Dentists get their teeth into globalisation

Cosmetic dentists want us to stop getting our teeth done in Europe. But then they would, wouldn't they?

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry has launched an impassioned appeal against ‘dental holidays’, the increasingly common practice of UK citizens heading across the Channel to find a cheap dentist. The trade body has seized upon a study by Which that suggested these holidays pose ‘serious risks’, and concluded that the safest bet is – you guessed it – to stay at home and have the work done by a qualified British dentist instead.

The problem with this pernicious trend, according to the BACD, is that on the Continent any old dentist can offer cosmetic dentistry – whereas in fact all that tooth-whitening and stuff needs years of dedicated extra training. Apparently. What’s more, if you’re only there for a week the dentist will have to rush everything through – rather than space the treatment out over several visits (which has the additional advantage of allowing them to charge for more consultations, of course). ‘The public needs to be careful before taking these so called ‘holidays’,’ says BACD director Tif Qureshi. ‘They may be cheap, but at the risk of damaging your mouth and smile’.

In fact, sniffs the BACD, their members frequently see patients return from their dental holidays looking like they’ve been ten rounds with Joe Calzaghe. Problems range from ‘their bite to discrepancies in colour,’ according to BACD boffin Bertie Napier (told you that tooth-whitening thing was harder than it looks).

Of course, what the BACD appears to ignore is that these dental holidays are a market-driven development. If it was actually possible to get a dentist appointment in the UK within a six month period, without having to sell a kidney for the privilege (our editor is still moaning about the £70 he paid for a scrape and polish on Monday), people wouldn’t need to bother trekking over to Warsaw to have their front teeth capped.

And although you’d never guess it from listening to the BACD, it’s not the case that all these dentists are incompetent charlatans. Lots of people return from Prague or Budapest with a smile like Julia Roberts – so clearly some are equally if not more competent than their UK counterparts.

Even cosmetic dentists have to realise that globalisation means global competition. It’s time they stopped mouthing off and got their teeth stuck into it.

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