Even as an adult I long to believe in fairies, especially the toothfairy (yes, that same toothfairy I have played on numerous occasions in the past few years.) 😉
If I’ve just lost a milk tooth will the toothfairy come and bring me money to replace it? Don’t you think I would so deserve a toothfairy visit even at the age of 40 for having kept the tooth for 34 years longer than nature intended?
You see, due to weird anatomical anomaly two permanent teeth in my lower jaw never developed and appeared when I was a child. Instead, I had two milk teeth that didn’t get pushed out by permanent teeth. They were sticking with me a bit longer.
One milk tooth was decayed (what can I say, I liked sugary cereals, especially Coco pops, a LOT!). The tooth was pulled when I was about 11.
The dentist assured me that the new one would come soon, so it made more sense to pull it than fill it. It never came! Instead I had to have braces as my teeth started wandering into the space left by the missing tooth.
The milk tooth on other side was lovingly filled by another dentist. He put in a ceramic inlay, when I was 15, saying it would last about 10 years and need replacing. We were living in Hungary at the time and I had it done there. Credit to the orthodontist’s skills the inlay lasted 25 years.
Unfortunately, the milk tooth developed a cavity in the past months, not helped by my struggle to have a toothbrush in my mouth without gagging ever since my last pregnancy. (If anyone has any suggestions on how to overcome this reflex I would be grateful for the advice.)
Then a caramel gave the last stab: there was a crunch as I chewed the softening sweet. I looked in the mirror and a large chunk of the tooth was missing. Ironically, the ceramic inlay still held in the tooth strong.
Consulting my dentist, he suggested probably the best option for replacing a single tooth is an implant. As my teeth, hopefully, have to give me at least another 40 years of service and it’s not worth sacrificing any others for a bridge.
Then he told me the cost and I had sharp intake of breathe on hearing it.
OUCH!!! That’ll hurt even more than pulling the damaged tooth!
As we were over in the Netherlands a week later I asked the dentist, where the in-laws go about the procedure and the costs. He quoted 1,800 Euros…That already sounded a little better.
Then I did a bit of research and realised dental tourism might be the answer to this pricey problem.
Hungary came up as a top destination for dental tourism, with standards of training, hygiene and customer service rated highly. My research tells me they have an abundance of highly-qualified orthodontists and the competition makes the prices very competitive without compromising the quality.
“Yes, but what about aftercare?” – you may ask.
The first thing my local dentist warned me about: we won’t touch the implant unless you have it done with us!
Nice!- I thought to myself- that sort of threats never work with me.
Digging around further I found that some practices have duo bases: a main location in Hungary and one in the UK. They offer a service where the patient can have the major work done in Hungary and get all the pre- and post-op work done here (mostly in London). With some, you can even have all the work done in the UK, so you don’t need to take more time off work than absolutely needed.
As I was due to be in London one Saturday I booked myself in for a pre-op consult and asked for them to pull the broken milk tooth while there.
On arrival, I was really pleasantly surprised by the facilities of the dental practice: it was central London based and was better equipped than my local practice in Oxford.
I was seen promptly. The doctor and assistant spoke excellent English.
We got to the point and first I had a full mouth X-Ray in this super modern machine, which whizzed around my head in a matter of seconds to create a full panoramic X-Ray of my teeth.
Supported by the X Rays the doctor assessed my teeth and created a multi-tier care plan broken down to minor fillings, repairs suggested to other teeth and the implant. They gave me the costs both for having the work done here in London, which would involve 4 trip to the dentist in London or in Budapest.
Choosing treatment in Budapest would involve two trips over: a long weekend and a 3-4 day trip. Heck, I could cope with that: some oral surgery speckled with thermal bath visits, massages, cafés and sightseeing!
The outline plan gave me a schedule of 4 visits.
Visit 1:dental hygiene session is to be carried out in London a couple of days before my trip to Budapest;
Visit 2: the implant surgery: I will need to stay about 2 nights in Budapest for this;
Visit 3: implant uncovered and fitting of healing screw is to be carried out in London. Healing screw will need to stay in the implant for at least one week, ideally two weeks, so this will have to be done before my second trip to Budapest.
Visit 4: preparation and final fitting of a single porcelain crown in Budapest, for which I will need to stay about 3-4 nights.
The cost: London £1350 while Budapest £900.
So including travel and accommodation the two roughly equal out and I still save £700 compared to having it done by my local dentist.
During my visit to the London surgery the dentist pulled my damaged milk tooth. His skills couldn’t be faulted and gave me the confidence to carry on under his treatment.
I have a flight booked for Budapest next week.
Dental tourism here I come… with some pampering thrown in 😉
In the meantime, I keep checking under my pillow whether the toothfairy has been and left a large deposit towards my dental fees.
That would be fair, wouldn’t it?