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I’ve just got back from four days in Budapest…with a new set of teeth – gleaming quietly as I write – and a rather fatter bank balance than I feared I would have a couple of months ago, when my growing need for quite drastic dental treatment became only too obvious.

English price, for implants, crowns and a bottom bridge Circa £6500@:Hungarian price Circa £2000…plus, courtesy of Easyjet, a package of £250 for flights and hotel, plus quite lavish living for four days in Budapest, at £200. Well under half price.

And, very much to my nervous surprise, the whole process was virtually painless. Furthermore, I can honestly say that results are already making me feel a lot better about myself a: no spitting, no tendency to dribble, no hasty swallowing of half chewed mouthfulls, and noticably better digestion… much reduced rumbling, farting and belching !

Hungary is quite famous for dentistry. The current Bradt Guide sums up the position quite clearly “If you require complicated dental work, that goes beyond the standard clean-up or filling, the economic argument is overwhelming, with procedures costing at least half – and sometimes as little as a quarter – of the price paid in the UK. ” The guide lists a tariff.

Its early days to be 100% secure about the enduring quality of the work I’ve had done, but my dentist has full insurance with the UK Medical Protection Society, and my Titan Implants are guaranteed. So it really is hard to see the arguments against this simple to achieve, and very cost effective ‘arbitrage’. Half the price and just as good.

I had four treatment sessions, which followed a plan which was developed following a consultation and X-ray session in the Hungarian practice’s London centre, which – cleverly – operates in a large West London Dental surgery, which is theirs on Saturday’s and Sundays, while the British professionals are enjoying their week-ends at leisure. Obviously the process of extraction, root surgery and the preparation and impanting of the hardware, isn’t a bundle of fun, but there was no pain, only a mild discomfort as the numbing effect of the anaesthetics wore off. Ice packs, painkillers and prophylactic antibiotics are part of the package. After my evening sessions I slept well and woke pain free, and after morning sessions I visited the Museums and Art Galleries….a tribute to the gentle and expert ministrations of the dental surgeons.

And there are cosmeticians and technologists to advise on the appearence of the work. No flashing pearly white flawlessly even perfection for this 70 year old ! Mildy baroque and creamy….good for eating and smiling, as the white coated mature boss lady of the specialist technician team put it, after colour matching the new to the old.

On top of all this, the Hungarian cultural experience in Budapest is more than satisfactory. The excitement of unexplored treasure houses, in a World Heritage setting, five minutes away from one’s hotel door, certainly tends to take one’s mind off the invasive nature of the dental treatment !

I opted for January, the lowest of the low season, but therefore had quiet and almost exclusive enjoyment of the wonderful National Gallery collection. And my flight/hotel package was cheap. If I’d opted for April, the Opera and Concert season would have been enticing, and the prices higher – dentistry apart, of course. My four star hotel was literally a stone’s throw from the the mighty Danube and the Chain Bridge, and equi- distant from the furnicular to Castle Hill….so one was an easy stroll from the best bits of both Buda and Pest.

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