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Dentistry


Dental treatments are highly popular among medical tourists, and are particularly affordable in South Africa as well.  If you want to make the most of your smile, cosmetic dentistry may be the way to help your inner happiness shine through!  If you want to feel safe and confident in your teeth, a range of modern dental procedures and state-of-the-art facilities are available to augment and improve them, all offered in a comfortable, professional setting where you can relax and feel taken care of – with a coffee while you wait, and with your choice of music or a movie playing to keep you entertained while the procedure is in progress.

A dental procedure like this can be done with a minimum of stress and discomfort, and recovery time is also very short for most treatments (but be sure to include enough time for a safari or spa visit to promote recovery and enhance your medical holiday).  All this will undoubtedly give you something to smile about!

A great advantage of undergoing a cosmetic dentistry procedure in Cape Town, South Africa is the low price (from an international perspective) at which these services can be obtained.  A comparison of approximate prices for various dental treatments is given below:

Treatment SA USA UK
Consultations R500 $150 (R2025) £65 (R1300)
Cleanings R650 $220 (R3000) £150 (R3000)
Veneers and crowns R6500 $950 (R12800) £700 (R14000)
Inlays R3000 $650 (R7100) £400 (R8000)
Whitening R4000 $600 (R8100) £500 (R10000)
Root canal R3500 $900 (R12150) £450 (R9000)
Implants R10000 $5000 (R65000) £2940 (R58800)

These are all rock-bottom prices on the international market, but this does not mean you will be getting low-quality service.  On the contrary, South Africa’s weak currency means that high-quality dentistry work can be obtained at low prices such as these.

Click here to view the current climate of SA dentistry

Some of the groundbreaking procedures on offer include:

  • Cosmetic dentistry covers a wide range of procedures, including bonding between teeth, whitening, crowning, veneering, bracing, bridging, and installing implantations, as well as more specialised procedures such as correction of the gum line and covering of exposed roots. Some of these processes are described in more detail below.
  • Composite veneers – this additive, reversible procedure involves adding layers of resin to the surface of the teeth in order to correct defects or discolouration and to sculpt the teeth into a more aesthetically pleasing shape
  • Porcelain veneers – this process involves scraping a thin layer of enamel off of the tooth and replacing it permanently with a durable porcelain veneer. This kind of veneer is also sculpted and polished to give a natural look and feel, while also being extremely long-lasting.
  • Dental bridges are used to bridge the gap between two missing teeth, by fixing an artificial tooth (called a pontic) between two others using a type of cement. This procedure is done under anesthesia and is known to last a long time with proper dental care.
  • Dental crowns are customised caps used to reinforce a damaged tooth or following a root canal. They are generally installed under anesthesia using cement to hold the crown in place
  • Dental fillings are used to fill cavities where tooth decay has taken place. Different types of fillings, using different materials such as composite resins, porcelain, and gold are commonly used. The decayed matter is first cleaned out with a drill or laser under anesthesia, following which the filling is installed, and the tooth is polished once hardened.
  • Dental implants are used to replace missing or damaged teeth with an artificial substitute that looks and feels similar to the real thing. An anchor is generally set into the gums to hold the implant in place. Over time, the jawbone grows around the anchor to hold it naturally.
  • Dental veneers – these thin films, made of porcelain or resin composites, are used to cover areas of the teeth that have been damaged or discoloured. Veneers are generally custom made and are sculpted and polished onto the existing tooth to ensure a natural look and feel.
  • Dentures, or ‘false teeth’ are used to replace whole sets of teeth that are missing. They are custom-made to fit the gums and are generally removable.
  • Gum disease treatment – (periodontal) – a number of diseases such as gingivitis attack the gums and surrounding bone, causing decay. Depending on the severity, a dentist may prescribe antibiotics or do a full cleaning procedure or even a tooth extraction in order to treat the disease.
  • Inlay/onlay restoration – while inlay filling is done only on the cusp of a tooth, onlay filling extends further to fit a crown that covers the entire tooth itself. These fillings can be made of a number of materials, and are prepared according to an impression made by your dentist.  These are among the most durable of tooth fillings, lasting for up to thirty years.
  • Orthodontics – this branch of dentistry focuses on the correction of misalignments between the teeth and the jaw. A range of procedures can be used to correct this (improving chew, bite, and speech in the process), from the use of braces and retainers to tooth extraction and jaw surgery.
  • Root canal – this procedure is used as a last resort to save an infected tooth. Under anesthesia, the nerve and inner tissue of the tooth are removed, and the tooth itself is sealed to prevent abscesses from forming.
  • Teeth whitening – many teeth exhibit some natural discolouration over time, but eating and smoking habits can exacerbate this. While many teeth whitening products exist, the most effective whitening method can be performed by a dentist, using a bleaching agent in conjunction with a source of light, heat, or a laser.  Results can generally be seen very quickly.
  • Tooth extraction – when a tooth becomes damaged, badly decayed, or is growing incorrectly, it generally needs to be extracted. A dentist will perform this procedure while you are under anesthesia. Following extraction, stitches may be required to help the socket to heal over.  While there is likely to be some pain following the procedure, this can be minimised by not brushing or rinsing out the area, and eating soft foods.  Your dentist will likely prescribe a painkiller to help you manage as well.

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