The small rural community of Ballylanders, County Limerick is taking a bite out of the dental tourism market and is to build a factory to produce crowns, dentures and veneers. The clinic was born out of a meeting between Monika Raffael of the Hungarian Cultural and Business Association, and John Gallaghue, a former mayor of Co Limerick, in Hungary two years ago.
The small rural community of Ballylanders, County Limerick is taking a bite out of the dental tourism market and is to build a factory to produce crowns, dentures and veneers. The clinic was born out of a meeting between Monika Raffael of the Hungarian Cultural and Business Association, and John Gallaghue, a former mayor of Co Limerick, in Hungary two years ago. Gallaghue, who lives in Ballylanders, was amazed at the amount of Irish people visiting Hungary to combine cheap dental work with a holiday and saw an opening. His local development company supplied a premises and equipment for a Hungarian-operated clinic in the village and is preparing to build a dental factory which will employ 15 people. Other villages in Co Limerick are making inquiries about setting up similar clinics, which the dental factory could supply after next May.
John Gallaghue says, “We already have people coming from all over Ireland. When we expand after opening the factory we could look at marketing our own dental tourism in Britain.” Hungarians are operating the clinic in conjunction with Ballylanders Development Association, will not charge religious people for cleaning and other minor work, and will give them a discount on major work. Dr Dilyan Bachvarov is very busy in the dental surgery with cleaning and scaling for as little as €40, an extraction €55, root canal treatment €195, and crowns from €300.These are way below normal Irish prices.
Irish dental health is an increasing problem as state support for dental care is now severely curtailed. From January 2010, the government curtailed all support for treatments that used to be covered by the PRSI dental scheme, other than an annual examination. Subsidies for routine treatments such as fillings and extractions are no longer available. The average private price for a dental check-up is more than €80. While some Irish health insurance policies either cover dental work or offer discounts, all the three major insurers have recently raised prices, sometimes as much as 45%, and sometimes for the second time in a year. One health insurer is part of an insurance company in administration, while the state owned VHI is technically insolvent.
An increasing number of Irish customers are taking advantage of the significant savings to be had in Northern Ireland. The promise of Northern Ireland prices south of the border is being offered by Smiles, which has 13 clinics throughout the country. Last year, the Smiles chain took the drastic step of dropping its prices by 30 per cent to match prices on offer in the North – and it has paid off with a 50 per cent increase in customer numbers. A clinic in Dublin’s Ranelagh called Access Smile is operated by dentists from Hungary who organised treatments for Irish patients in Budapest for a fraction of the price in Ireland.
Pellevé is the latest entry into the non-invasive or non-surgical face lift market, and was launched in Ireland by Kambiz Golchin from About Face Clinic. Pellevé uses radio frequencies to modify the collagen bundles deep beneath the skin giving an immediate tightening effect. Over the next six months the collagen begins to re-knit, continuously tightening which should give ongoing results. The application of radio frequencies causes a warming sensation leading to the nickname “face ironing”. About Face Clinic is offering the treatment at €650 per session, a significant discount on UK prices, where it can cost as much as £1,200 per session. Kambiz Golchin is a consultant surgeon at Beacon Hospital in Dublin. About Face Clinic is next to Beacon Hospital.