Dental patients from all over the world fly to a European city visited by the River Danube… and by millions of tourists, some of a new kind.
Budapest rose to a new-found fame, becoming one of the most visited cities in Central Europe from the 1990s, after major geo-political changes that most of the readers will remember.
Among the travelers coming to Budapest, many wanted to experience affordable, yet quality European holidays. The architectural marvels of the city certainly contributed to make it famous.
Without getting into past wars, present politics or religious challenges within the European Union, one can easily understand the appeal of Budapest. Even those tourists who have been to many places in the world just passing by will stand amazed at what was hand-built centuries ago. But apart from the sights there is one more attraction of Budapest which is high quality dental care at affordable rates. So many people go to Hungary from England for dental care, that it is likely you also have someone in the circle of your friends or relatives who got their teeth fixed in Budapest.
This attracts thousands of tourists from many countries in Western Europe and even the American continent. In Western Europe, the cost of dental treatments is so high that, unfortunately, patients cannot afford more serious dental treatment at the local dentist. It is no coincidence that many clinics in England, for example, offer patients partial payments options.
More affordable treatments are available with NHS-support, but waiting times are usually very long and treatment is slow. NHS-funded treatments are usually emergency treatments, fillings, root canal treatments, crowns and bridges. These treatments are typically medically justified for good oral health. The NHS does not provide or support dental treatment for aesthetic purposes. In NHS-supported treatments, clinics often ask the patient for the full cost of the treatment upfront, but almost everywhere a certain deposit must be paid in advance.
As you get older, you lose your teeth and the most up-to-date tooth replacement solution is the implant. This treatment is not supported by the NHS and private dental clinics offer this treatment at so high prices to their patients, that this type of care is almost inaccessible to ordinary people in England.
Dental tourism patients usually come to Budapest for cosmetic dentistry or implant treatment
Dental treatments for cosmetic purposes
If you are unhappy with your smile because the alignment, shape or color of your teeth is not aesthetic, there are several ways to help. There are also invasive or less invasive solutions.
Treatment with orthodontics requires a very lengthy process that takes years and requires medical attention every 6-8 weeks in Budapest. Thus, this type of treatment only pays off for dental tourists who regularly come to Budapest for other reasons.
Veneers – If you only need a minor intervention because the front teeth are healthy, you only need to repair a little chipped tooth or improve the shape of the tooth, then veneers are recommended. During these treatments, the dentist removes a few tens of millimeters of the surface of the front teeth and glues the veneer to this polished area. The veneers provide a very aesthetic effect that is very similar to the color and shape of the original teeth. High quality veneers are available in zirconium or E-max (full ceramic). Zirconium and E-max veneers are priced similarly. They are usually available at 250GBP/piece in Budapest. Because dental lab work is required to make the veneers, it usually takes 5 business days to make 10-16 pieces of them for a smile makeover in Budapest. It is good to know that once we have put a veneer on the teeth, they will always be needed because the enamel has been removed. With adequate oral hygiene veneers should normally be replaced after a period of 8 to 13 years.
Crowns – In case your front teeth have a more serious problem, such as fillings or teeth that stick out or broken, then only crowns will be able to help. There are several types of crowns available in Budapest. Porcelain fused to metal crowns are the cheapest ones available of 150GBP. These are very durable but usually not recommended for front teeth because they are the least similar to real teeth. We can achieve a very beautiful, natural effect with zirconium or full ceramic crowns. Zirconium crown prices start at 250GBP and full porcelain crowns are available at 300GBP. When preparing crowns, not only the front but also the entire tooth surface is filed down by the doctor. You lose 30% of the tooth material because the crown covers the whole tooth as a cap. If you would like to have a crown on your front teeth to improve your smile, it usually takes to prepare 8-12 crowns in 5 business days. With proper oral hygiene, the crowns’ lifespan is around 10 to 15 years. For teeth that already have a crown, you cannot put a veneer on it later, just a crown again.
Restorative tooth replacement with implants
Until a few decades ago, dental restoration for missing teeth was only possible with bridges. When bridges are used, healthy teeth next to teeth gap should be filed down, as they serve as pillars for the bridge. In addition, bridges can be used for up to three or possibly four adjacent tooth deficiencies, but not for longer tooth gap. Implants can be used to treat tooth deficiency of any size in a way that healthy teeth that are adjacent to missing teeth are not filed down by a dentist. There are several possible applications for implants, let us see the most common ones. Dental treatments where an implant is used require 2 visits in Budapest. The first visit, when the implant is inserted takes two working days, and this period is independent of the number of implants to be placed. The length of second visit depends on the number of crowns fitted on implants.
Individual implant to replace one missing tooth – In this case, the dentist will insert a screw/dental implant into the jaw. A 3-6 month healing time is required for proper ossification. After this period, the jaw bone grows around the implant and it gets so stable like real tooth roots. After the healing time has passed, the dentist inserts an abutment into the implant and fits a crown on the abutment. The second visit, when the crown is made, usually take 4 business days. The cost of a tooth replacement with a single implant + abutment + crown is available from 750GBP in Budapest excluding flight and accommodation costs.
Implant retained bridge – This solution is formulated by your dentist if there are at least 3 missing teeth next to each other. In this case, during the first visit, the doctor inserts one implant at each end of the tooth deficiency. After the healing time, in the second visit, which is 5 working days, the bridge is completed and placed on the implants. A 3 unit implant retained bridge with two implants (to cover a 3 tooth gap) is available as of 1,700GBP in Hungary. It is possible to make a 4 unit bridge, as well. If you need a longer bridge, then in the middle of the gap one more screw is placed in order to serve as an additional pillar for stability.
All-on-4 or All-on-6 full arch restoration – Full arch restorations are applied with “All-on” procedures. This method is used in case you just have a few damaged teeth in the arch or have no teeth at all. Damaged teeth are extracted if need be. If the dentist applies this procedure, then 4 or 6 screws are placed in the jaw over the first visit. After the healing time is over you will have a complete denture placed on the implants. This is a fixed solution, this denture can not be removed from the mouth by you, only by the dentist. The second visit, which is for preparing the denture is 5-7 workdays in Budapest. The All-on-4 is a budget solution as it does not take sinus lift or bone grafting. It is available around 3,700GBP for one jaw in Budapest.
The All-on-6 is a bit more expensive as it takes 6 implant screws and sinus lift or bone grafting might be necessary in the molar region. However, this provides a more stable solution as the denture is supported by 6 implants. The All-on-6 costs around 5,400GBP in Budapest.
“All-on” solutions are very similar to natural teeth. They provide confident chewing, smiling and perfect taste perception. It also improves the aesthetics as a complete set of teeth in the mouth also rejuvenates the appearance of the face.
How much can you save on dental care in Budapest?
Well, as you can see, dental prices are very competitive in Budapest compared to your home dentist. On average, you can save up to 50-70% on dental costs in Hungary excluding flight and accommodation costs. Prices vary in Budapest clinic by clinic, and the cost of your dental care will also depend on materials and guarantee periods. The general rule is, that the more extensive dental care you need, the more you will save in Hungary. But prices are so much attractive in Budapest, that English people fly over to Budapest even for one tooth implant treatment.
Getting to Budapest for dental care
As Budapest is in the heart of Europe, you can easily reach it from any European city by cheap flights. There is also a direct flight from Manchester to Budapest. Budapest Airport is only a 25-minute drive from the city center, so door-to-door travel from England is no more than a few hours. The Hungarian clinics specializing in dental tourism are located in the heart of Budapest, so it is worth booking accommodation in the city, because you will be close to the clinic and the sights of Budapest.
Budapest general prices are much lower than Western European prices. So, it is not only dental treatment is much cheaper there, but also accommodation, food, transport… etc. So, if you decide to have your teeth treated in Hungary, the other costs besides dental costs will not be significant and can be well planned. Everyone in Budapest speaks English, so you don’t have to be afraid of communication difficulties.
Some reasons for dental tourisms in Hungary
There are many reasons for dental tourism in Hungary. The first and most important reason is the very favorable prices. The prices are very competitive, and the quality of treatment is very high. In Hungary, dentist education is very advanced, with 30% of dental students are from abroad. In addition to good prices and high quality, fast treatment times are attractive. While at a local dentist you can receive treatment for weeks or months, in Hungary the same treatment can be completed within a few days. Dental tourism, as its name implies, can be combined with vacation. Since each appointment is no longer than 1.5-2.5h, there is plenty of time for a dental tourist to spend on exploring the city. And Budapest has plenty of attractions, spas, museums and food specialties. Since Hungary is a small country and Budapest is in the middle of the country, all the sights of the country can be reached in 1-2 hours by car for those who have already discovered Budapest.
Some ‘good-to-knows’ if you are in Hungary for fixing your teeth
Clinics, specialized in treatment of foreign patients, provide you with extra services in addition to dental care like, hotel booking and shuttle services.
If your treatment is not urgent, then you can schedule your travel to low tourism seasons, for example in winter after Christmas, when flight and hotel rates are lower. If you can book flights and hotel months in advance, prices are lower any time.
If you need an extensive care, you are likely to receive additional discounts from the clinic.