Hungary is the birthplace of goulash and the Rubik's cube. It's also one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations. Since the fall of communism, Hungary become a modern and welcoming state with around 14 million visitors annually.
Despite being a small country of around 9 million people, Hungary has built a reputation as the European hub for dental tourism.
Around 100,000 people travel to Hungary for dental care each year.
With more dental clinics per inhabitant than any other country in the world, Hungary has options to suit all budgets and preferences.
Are you considering going abroad to find a dentist? This guide sets out why Hungary is one of the most attractive destinations for quality and affordable dentistry.[toc]
Why is Hungary a leader in dental tourism?
Hungary is a landlocked country in central Europe which shares a border with 7 different nations. As a member of the European Union since 2004, travel to and from Hungary is relatively straightforward for European citizens, with links by air and rail to all major cities across the region.
Many dental tourists in Hungary travel from neighbouring Austria or from south-east Germany, but the vast majority are from the United Kingdom.
Hungary is also growing in popularity with French-speaking dental patients as more budget airline routes open up between Hungary and France, Belgium and Switzerland. An increasing number of people from Scandinavia are visiting Hungary for dentistry.
There are a great deal more patients now traveling to Hungary from the United States. With the cost of dentistry so high back home, US patients are choosing Hungary for dental care and combining their treatment with a European vacation.
The capital city Budapest is one of Europe’s leading tourist destinations. Around 70% of visitors to Hungary choose to spend their stay here.
Budapest airport sees nearly 12 million passengers every year, with direct flights to all major European cities as well as Dubai, Beijing, Cairo and Doha.
From the spring of 2018 two new direct routes will operate from the United States, to Chicago O’Hare and New York JFK airports.
Hungary has the highest level of VAT in Europe at 27%, but dental procedures are excluded. As a result Hungarian clinics can offer prices which are significantly lower than elsewhere in Europe, with average savings of 40-50% compared to the United Kingdom.
Since the privatisation of dental care in the 1990s the Hungarian government has supported the growth of dental tourism, providing increased funding for clinics which aim to attract international patients and subsidising the cost of training for Hungarian dentists.
While the average cost of university and training fees for a dentist in the United States is $300,000, a dentist in Hungary can expect to pay only $60,000 before they can begin to practice. This allows private dentists to offer low prices to their patients without risking their business financially.
EU citizens are also able to claim back the cost of planned medical treatment from their home state.
Despite its popularity with tourists, Hungary remains an affordable place to visit. Compared to London, restaurant prices are around 60% lower in Budapest, while a taxi ride across town is 80% cheaper.
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Investment from the Hungarian government and the European Union has not only reduced costs for patients, it has also boosted the standard of dentistry in the country.
Universities in Hungary provide dental training in Hungarian, English and German, with many courses offering work placements at clinics in the UK, Ireland or Germany.
With international training and experience, dentists in Hungary are able to provide high-quality dental care which is on par with the rest of Europe.
As a leading destination for dental tourism since the mid-1990s, Hungary is able to offer a level of expertise and experience that other nations cannot compete with.
The subsidising of training and practice also means clinics can afford the best possible dental equipment for their practice.
The majority of dental clinics in Hungary are modern and well-equipped with the latest technology. International standards of safety and quality such as ISO 9001 also apply to Hungarian dental clinics.
The Hungarian Dental Tourism Development Programme has so far provided support to nearly 150 dental clinics.
Finding a dental clinic in Hungary
With so much choice in Hungary when it comes to dentists and clinics, it might not seem clear where to begin.
All budgets and preferences are catered for in Hungary, whether you want to find the dentist with the most experience or simply the clinic with the lowest prices.
Many dental treatments last a lifetime, so research and careful consideration are incredibly important when choosing a clinic.
Here are some of the things you should look out for, as well as some questions you need to ask:
Your relationship with the dentist is very important. They need to be able to understand exactly what you expect, and you need to feel comfortable in their presence in order to express your preferences and treatment goals.
Many clinics allow you to have an online consultation prior to booking treatment, but you can learn a lot by researching the dentist’s background.
- How many years has the dentist been practicing?
- Has the dentist trained or worked abroad?
- Does the dentist speak your language?
Free clinic services
Dental clinics in Hungary treat people from around the world, and as a result many of them offer a number of free services. Services you might find useful include:
- Airport transfers
- Assistance with flights and accommodation
- Translation of medical documents
- Package deals or discounts for international patients
- Discounts at partner hotels
Most clinics will be able to offer at least one of these services. You may wish to arrange the logistics of the trip yourself or request assistance, depending on your budget and travel preferences.
Questions you might want to ask about the clinic include:
- When was it established?
- Which languages do the staff speak?
- Do they have a partnership with a local university or dentistry school?
- Do they offer aftercare/check ups?
- How many international patients do they treat each year?
Reviews from previous patients are often the most honest and accurate description of a clinic.
They can give you an idea of how the clinic operates, how their staff deal with foreign patients and how good the overall patient experience is.
The more detailed a review is, the more useful it will be.
Here are a selection of reviews left by MEDIGO patients for Hungarian dental clinics:
“Communication was good. The place was clean and the dentist professional. His staff were also very helpful and pleasant. I went for an appointment at 11, was taken to a different site for X Ray and then had the post fitted. By 12.45 I was at my accommodation with ice pack, painkillers and antibiotics. I returned the next day for the dentist to check that everything was ok. Everything was explained to me and I found the dentist personable and helpful. I will be returning in the future for two crowns.”
Rachel from France visited Fogasz Kft in Budapest
“Instead of having implants done I ended up having other treatment (sinus lifting, bone drafting & membraine lyoplant treatment) which is going to raise total cost of my treatment considerably higher than I anticipated. Clinic is really nice, clean, with modern equipment. Clinic is based near railway stations, bus and tram stops near large shopping centre. Staff including surgeons spoke English were very understanding, clear, and were very friendly.”
Shila from the UK visited MDental Clinic in Budapest
“I just want to pass on my thanks to everyone at Poncz Dental. Friendly staff and professional clinic that keeps the patient’s needs in mind. The overall experience has reduced my fear of dental work.”
Laura from the UK visited Poncz Dental in Budapest
Procedures and prices
As previously mentioned, the vast majority of dental tourists are attracted to Hungary by the cost savings on offer.
Prices are lower in comparison to the rest of Europe and the United States, but they still represent a significant outlay.
The cost of dental care in Hungary varies depending on the procedure, the reputation of clinic and dentist, the type of material used, and any additional treatments needed to supplement the initial procedure.
Here are some of the most popular dental procedures in Hungary:
With an average cost of around €940 at Hungarian clinics, dental implants are considerably more affordable than in the UK or the US, with average savings of 45% in comparison.
Dental implants are designed to replace missing or damaged teeth. They are designed to last a lifetime and therefore need to be fitted by an implant specialist.
You might have to undergo supplementary procedures before and after the dental implant such as tooth extraction, dental crown or bone graft, which will incur additional costs.
Before undergoing a dental implant procedure, make sure you clarify exactly what is included in your cost estimate.
A dental implant quote should include the cost of the implant, abutment and crown.
Professional tooth whitening has become increasingly popular in recent years. There are many different techniques available, with laser tooth whitening one of the most long-lasting. On average, laser tooth whitening will cost you about €229 in Hungary.
Veneers in Hungary cost on average around €265 per tooth for a standard ceramic veneer.
Porcelain veneers tend to be more expensive, but they are more durable and will last longer.
If you are thinking about getting veneers you should check your suitability with a local dentist first. Not everyone is a suitable candidate, and many people require other procedures first in preparation for veneers.
There are dental clinics located all across Hungary but the vast majority are concentrated in Budapest. As the capital city, Budapest offers convenience in terms of travel links as well as all the advantages of a global city: sightseeing, restaurants, shopping and cultural events.
On the other hand, some people choose to escape the tourist traps and head to other parts of Hungary. The towns of Mosonmagyaróvár and Bukfurdo in the north-west are popular due to their proximity to Vienna and Bratislava.
The area around Lake Balaton (around 45 minutes south-west of Budapest) is famous for wellness resorts and spas, and some people choose to undergo dental work in the nearby town of Szekesfehervar.
"The technology and care in Hungary is superior to my dentist in the US. The quality of dental care was incredible."
John went to Budapest and saved over $5,000 on his dental care. Read John's story.
Getting a quote
Most clinics are happy to provide you with a detailed cost estimate for your treatment after you submit an inquiry.
In order for them to do so you need to provide them with detailed information about your budget, the type of treatment you want and your overall expectations.
You might also be asked to provide previous medical records including dental X-rays. Taking the time to understand exactly which procedure you need before inquiring will ensure you get the best possible quote.
Citizens of any European Union member state can enter Hungary without a visa for up to 90 days, under the condition that the passport expiry date is more than three months after the visit. T
he 90 day visa-free travel is also open to citizens of the United States, Canada and Australia, among others.
Despite being in the Schengen Zone, Hungary has tighter border security. You should carry your passport at all times, even if entering the country from another Schengen Zone member state.
Most people in Budapest speak English, but as you move further away from the capital the number of English-speakers decreases. Anyone under the age of 30 is likely to have a good grasp of English from school.
German is recognised as a minority language and is generally spoken in the areas around the border with Austria.
Italian is often spoken at dental clinics in Budapest due to the high volume of Italian patients who travel to Hungary.
Some clinics in Hungary speak French, but it's worth double-checking this before making a detailed inquiry.
Hungary is a relatively safe country, but you should apply common sense when in larger cities.
Pickpockets and petty thieves target train stations, busy squares and public transport, particularly in Budapest. It is important to keep your personal belongings safe and be wary of potential thieves.
The UK Government offers further information on staying safe in Hungary.
- All-inclusive dental packages
- Free consultation
- Free airport transfers
- Flight reimbursement up to €150 for treatments over €5,000
- One night hotel reimbursement up to €50 for plans over €2,500
- Airport transfer and accommodation assistance
- Flights, hotel, and consultation for €199
- Reimbursement up to €150 for European flights
- Free airport transfers
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