It never occurred to me to consider seeking dental care abroad until my own dentist here in Chicago handed me a $10,675 estimate for the work that I needed. Needless to say, I suddenly felt more motivated to explore alternatives. I also needed to move fast because four of my teeth urgently needed to be redone while there was enough tooth material remaining on which to base rebuilding them.
I have several friends living in Bulgaria; I know other Bulgarians who live in Chicago. When I complained to one of my Chicago friends about the “sticker shock” I experienced when I saw my dentist’s estimate, she suggested that I have the work done in Bulgaria.
I was thinking of vacationing in Bulgaria anyway, so I was on board with that idea immediately. After someone recommended his family dentist in Sofia, Bulgaria, and then set up the initial appointment for me, I was set.
Having vacationed in Bulgaria before, I knew it made sense to get my dental work done there:
- Much lower general prices than in the USA
- Very highly educated population, especially in anything science- or technology-related
- Large percentage of the urban population speaks English as a second or third language
Upon arrival at the dentist in Sofia, he listened carefully to my explanation of what the Chicago dentist had told me, and then brought in a second dentist (who also happened to be a dental sciences teacher at the Technical University there). I was sent to an x-ray clinic a few blocks away, where they took a full panel of dental x-rays using a new Siemens x-ray machine imported from Germany. The x-rays cost me about $12.00 total.
While there was not enough time to address every issue caught by my Chicago dentist, the two Bulgarian dentists fixed the main and most urgent one involving my four front teeth. Their work was meticulous; they iteratively showed me their progress, asked my feedback and then modified the rebuilt teeth immediately to ensure a perfect fit. I never experienced any pain or discomfort. The total bill was under $300.
My dental work was completed in June 2011; with the benefit of three months’ hindsight, my four front teeth are still perfect. I couldn’t be happier – with the results of my Bulgarian dental work, or the bill!
by Eric Bingen
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