Headlines about the NHS dentistry crisis across the UK continue to rage, but it’s no consolation to those patients who do not have access to a dentist—or at least one they can afford.
In Scotland, the double-edged sword of a dentist recruitment crisis, as well as the implementation of the new Oral Health Improvement Plan is not improving matters. While in England and Wales, charities working in developing nations are setting up mobile services to reach patients—even in the affluent shires of Hampshire and Buckinghamshire. The number of adults who haven’t been to the dentist in the last two years is now around 50%, and just as worryingly around a third of children.
Anyone who hasn’t seen a dentist recently is right to be concerned. Regular dental check-ups are part of an effective oral care regime based on preventing disease. Disease prevention is not only good for patients in terms of maintaining their health by catching (and treating) problems early, but it’s also good for the NHS, because treating dental diseases places significant costs on scarce resources.
What Are The Alternatives To NHS Dentistry?
In the absence of NHS dentistry, the alternatives are either private dentistry (which is terrifically expensive, particularly if it’s a whole family rather than an individual) or abstinence (which only exacerbates any minor problems that without treatment become major ones). However, dental tourism is picking up traction as a viable option, but not necessarily as a special trip for dental care, but one where a family holiday may incorporate a trip to the dentist while they are abroad.
Dental Tourism in Spain
Finding suitable dentists in Spain is not as arduous as it appears. There are plenty of dental clinics based in tourist locations providing reliable, value-for-money services to Brits with the Costa del Sol and popular Mediterranean Islands, such as Mallorca, proving to be popular. Dental clinics are staffed with English-speaking dentists, facilities are often modern and equipped with state-of-the-art equipment that make NHS clinics appear like the poor relations.
The prices are way cheaper than private dental care at home, even giving some NHS prices a run for their money—with some clinics in Spain also offering free consultations. Prices for diagnostic tests are also lower in Spain, coming in at £12 for panoramic x-rays compared to £100 in the UK, and 3D/CT scans costing £25 compared to £390 in the UK.
It’s the same story for dental treatments with:
• Composite Dental fillings in Spain costing around £50, compared to £150 in the UK
• Crowns costing £300 in Spain, compared to £900 in the UK
• Root Canals in Spain costing £340 compared to £1,200 in the UK.
Most family dental treatments can be covered easily and affordably by visiting a dentist in Spain, and even for a dental implant, the cost in Spain is a lot less at £1,200 compared to £3,000 in the UK.
Combining dental care with a family holiday in Spain could be the only viable option for families who want to avoid the NHS dentistry crisis. It keeps their dental health in check, but without having to forego family treats to pay for private dentistry in the UK.