Cosmetic dental work can get very expensive in the US. To make treatment more affordable, you might consider visiting a dentist in Hungary for dental implants, veneers, crowns and other work. Patients can typically save a huge 50-75% by doing this.
Of course, there are many things to consider before you commit to traveling overseas:
- Finding a reputable dental clinic
- Calculating the overall cost of your trip
- Comparing it to the cost of treatment at home
- Knowing what to expect while you're there
- Understanding the treatment plan
- Planning for aftercare and complications
We hope that this article will give you all the information you need to be able to decide whether to go ahead with dental treatment in Hungary.
Table of contents
- 1 What is dental tourism?
- 2 Why visit a dentist in Hungary?
- 3 Hungary dental prices
- 4 Getting dental implants in Hungary
- 5 Finding the right dentist for you
What is dental tourism?
Dental tourism is simply the practice of traveling overseas to receive dental treatment. It has become a popular route for Americans thanks to the high-quality and relatively cheap dental treatment available in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Spain, and Thailand.
It's hard to know exactly how many tourists travel abroad each year for dental treatment since there is no obligation for patients or dentists to disclose this. However, some estimates put the number at 60-70,000 patients annually, with almost half of these heading to Hungary for their treatment. Dental implants and oral surgery are the most common treatments for Americans to have overseas.
And Hungarian dentists don't just cater to visitors from the US; many patients travel from nearby countries like France, the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy as well.
Patients from Germany and Austria started crossing the border to Hungary for cheaper dental care back in the 1980s. This led to ‘dental towns' such as Mosonmagyaróvár, which has 160 dental surgeries but a population of just 32,000. As low-cost airlines emerged, patients were able to travel cheaply from further afield, as the video below explains. More dental surgeries gradually opened in Budapest to offer greater convenience to air travelers.
In this article we will focus specifically on dental tourism in Hungary. You'll discover the cost of dental implants and veneers, the reason Hungary has such a good reputation for dentistry, and the kinds of facilities you can expect to find there. Our full article on dental tourism contains more information about other countries you may consider for your treatment.
Why visit a dentist in Hungary?
Reasons why people travel to Hungary for dental treatment include:
- Price: Probably the main reason why people get cosmetic dentistry in Hungary is the money they save when compared to private treatment in the US – especially for dental implants and veneers which can cost thousands of pounds.
- Training and qualifications: Dentists in Hungary undergo extensive training and are well regulated.
- State-of-the-art equipment: Many clinics in Hungary have invested heavily in the latest technology to make dental treatments as effective, quick and comfortable as possible.
- Speed of treatment: Rather than wait months for treatment in their home country, patients may receive dental treatment in Hungary in a matter of days.
- Excellent facilities: There is a strong emphasis on customer care and making the experience a pleasant one, with some clinics offering spa-like facilities for patients to use during their stay.
- Sightseeing: If you're travelling overseas you may as well be somewhere picturesque, and Budapest and many of the surrounding areas have much to offer in terms of sightseeing and recreation.
Education and regulation of Hungarian dentists
Hungary's oldest medical school, Semmelweis University, was founded in 1769 and has the country's largest intake of dental students each year. Nestled in the heart of Budapest, it offers dental training in Hungarian, English and German. Around one third of graduates each year are foreigners – a testament to the quality of its education. On completion of training, graduates are awarded a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) degree.
Dentists who wish to become qualified in a specialist field such as orthodontics, periodontology or prosthetic dentistry must first complete 36 months of work as an employee at a professional practice. They may then return to university to complete a postgraduate course.
As a member of the EU, all dentists practicing in Hungary must conform to EU standards. In addition, they must register with the Ministry of Health, which grants a certificate to those who can demonstrate a certain standard of operation. To keep this licence a dentist must stay educated on current standards by regularly attending seminars, lectures, etc.
Many Hungarian dentists are also registered with the Hungarian Medical Chamber (Magyar Orvosi Kamara – MOK). Although voluntary, this accreditation is a sign of prestige which is why so many dentists strive to achieve it by meeting rigorous criteria. This membership is something to look out for in your search for a dentist in Hungary.
Clinics in Hungary are not subject to continuous monitoring, but it's assumed that a dentist who has reached a certain standard will care about how his or her clinic operates. You can select one which is ISO 9001 accredited if you want that extra peace of mind when having cosmetic dentistry in Hungary.
A lot of Hungary's best dental clinics are clustered in the historic capital, Budapest. Many clinics offer an airport pickup service so you needn't worry about finding your way in a taxi.
Clinics in locations away from the capital will take a little longer to reach, but again you should have no problem getting assistance with your journey. You may well find that prices are even lower in more remote areas.
Flights take around 9 hours (from New York), and cost upwards from $2,000. A straightforward consultation or treatment can be completed in a single day, leaving lots of time for the rest of your trip. For more complex treatments such as dental implants you'll probably need to stay a few nights near the clinic and possibly make several visits.
Some clinics provide their own accommodation, but even if yours doesn't, there are accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. 3-star hotel rooms in Budapest start from around $30 per night.
It's well worth giving yourself time to do some sightseeing too, especially if you're staying in Budapest. Up until 1872 the cities of Buda and Pest, divided by the Danube river, were separate. Although now united they each maintain their own individual character, with hilly Buda home to a castle which offers spectacular views over the river and the rest of the city.
A walking tour will give you a taste of the city, but you'll need a few days to explore it at your own pace. Some clinics even provide their own tours and tourism programs which you can fit in around your treatment. Drop into one of the thermal spas, for which Hungary is famous, for a little relaxation pre- or post-treatment.
Hungary dental prices
The following table provides a comparison of dental implant prices in Hungary vs. the US. You can see that, even taking into account accommodation, the cost of dental implants and veneers in Hungary is significantly less than in the US. The more treatment you have, the greater the potential savings.
Of course, prices for veneers and dental implants in Hungary vary from one clinic to the next. These are a rough guide only, and you should shop around to find a price and clinic you're happy with.
Why is it cheaper?
You might assume that lower prices are a result of lower standards of care and outdated equipment. If anything, the opposite is true; many dental clinics in Hungary are kitted out with state-of-the art equipment and offer a level of care which far outweighs that of many US clinics.
It is, in fact, business overheads which largely determine the cost of treatment. Renting a business premises in Budapest is not as expensive as in New York, for example. Things like utilities, salaries and maintenance are all cheaper as well.
These savings quickly add up and mean dentists can offer their services at a comparatively low price. With larger profit margins, they can also invest more in equipment and facilities to improve the experience of their patients.
The dental tourism boom itself has also helped to keep prices down and standards up. As more and more dentists open their doors to patients from countries like the US, the UK, France and Germany, they are constantly competing with one another to offer the best service possible.
Do keep in mind that not all dentists in Hungary will have made this investment in technology, training and facilities. This means you shouldn't just go for the cheapest treatment you can find. Do your own research by checking online for Hungary dental tourism reviews and asking plenty of questions to ensure your chosen clinic offers the standard of care you need.
Getting dental implants in Hungary
Once you have found a clinic you're happy with you'll need to have a consultation. This is essential for planning your treatment, calculating the exact cost, and ensuring you're comfortable with everything.
Your clinic may refer you to a dentist in the UK for this, or they may conduct a consultation at your first visit. Consultations are often provided free of charge, and some clinics may go as far as to provide free airport transfers and even reimburse the cost of your flights if you go ahead with the proposed treatment.
The duration and number of visits required will depend on the type of implants you have.
The implant procedure
Traditional implants are fitted in stages. First, the implant itself is inserted into the jaw bone and the gum tissue is stitched back over the site. It takes four to six months for this to settle and fuse with the bone.
At the next visit, the abutment is installed and you may be given a temporary crown to cover it. Around two weeks later it's time to measure your mouth so the implant crown or bridge can be made to fit just right. The manufacturing usually takes a few days.
The complete procedure requires three or four visits spread over several months.
All-on-4 implants or ‘teeth in a day'
All-on-4 implants can be fitted in a single day, making them a popular choice for patients getting teeth implants in Hungary. Since they only require four implants in the lower jaw and 6 in the upper, they also work out cheaper than a full mouth of traditional implants.
Patients may still be advised to stay for a few days so the dentist can monitor progress, but there is no need for multiple trips.
You can read about the dental implant process in much more detail in our complete guide to dental implants.
Finding the right dentist for you
The choice of dentists in Hungary can be a little overwhelming when you first start to consider your options. You can book with clinics directly but there are also plenty of agencies who partner with certain clinics and can organize everything for you.
Some people like the peace of mind that comes with having everything done for them, whereas others prefer to deal with the clinic directly to get a feel for how they work and what their service is like.
It's also a good idea to visit your usual dentist for advice before you commit to any treatment overseas. He or she will be able to identify any underlying oral health problems which may prevent you from having dental implants or other treatment abroad.
Hungary dentist checklist
As you do your research to find the best dentist in Hungary for your needs, here are some questions to ask to ensure you have all bases covered:
- How do they provide their consultations?
- At what point will you be given a fixed price for your treatment?
- What is included in the cost and what will you need to pay extra for?
- Are you happy with the level of English they speak?
- How are they accredited?
- What care will they provide while you are recovering?
- What aftercare will you need to arrange when you get back home?
- Do they provide any insurance and/or guarantees?
- What happens if you experience complications after returning home?
Hungary dentist reviews
We'd also recommend you seek out some Hungary dentist reviews – either from friends and family or online forums – to help you make up your mind. Why not start with our article featuring reviews of dental work in Hungary? If you're considering a particular clinic or dentist, it shouldn't be too hard to find some honest reviews of their work with the help of your favorite search engine.
Of course, as with anything, you will find some horror stories and some glowing reviews. Take your time to get an accurate picture of a place rather than reacting on the first review you find.
Many people create YouTube videos to document their experiences with dental treatment in Hungary.
One such person is David Miller. Having just retired, he couldn't afford the £5,000 ($6,500) implant treatment that his local dentist recommended. This led him to look at treatment abroad, and he settled on a Hungarian dentist who worked in both Hungary and London.
He was able to meet the dentist in London for a consultation and quotation, but he then traveled to Budapest for the treatment itself. Before committing to anything, he checked the quality of the implants and found they were a top quality German brand.
The flight cost £50 ($65) – the same as a return taxi trip to his dentist – and the overall cost was much lower than the £5,000 ($6,500) he was originally quoted. Having had implants in Italy, Scandinavia and London previously, he was in a good position to comment on the excellent quality of the treatment he received in Budapest.
If you ultimately decide that getting dental implants in Hungary isn't the right choice for you, there may still be other ways you can save on dental implants in the US.
Other locations for dental tourism
It's not just Hungary where Americans can get cheap but high-quality dental work in Europe.
Nearby Poland also has an excellent reputation for dental training and standards, with a similarly well established dental tourism industry. It's estimated that over 100,000 people a year visit the country for dentistry alone. The cities of Warsaw, Gdansk and Krakow all have plenty of modern dental clinics to choose from, as well as offering some interesting sightseeing – particularly for fans of history.
For those who prefer a more Mediterranean climate, Spain is a good choice. In fact, it's the second most popular destination for tourists getting dental work in Europe, behind Hungary. Spain has a long-established reputation for top notch dentistry at low prices compared to the US.
While saving money on your dental treatment you can enjoy a city break in Barcelona or Madrid, or soak up the sun in one of Spain's many coastal resorts. Read more about getting dental implants or other treatment in Spain here.
If you aren’t willing to travel so far for dental work, there are several dental tourism hubs closer to home. Be sure to check out our articles on dental tourism in Mexico, Thailand and the Philippines.
And don't forget to complete this form and get a free quote for your dental treatment abroad.