Irish patients looking for cheaper dental treatment abroad

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Reports suggest that Irish patients are starting to look for cheaper alternatives to their standard dental care, following budget cuts at the beginning of this year.

The cuts were brought in to reduce the size of the deficit; however, they have left many Irish patients struggling to afford dental care and many are now considering travelling abroad for treatment. Many patients are also crossing the border into Northern Ireland for treatment.

One of the major changes to the dental care system in the Republic of Ireland was the lack of funding for orthodontic treatment; previously braces had been heavily subsidised by the State. Now, patients are being forced to pay for orthodontic treatment, which currently costs around £4,000 in Ireland. Dentists in Northern Ireland have reported a significant increase in the numbers of patients from the Republic coming to them for orthodontic treatment. Patients wanting root canal treatment have also chosen to make the journey north, as prices are significantly lower.

Irish patients are also heading further afield to other parts of Europe for dental treatment; popular treatments include dental implants, dental veneers, orthodontic braces and teeth whitening treatments. Eastern Europe is a particularly attractive option for patients from both the UK and Ireland because prices are so much lower; patients can often pay less than half what they would at home for treatment in countries like Hungary and Romania, for example.

Earlier in the year, patients and dentists were outraged at the announcements made by the Irish government; people are being charged the same levels of social insurance but are now receiving much less for their money. Although Irish dentists have frozen their prices, their running costs are much higher than those in Northern Ireland and they cannot compete with the lower prices available in European countries. Representatives from the government said they had no choice but to cut government spending thanks to huge deficits that resulted from the global economic recession.

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