Hungary in general is a very popular destination amongst families and youngsters. There is so much to do. Swimming in natural lakes, like Balaton the longest lake in Europe, exploring wild-life and adventure parks, mountain trekking in the forests of the Bakony.
Trekking, bungee jumping and the likes are some of the holiday activities where getting an insurance is recommended. However, there are types of getaways where the main purpose is not fun and relaxation, but health-related. Read on below to know more about Hungary’s popular dental tourism.
The concept of cross border healthcare is not a new one. It is thought that dental tourism has been going on for hundreds of years in one form or another.
More recently, Hungary has been recognised a popular destination for dental tourists for over 25 years and is considered to be the “Dental Tourism Capital of the World”.
Hungary has not been crowned the capital of dental tourism by chance alone. There is a geographical reason why this industry phenomenon happened.
Initially, the Austrian people discovered that by driving over the Austrian border into Hungary then dental treatment will be half the price. Hungarian dentists started to open up dental offices close to the border for the convenience of their patients. It was a simple case of supply and demand and the industry just grew and grew. At one stage it was reported that fifty percent of Austrian adults crossed the border into Hungary. Soon after, tens of thousands of German citizens started to do the same with the Swiss following suit a few years later.
Over the last 6 years the UK market has picked up with many British and Irish dental patients travelling to Hungary for low cost and high quality dental treatment.
Budapest remains the most popular destination for British and Irish dental health travellers but other towns close to the Austrian border such as Mosonmagyarovar, Buk-furdo, Heviz, Gyor, Sopron and Szombathely also welcome patients from the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Having dental treatment overseas is a lot different from having dental treatment with your local dentist. Your local dentist is more likely to provide small bite sized chunks of treatment over several weeks or months whereas your Hungarian dentist will provide larger amounts of treatment in a shorter period of time. Dental tourism patients don’t live just around the corner so Hungarian dentists adopted a safe method to provide major restorative dental treatment in just 1 or 2 trips to Hungary lasting usually 3 to 5 days each time.
Over the last 7 years budget airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair have further opened up Hungary as a location for British dental health travellers. Budapest gained strength compared to the border towns as waves of British dental health travellers arrived for smile makeovers in large numbers. Budapest as a dental tourism location started buzzing and dental surgeries started attracting more British patients. Most surgeries adapted to the changes very quickly by learning the language and understanding the needs of British patients.
Whilst the Austrians, Germans and Swiss were happy to drive over or hop on “dental excursion buses”, the English, Irish and the American patients demanded airport pick-ups and a case manager who would guide through the process. These new types of patients also wanted to know exactly what treatment that they need and how much it would cost them before they actually travelled.
Dental agencies formed who would control, oversee and manage the patient enquiries as well as promoting several dental surgeries.
Difficulties within the British NHS, high private dental fees and problematic health insurance traps within the USA drove a huge interest towards choosing alternative options with dental tourism coming out on top. Horror stories surfaced with dental patients trying to extract their own teeth because of the expense or two year waiting lists. It is no surprise that Dental Tourism became a hot topic.
Many Hungarian dentists have become members of the General Dental Council in London or the dental council of Ireland so that they can come to the UK and Ireland to see patients interested in travelling to Hungary for low cost dental treatment. Patients can have consultations before they travel so that they can prepare for treatment and ensure treatment is within budget. Some clinics also have dental surgeries in the UK and Ireland with dentists on-site 24/7 in case there is some after-care needed or they may need to deal with a post-operative complication, needing urgent attention.
The Hungarian Government lead by Prime Minister Viktor Orban is considering investing 1billion Hungarian forints into the Industry to promote Hungary as a prime destination for the dental travellers.
Hungary has developed a strong dental infrastructure throughout the country which clearly beats off competition from neighbouring countries trying to get in on the act. Hungary has three very large dental universities with Semmelweis being the oldest which can celebrate over 240 academic years. Students must pass an English entrance exam before being allowed to study.
Viktor Orban Prime Minister and Laszlo Szucs Vice President of Orvosi Turizmus Iroda Zrt signing agreements