Dental treatment abroad – General Dental Council advice

Going abroad for your dental care? Check out the facts before you check in.

With more and more people considering dental treatment abroad, the UK dental regulator, the General Dental Council (GDC) has issued guidance and advice to dental patients with a checklist of questions to ask before travelling abroad for treatment.

The aim of the checklist, produced in association with the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF), the UK’s leading oral health charity, is to help dental patients make informed decisions about their dental care, wherever they receive treatment.

Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive and Registrar of the GDC, said: “Our job is to protect UK dental patients by making sure all dental professionals practising in the UK are trained appropriately and registered with us. We think it’s important for dental patients – wherever they receive their treatment – to know the questions to ask to ensure they receive the best possible treatment and care, and where they can go if something goes wrong.

“That’s why we want to encourage people considering travelling abroad for dental care to ask questions before making a decision about their treatment. Qualifications and standards are likely to differ from country to country, so it’s important that you collect as much information as you can before committing to anything.”

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the BDHF, said: “The National Dental Survey 2008 found that 16% of people would be willing to travel abroad for dental treatment and the figure was even higher among the 18 to 30 age group – suggesting the trend will continue.

“This document provides members of the public with a very useful starting point on the questions to ask before getting dental treatment abroad.

“Styles and standards of dentistry can vary a great deal from one country to another and, if things do go wrong, patients could still be left facing some difficult and potentially expensive decisions.

“However by researching their chosen practitioner and asking the right questions they can reduce the chances of encountering potentially avoidable problems further down the line.”

A copy of the dental tourism checklist is available on our website,

About the General Dental Council

As the UK regulatory body of the dental profession, the GDC has a duty to protect the public. By law, the following groups of dental professionals have to be registered with us to work in the UK:

• dentists
• clinical dental technicians
• dental hygienists
• dental nurses
• dental technicians
• dental therapists
• orthodontic therapists

By registering with the GDC, dental professionals make a commitment to behave ethically and professionally, to meet and uphold the standards of the profession and to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.

When a dental professional falls seriously short of the high standards expected, we have the power to take action by either removing or restricting their registration.

You can check a dental professional’s registration with the GDC by logging on to our website, or by contacting us on this UK telephone number: 0845 222 4141.

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent charity that along with its global arm, the International Dental Health Foundation, is dedicated to improving the oral health of the public by providing free and impartial dental advice, by running educational campaigns like National Smile Month and by informing and influencing the public, profession and government on issues such as mouth cancer awareness and water fluoridation.

Members of the public can contact the Dental Helpline for free and impartial expert advice on 0845 063 1188 Monday to Friday.