The moment I realized I needed a very serious dental work done, I knew that I couldn’t really do it in Italy. Not that Italian dentists aren’t great, it’s just that the cost of their work is much higher than in other places. I knew this because I knew people that had their dental procedures done in other (mostly) European countries. At much lower costs and at as a high standard as they’d get in Italy. So I decided to do the same thing.
The first thing I did was research. I knew of dental tourism, sure, but I also knew about the scams and foreigners being cheated out of their money. This was an investment that was pretty serious, so I decided to be skeptical and tough – I knew that the experts who care will be able to put up with me.
So that’s exactly what I did. I googled and went on to numerous sites. It didn’t take long before I narrowed it down to these countries: Albania, Moldavia, Romania, Croatia, and Serbia.
Choosing the offer
Once I did that, I wanted to test all the offers I got. I was a bit hard on all of the clinics that sent me the offers, but it was really important to me that I pick the right one. A couple of them communicated with me on Italian, so that helped me narrow it down. Soon enough the choice fell between Albania and Serbia.
In all honesty, the offer from Clinic Explore was more expensive than the one from Albania. The price difference was not so insignificant either. I was never shy, so I didn’t shy away from asking why this was so. I wasn’t hiding the fact that I was skeptical. Soon enough I received an email from the Serbian clinic telling me in detail why the prices were what they were and also why the Albanian clinic could offer me the same thing at lower prices. They told me to be careful and look for certificates and look out for hidden fees that might await me once I arrive. I was already familiar with these occurrences in the dental tourism world, so it didn’t really come as a shock. What did surprise me, however, was the fact that the Serbian clinic offered me a chance to meet up with one of their colleague. In Sardinia, meaning I didn’t even have to travel anywhere. Just to make sure I would be making the right choice, I met up with this girl and she showed me the work, told me all about the surgeon (who was actually an Italian man named Conte – quite famous in the world of dentistry) and it truly made a difference for me. Not saying this would do the trick for you, but it did for me.
What was in the offer I chose?
Even before I decided to go with Clinic Explore, I was sent a unique offer with the procedure explained on my X-ray. The doctors literally draw each implant and wrote down all the things they recommend. The work was to be done in two phases. Phase one was to last three days, the offer included a free hotel stay for both me and my wife as well as a plane ticket for me. In this first phase, I was to get 12 implants, a reconstruction of the bone and a CAD/CAM temporary system, which was gonna last until phase two. Phase two was to be more of a relaxed phase: I was to stay for at least 8 days, but the schedule was less time-consuming than the phase one schedule. In phase two I was to get 24 ceramic crowns. The stay in the hotel was to once again be free for both me and my wife. We quickly arranged the flight and everything else and in less than two weeks we were on our way to Belgrade.
How did it all work
We arrived an hour and 45 minutes later. As we left the airport a driver with the clinic’s name was waiting for us. We quickly discovered he was speaking Italian and we shared a passion for fishing. He told us a bit about Serbia and it’s capital, Belgrade. After arriving at the dental office, we finally met the people we were talking to over the phone for the past few weeks. They promptly did another X-ray and we were escorted by the nurse to the hotel. We were to rest before the procedure.
The very procedure went great! My wife was there through all of it, and while they were operating on me she got to watch Rai 1. In Serbia! The biggest take-away from it was the fact that I was calm (and sedated) – I didn’t feel any pain thanks to the meds I was given before, during and after the procedure! We even asked for the local market so that my wife could cook us food that would do me good after the operation. We were truly impressed by how cheap everything is! We loved Belgrade and it’s people so much, that we asked if it was ok for us to stay a bit longer for our second phase. The dental clinic said yes, and so they scheduled our stay for 12 instead of 8 days. After leaving, we couldn’t wait to come back in six months.
Those six months passed quickly. We were talking with the doctors regularly up to the point of returning to Belgrade. I was sending them pictures regularly and we even found a picture from when I was younger. This was going to help them make exactly what I wanted – a full set of teeth that won’t change the way my face looks.
I asked the clinic if they could add an extra suitcase – I knew they’d find that to be a weird request, but they did it anyway. No questions asked. And I was glad they didn’t ask why I needed it, because the truth was I bought so many sweets and food for them that it just couldn’t fit. I even bought a fishing rod for the driver that picked me up at the airport! You can only imagine how surprised and pleased they were. Almost as much as we were for seeing them and enjoying the hospitality of Serbia once again!
Like I said previously, the second phase was more relaxed than the first one. We had time to sightsee, to try Serbia’s traditional food and everywhere we went people were great!
As part of phase two, I was offered to go and personally see the crowns they were making for me. I was given a choice of picking the color and the size. I met people who were making what’s soon to be my set of teeth. And it really made a difference for me. Of course, I knew I’d get the certificates and records of everything done, but seeing those people in action truly made an impact.
Soon enough I had a smile I haven’t had since my youth.
It’s been a few months since all the work’s been done. Both I and my wife are over the moon for it!
We chat with the doctors, send postcards and pictures. My wife even decided to have her teeth done too, so soon enough we’ll be coming to Belgrade once again (or, well, twice – because of the two phases)! We’re both truly looking forward to it.
That’s why, when I think of dental tourism – I think of Serbia. And when I think of Serbia, I think of great hospitality, amazing food, and people who I’ve really come to think of as friends.