Thursday 22 February 2018

Journey of a dental tourist

A calm and relaxing atmosphere in the clinic’s waiting room
A calm and relaxing atmosphere in the clinic’s waiting room

Thinking about travelling abroad for dental treatment, but not sure what to expect? Here, Clodagh Dooley shares her experience of a recent trip to Kreativ Dental Clinic in Budapest, Hungary

Recently, there has been a significant rise in the number of Irish people going abroad for dental treatment. And, while sometimes people may be sceptical about whether clinics in different countries really are safe and inexpensive, I was eager to see what the appeal of them is for myself.

On arrival at Dublin Airport, I met with Mary Flanagan, the Irish representative for the Kreativ Dental Clinic in Budapest. Mary travels to Budapest every month with Irish patients for support, which is particularly helpful for first-time visitors who may be nervous about their trip to the clinic. Mary was a past patient at the clinic and having visited an Irish dentist, she was told that getting work done on her teeth would cost up to €60,000! She was advised to visit Kreativ Dental by a retired Irish dentist and she says: “I ended up having eight implants and 26 porcelain crowns fitted at the much lower price-tag of €12,000, plus €400 for my flights and accommodation.”

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Founded by Attila Knott, Kreativ Dental Clinic has been providing full dental care and treatments – such as implants, root canals, and full porcelain crowns – for the last 17 years by oral surgeons and dental specialists. The clinic, which was voted Best Dental Clinic in Europe in 2015 at the International Medical Travel Journal Awards and more recently was named the International Dental Clinic of the Year 2017 by Global Health & Pharma magazine, welcomes thousands of visitors from Ireland, the UK and the rest of Europe each year.

Irish celebrities such as model Claire Tracey, TV presenter Tina Koumarianos and snooker player Ken Doherty have also visited in the past. In the reception area of the clinic, there is a large framed photo of Doherty with owner, Knott. To meet with the high demand of patients visiting, a second clinic called Kreativ Dental 2 was built last year just around the corner from the first clinic – and there is even talk of a third clinic being built.

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First impressions

After a two and a half-hour flight to Budapest, patients meet at a special Kreativ Dental desk at the airport, where they collect their appointment card with the time of the consultation or, for regular visitors, treatment/check-up. A designated driver then brings all patients to their hotel.

There were at least five Irish patients waiting at the desk for their appointment cards. More would have travelled over earlier that day on different flights or at different times, and more will travel over during the week. For one couple, which I meet at the airport, it is their first time over. Both will have a consultation in the morning and they tell me how nervous they are and that it took them a long time to take the plunge and book themselves in.

Some people decide to stay at different hotels in Budapest, but most will stay at Hotel Amadeus, which is approximately a 30-minute drive from the centre of Budapest. The hotel, which has friendly staff and large bedrooms, is a convenient five-minute walk to Kreativ Dental Clinic. It also has its very own special food menu for those who have just had treatment done, such as implants.

When I first entered the clinic, it didn’t feel like a typical dental clinic at all. The main reception floor had a circular aquarium in the middle and surrounding this were relaxing single couches which had tablet computers to keep waiting patients occupied. On the top floor, there is a cosy Sky Café which has views over the local area.

I met the couple I had spoken to at the airport waiting at reception and they were more relaxed. After their OPG X-ray and consultation, they had each been given a treatment plan, which Mary sat down and talked through with them. They were so happy with the service, that they decided to book their next appointment. One striking aspect about the clinic’s dental staff is the lack of pressure they put on you to decide whether to go through with treatment or not – it’s entirely up to you what you want to do. Some people decide there and then to book in their treatment and stay for extra days, others may decide to take it home and think about it.

The staff are honest about the exact treatment you need – I had a consultation and I was told I didn’t need any major work done, however if my wisdom teeth (which are starting to show) caused me more pain, I can consider returning to remove them.

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In good company

After my consultation, I met with Patient Care Manager, Tom Emmerson and Clinic Manager Zoltán Gyurán, who gave me a tour around both clinics. The work that happens in the clinic is phenomenal, not just with patients in the consultation rooms and specialist treatment rooms, but also behind-the-scenes in the on-site laboratories (where technicians and high-tech machines create crowns, dentures and more to exact precision).

A comprehensive consultation and OPG X-ray at home could average at least €80, while at Kreativ Dental it is free. In addition, Kreativ Dental offers a written guarantee on all work, and aftercare is also provided in Ireland. Mary’s role is to advise clients of when and how to secure the best value flights, and she also organises free airport transfers, as well as booking the clinic appointments and hotel accommodation. Treatment costs will depend on a patient’s personal situation and a full breakdown of costs will be provided. However, Mary says patients can make savings of up to 60pc.

If you do decide to book a trip to the clinic, I would advise treating your time in Budapest as a holiday. After your visit to Kreativ Dental, spend at least two or three full days touring the city. Relax at the Széchenyi Baths, see the beautiful Art Nouveau architecture, and take photos of impressive sights such as the Hungarian Parliament Building, Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion. For shopping lovers, the ÁRKÁD Budapest Shopping Centre is approximately a five-minute bus journey from Hotel Amadeus. From the ÁRKÁD, you can take the metro directly to the Hungarian Parliament Building/Kossuth Lajos Square. Let your dental journey begin!

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Accompanied trips to Kreativ Dental Clinic this month are already booked. The next available accompanied trip is on November 20th. For more information or to book, visit kreativdentalclinic.eu or call Mary Flanagan on (01) 805 5526 or (086) 029 9998  

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