Dentists warn over foreign treatment


More than three out of four dentists have had to treat patients for problems linked to treatment received abroad, it was revealed today.

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) raised concerns over the quality of dental care being received in other countries

Of 440 dentists questioned for the IDA-commissioned research, 76 per cent said that over the past 12 months they had seen patients who underwent cheaper procedures overseas.

IDA president Dr Donal Blackwell said common problems included too much dental work being done over too short a time frame, unnecessary work being done and poor materials being used by dentists abroad.

“Dental tourism - like medical tourism generally - is a fact of life in every developed country and some people travel to Ireland for specialist dental work,” he said.

“However we need to encourage people who may be travelling abroad to focus on the quality of work they receive and whether that work is really necessary and not just the price of that work.”

It is estimated as many as 44 per cent of people travelling abroad for dental treatment actually do not know what they need when they inquire about costs.

The IDA chief said patients needed to be more discerning when considering travelling abroad for treatment.

“One of the problems was that when considering travelling abroad for dental treatment, patients tended to focus on short term, aesthetic results rather than the long term quality of the care they received,” he said.

“The lure of bargain prices meant that patients were less concerned about the need for different treatments than the cost of them.”

Dr Blackwell maintained the latest survey results reinforced concerns expressed previously by Prof Brian O’Connell and Dr Michael O’Sullivan of the Dublin Dental Hospital that there was a substantial risk to patients travelling abroad for treatment.

He advised anyone considering undergoing treatment abroad to consult with their local dentist to clarify what work was required and to get a valid price comparison.

The survey was carried out by independent research company, Behaviour & Attitudes, on behalf of the Irish Dental Association. A total of 440 Irish dentists responded to the survey