GCC dentists are pricing their patients out of the market and driving dental tourism to neighbouring Jordan, the country's dentists have said.
Practices have documented rising numbers of GCC residents who are opting to travel for dentistry, rather than fork out for higher priced cosmetic treatments at home.
Dr Munir Amro, director of the Esthetic Dental Center in Jordan, believes patients are lured by the combination of cut-price procedures and high quality. "We have noticed that people come from the Gulf or the States, they book online and they think they are getting the best treatment and the best price, so it's two in one," he said. "Here, we have good quality materials and personnel, as well as good prices."
Dentist Shafiq Al Shaadi of The Speciality Hospital, Jordan, believes that price is not the determining factor behind Jordan's growing reputation. Even insured patients, who are not funding treatment, select local practices as their providers of choice, he claimed, suggesting that residents are struggling to source quality care at home.
"I don't think it is a price issue. When the patient comes from the Emirates - or any other country in the GCC for that matter - the insurance usually covers Jordan. Insurance companies tend to agree [to cover the treatment], no problem."
Dubai dentist Katherine Trelles, of Villa Fortuny clinic, admits the emirate's dentistry is pricier than in Jordan, but states she has been "unimpressed" by the quality of work she has seen from dentists there. Pointing to the cost of travel and follow-up visits, she argues that local practices still offer a better deal to Dubai-based patients.
"First of all, if there is any problem, it's a hassle to go back to that country. We have to rectify those problems and it's not fair on us either, because we're given the job almost done and we have to rectify it," she said. "You have better quality of dentistry here than in Jordan."
Amro, however, refutes claims that Jordanian dentistry is not on par with neighbouring countries. "[Patients] find the best educated dentists here and they find the best treatment here," he insisted. "We have a lot of people with Master's degrees in dentistry here, more than other countries in the Middle East."For all the latest health tips & news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.