Icelanders travel abroad for dental care

Numerous Icelanders travel abroad for dental care, mainly to Eastern Europe, Morgunblaðið reports. The reason is that the cost of dental care in those countries is considerably lower than in Iceland.

There are examples of procedures costing only 20 percent of what they cost in Iceland. At least two Polish dental clinics advertise their services in Icelandic on their websites and on social media, and they even offer group tours, including free examination, and discount on air fare and hotel stay, if the cost of service exceeds a certain amount.

Ingvar Jónsson, consultant and CEO, saw a dentist in Gdansk, Poland, last week. His dentist in Iceland had told him that fixing his teeth here could be done for an estimated cost of ISK 800,000 (USD 7,400, EUR 6,400). Ingvar decided to check out other options and got a cost estimate from a dental clinic in Gdansk, after obtaining information about the office. He then flew to Gdansk and had the work done for ISK 160,000 (USD 1,500, EUR 1,300), or roughly 20 percent of what it would have cost him here. On top of that, he paid for his flight and accommodation at a hotel.

When asked what might explain the vast cost difference here and in Eastern Europe, Elín Sigurgeirsdóttir, head of the Icelandic Dental Association, replies that the reasons could be several. Possibly, cheaper material is used for the work, and labor costs are generally lower there than here. She notes that the association has received reports of instances where dental work, done abroad, was inadequate. There have also been examples of more work done than was needed.

She explains that no figures are available about the number of Icelanders seeking dental care abroad, but states those numbers are clearly rising. “This is of course nothing new. Many people traveled to Bulgaria for dental care 20-30 years ago, and at that time, many of our dentists were busy redoing and fixing what had been done.”

According to Dominika Majewska, who works for the Gdansk dental office Euromiladent, more than 100 Icelanders have visited the clinic this year, ten are there now, and at the beginning of next month, 15 have planned a trip there. A group tour to the clinic is planned for October.

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