dental clinic in the area offering services to foreign visitors.
Financial Times claims one clinic has as much as 80% of clients come from abroad.
Foreigners that come to Poland are leading to a new trend: new employees. Many of the clinics have had to hire additional employees that will work with the tourist to provide them with everything, from sightseeing to hotel bookings.
Medical tourism is growing 12 – 15% annually in central and eastern Europe.
Hungary is also facing rising medical tourism, with specialization in dental services. Clinics in Hungary offer everything from dentures to implants to foreigners. The Czech Republic focuses primarily on the cataract surgery market, yet there has also been an increase in dental and other procedures being performed in the country.
Experts claim that the market is not yet fully developed, but the benefits are clear for many of the clinics and healthcare providers that rely on foreigners to stay in operation.
The PwC claims that clinics can begin offering more complex surgeries as a way to expand the industry further.
Poland has a key foothold in the plastic surgery industry as well as the dental industry.
Tourists from the United Kingdom and Germany are also going to the Czech Republic and Poland for medical spas or cosmetic treatments. Prices in the two countries are often two to three times lower than in the patient’s home country.
A European Union directive has helped fuel the industry since 2013. The directive allows for member states to offer medical treatment and have it refunded under the respective healthcare schemes. This allows patients from the UK to travel abroad to have procedures performed and be reimbursed under the National Health Services.
Titanium implants, for example, may cost £2,500 in the United Kingdom for a single tooth. Czech implants can cost less than £1,200, depending on the make of the implant. Poland’s prices for dental implants are as low as $506 per implant. Prices in the United States are as high as $4,000 for one tooth.
Rising healthcare costs and insurance premiums in the United States are also causing many Americans to travel to Europe to have procedures performed. Mexico, a close destination for Americans, provides a savings of 40% – 65% on medical costs.
Thailand’s medical tourism industry is also booming, with many tourists saving 50% to 75%. The medical and dental tourism industries are expected to continue to rise by as much as 15% annually for the foreseeable future.