200 thousand abroad for their teeth: Albania at the top, but then one in three has to undergo treatment

Albania, with around 50 thousand Italians every year, is the most popular destination for dental tourism, followed by Croatia, Romania and Turkey, but in at least one in three cases upon returning to Italy it is necessary to intervene again to remedy dental errors or adverse events appearing after 3-6 months. In 60% of cases these are serious problems, such as infections, abscesses or difficulty chewing, which cause prostheses and implants to fail and cause treatment costs to soar, nullifying the initial savings. The experts raised the alarm at the Congress of the Italian Society of Periodontology and Implantology in Rimini dedicated precisely to the quality of care, which in Italy is among the best in the world.

The most popular destinations and the most recurring interventions

Fixed and mobile prosthetic reconstruction, implants and complex treatments, all concentrated in 10 days. Lured by advertising on social media and by low costs, even three times lower than in Italy, but also by the incredible speed of interventions, every year around 200,000 Italians pack their bags to go to Albania, Croatia, Romania, Turkey or other countries to take care of your teeth. An increasing trend, according to data from the Compass Observatory report on dental tourism, according to which 36% of Italians would be willing to go beyond the border for prosthetics, implants and periodontal therapies, but unfortunately in 1 case out of 3 problems appear upon return that make a new intervention is necessary, nullifying the savings and treatments. To reduce risks, and also costs, we need early diagnoses, precise protocols and quality therapies available in Italy, which according to the international ranking ranks in the top ten of the countries with the best experts in periodontal therapies.

Albania is the preferred destination, experts warn

According to the experts of Italian Society of Periodontology and Implantology (Sidp) our country is in the top ten of the best in the world for periodontal treatments and expertise on gum disease, according to the analysis of scientific publications of the last ten years. But many Italians, driven by the desire to save, are increasingly going abroad, with Albania as their favorite destination. «Dental tourism is a phenomenon that unfortunately shows no signs of disappearing, on the contrary – he observes Francis Cairo, president of SIdp and professor of periodontology at the University of Florence –. Some time ago even the Italian Embassy in Tirana had to issue a note to remind our compatriots to be cautious when going to private Albanian clinics for dental care, because these almost always do not meet satisfactory quality standards. The costs are lower, even three times lower, so many Italians go abroad to save on dental treatments, but there is no shortage of risks: poor quality materials, inadequately safe dental practices, shortages of medicines can affect the final result, exposing oneself to dangers such as abscesses, infections, chewing difficulties which must then be resolved upon returning to Italy.

The main risks and costs that explode when returning to Italy

Abroad, recovery times and post-operative checks are often cut: «Hasty methods – Cairo points out – involve the insertion of implants in greater numbers than are useful because it is taken for granted that some might not work. Furthermore, prostheses are often compressive of the mucous membranes or imprecise, because the bone and gum tissues are not given biological healing time. Even the visit is limited to sending a x-ray, while the planning of a therapeutic plan requires a thorough anamnesis of the patient for an appropriate knowledge of his clinical conditions”. Yet, according to the data collected by the Compass Observatory, 36% of Italians would be willing to seek treatment abroad and the percentage rises to 77% of those who have already tried the experience. Those who don’t trust fear a mistake or have doubts about the quality of care. «It is right to doubt, because it is estimated that at least one person in three will have some problem upon returning to Italy, with even serious consequences that involve a new operation with costs that can become prohibitive, much higher than if the situation had been managed in a corrected immediately”, adds Cairo

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The alarm also comes from English dentists

The experts of British Dental Association some time ago they interviewed English dentists and discovered that 94% of them had treated patients who had gone abroad for dental treatment: «In 60% of cases the adverse events were serious, for example infections or abscesses had occurred. It is estimated – continues the SIdp president – that there are 20% of cases in which poor or non-compliant materials are used, another 15% of cases in which the prostheses are not functional or are hastily adapted, or perhaps they still work, but the supporting tissues are infected. In fact, we often intervene by placing implants, bridges or crowns without thinking about treating the supporting tissues and without first resolving inflammation, granulomas or other problems. All this compromises oral health, which is instead protected if patients rely on Italian dentists who carry out an early diagnosis, plan treatment in correct and consequential phases, and guarantee the use of quality materials. Adopting the fastest and lowest cost solution is not synonymous with safety, nor with real savings.”

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2024-03-24 08:30:53

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