Dentists in Bulgaria: Black Sea and White Teeth
Visiting dentists in Bulgaria during the Soviet era – the country was well ensconced behind the Iron Curtain – was not a pleasant experience, with dour service, under-equipped clinics and poorly-trained staff.
All that has changed.
Today’s Bulgarian dentists, especially in urban centers and resort areas, are as good as any in Europe. They boast modern clinics, brand-new equipment, highly trained staff, and competitive prices.
Low cost – possibly the lowest in Europe – is definitely a comparative advantage of a Bulgaian dental holiday. But it’s not the only advantage.
- Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 2007, making travel and payment as easy as a cross-country trip.
- Despite EU membership, prices are far far lower than in most other European countries due to low labor costs and high competition.
- Many English-speaking clinics are in tourist resorts, so vacationing while you wait is easy.
Dentists in Bulgaria had a lot of catching up to do, and they’ve done it well. Under Communism, private practice was outlawed and all dentists were employed by the government. In 1990 private clinics came back with a vengeance with their stylish interiors and modern equipment and techniques.
Dentists understood the financial possibilities of attracting foreign tourists and have adapted themselves well to that market by providing an experience as ‘pleasant’ as the one back home – often a better experience, in fact.
And it’s no secret: not only are Bulgarian dentists good, but dental prices are among Europe’s lowest and certainly compare favorably with those of the US. Here are some examples and their approximate costs:
AVERAGE DENTAL COSTS IN BULGARIA
NOTE: prices are indicative of those posted online by dentists in Bulgaria – some may charge more.
Pretty much all dental procedures are available in Bulgaria, although the most popular seem to be implants, full dentures and other high-cost items.
Dental qualifications in Bulgaria
If you’re concerned about the level of training of Bulgarian dentists, don’t be: they’re every bit as qualified as in other European countries. Basic dental school lasts five-and-a-half years for a Physician of Dental Medicine degree, after which most graduates will complete one year of vocational training within a dental practice.
Three-year specialist training courses are available, and continuing education is mandatory, so dentists keep up with new developments in their profession. Many Bulgarian dentists Dental Implants also go on to North America or other European countries for extra training.
Dentists belong to the Bulgarian Dental Association. Founded in 1905, it is one of Europe’s oldest, although it was suspended for several decades during Communist rule and replaced by trade unions.
The clinics are often brand new, especially those that cater to foreigners, so you’ll experience perfectly clean surroundings, often tastefully appointed. Some of the older clinics may invest more in equipment than in decor – attractiveness was never a criteria under Soviet rule – but that won’t affect the quality of the dental work so don’t be deterred if some waiting rooms are barer than others.
Dental tourism in Bulgaria
Bulgaria now has some 8000 dentists, two-thirds of whom are women, and they are poised to welcome an ever-growing numbers of foreign patients.
Several recent studies show that dental tourism generally is on the rise – 35,000 a year from the UK alone – and that one of the major beneficiaries is Bulgaria.
In fact, dental tourism in Bulgaria is becoming so popular the government has finally decided to legislate the sector, which until recently was unregulated.
Today, 3% of global dental tourists come to Bulgaria for treatment, not bad for a country known until recently for lackluster health care. Dental tourists come from all over, but primarily from Europe and neighboring countries.
Bulgaria is no longer the country it was just a few short decades ago. Once known for its cheap Russian-filled resorts and poison-tipped umbrella assassinations, today’s country is well on its way to modernity and sophistication.
There’s plenty to do in Bulgaria while you wait for your second visit – many procedures, after all, take more than one sitting. So why not spend a few days visiting some of the country’s amazing sights?
- Hike or ski in the Rila, Pirin or Rodopi mountains in the country’s South – not quite the Alps, but not that far off, either. Enjoy nature that remains untouched and teeming with wildlife.
- If you like Church architecture, try Boyana Church in Sofia, one of Eastern Europe’s best preserved medieval sites and one of the country’s nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Spend time between dentists hopping between monasteries and their precious icons, especially if you have your own transportation. In which case you should learn to read Cyrillic road signs (the Cyrillic alphabet originated here and was adopted by Russia only later).
- Soak up art, culture and cafés in the student town of Plovdiv.
- Get to the Black Sea’s beautiful sandy beaches – quickly, before excessive development ruins the coast (as happened in Spain in the 1960s and 70s). Main resort areas include Albena, Sozopol, Nesebar, Golden Sands and Sunny Beach.
- Reminisce at Sofia’s Jewish Museum of History, which depicts the Holocaust, the story of World War II, and the rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews.
For a vacation a bit different from Europe, try looking for some dentists in Turkey.