Growth of “dental tourism” could add to pressure on access to dentistry in UK

The Association of Dental Groups has responded to the British Dental Association’s survey of 1000 dentists released today highlighting evidence of a growth in “dental tourism” and the potential consequences of going abroad for “cut price treatment.”

The BDA survey of clinicians found that the most important factors influencing patients to seek care abroad were lower treatment costs and shorter waiting times.

The findings of the survey indicate that the lure of a quick fix may carry considerable risks with 86% of respondents reported having treated cases that had developed problems following treatment abroad, the most common cases being crowns and implants. Many dentists in the survey highlighted the ubiquity of social media promotions touting the “perfect” smile.

Neil Carmichael, Chair of the ADG said;

“Many people are struggling to access care and treatments and the lure of “instant fixes” abroad via social media can be tempting for some.

 Patients need to provide informed consent for any treatment they have and should be wary of social media instant solutions. Complex courses of treatment typically require detailed preparation and a number of follow up-visits with a trusted clinician. You should always think carefully about continuity of care with a trusted provider when considering treatment abroad. 

 The rise of “dental tourism” risks creating a feedback loop into access to dental care in England. Patients seeking solutions abroad due to lack of access and UK dentists then picking up the pieces of failed treatments.”

Details of the BDA survey are here.

The NHS advises people to think carefully before booking any treatment abroad

Treatment abroad checklist – NHS (

The Regulator (GDC) also advises patients to be fully aware of what to expect and the potential risks involved.
Going abroad for dental treatment (