87% of our dental patients travel from abroad for their treatment with us. Since 2005 we have provided dental treatment plans over the phone and via email explaining the treatment options in detail before our patients step foot on the plane. In the case of dental implants we usually ask for dental photographs along with a panoramic X-Ray. In 95% of cases where we have seen an X-Ray, we can provide an accurate treatment plan which is not amended once a patient arrives at our dental clinic.
In cases where a patient is unable to send photographs or an X-Ray we discuss the number of missing teeth and ask a number of other questions to determine the oral health of the patient. In these cases we are always careful about the information we provide. In the case of Dental Implants we are able to make a general plan but we always inform our patients that it may change once they arrive and it will depend on their bone density, the position of the sinus pockets and the condition of their gums amongst other things.
Over the years patients have asked us if we provide a London or UK consultation at a partner clinic before they travel for treatment. In the early years it did not seem feasible but in recent years we have given it some serious thought and came to a number of conclusions which are in detail below.
The clinics offering the UK consultation are advertising it as ‘Free’. There may not be a direct charge for the consultation but the costs are simply charged elsewhere. Think about it… The reason why patients travel abroad is to save money. They are able to do so as the overheads and the staffing costs are much lower abroad. Once you open a clinic in the UK you have a lot of adittional costs therefore the prices for the treatment abroad are much higher to cover these costs. The consultation is not free at all. You only have to compare prices online and you will notice the difference in treatment prices where clinics offer a Free UK consultation.
We work with 26 dentists across 6 clinics. If you send the same patient X-Ray to two different dentists they will often have a difference in opinion when it comes to the treatment plan. Every dentist has their own technique and different ways of solving dental problems. Is it right that a dentist in the UK informs the dentist abroad what treatment to carryout? In my opinion it is not. Each dentist has earned their title and their right to assertain their patients treatment plan.
Most of the clinic offering the free consultation are only offering it in one country and specifically in one location. In most cases London. By the time you travelled from let’s say Middlesbrough to London which is over a 9 hour return journey you could of caught a flight to the clinic abroad and spoken to the dentist who will be completing your dental treatment. This is also not feasible for patients living in Irelandy, The Netherlands, France and all the other countries where patients frequently fly overseas for dental treatment.
It is important that the patient is able to see the dental clinic, staff and the technology where they will be having their dental treatment. It does not prevent any anxiety for the patient until they actually see the clinic where they will be having their treatment carried out.
We provide a questionnaire to all of our dental patients following their treatment and in 2013 we asked the following question: Do you see any benefit to us having a clinic in the UK for the purpose of patient consultations? Please answer Yes or No:
91% Said No.
After considering our thoughts and asking our patients, we have ruled out a partnership clinic in the UK for the purpose of consultations. We think the right decision is for our patients to visit our clinic and speak to the dentist who will be completing their treatment. This also allows us to keep our prices as low as possible without compromising on the quality of treatment.