A dentist in Budapest is analyzing a panoramic x-ray. Photo: BT / archive

Traveling Abroad for Dental Care

A New Smile in Hungary

Nowadays, medical tourism is a natural phenomenon, with hundreds of thousands of people traveling abroad in Europe to seek affordable healthcare.

Dental tourism is no exception either, as it is is very expensive, especially on the Western side of Europe, just like in the US, Canada or even in Australia.

Hungary, part of the EU, is located in the middle of the continent and has become a popular destination for dental tourists worldwide. Roughly 80% of medical tourists traveling here seek teeth treatments. Thus in the country medical tourism is more or less equal with dental tourism and it is so significant that about 50% of the overall European foreign patients are directed to Hungary.

How did it all start though?

In the 1970s and 1980s, Austrians from small villages near the Austrian-Hungarian border came to our country because dental care was expensive in Austria and cheap in Hungary. The Austrians were satisfied with the result and delighted by the cheap prices, and as time went by, not only people from the near border villages came to Hungary, but also patients from further away in Austria. As always, the good news spread quickly, satisfied patients all over Austria praised the Hungarian dentists to all their relatives and acquaintances. Soon foreign patients started coming not only from Austria, but also from other Western European countries.

The process was accelerated by the introduction of low-cost economic class flights, and gradually the destinations of foreign patients shifted from the Western part of Hungary to clinics in Budapest. Thanks to the previously mentioned cheap flights, patients are now coming not only from neighboring countries but from all over Western Europe. In fact, a significant number of patients are now flying to Hungary from the US or even Australia to return home with a brand new smile.

The main motivation is the cheaper price combined with high quality

Treatments in Hungary are much cheaper than in the Western part of the continent. How is this possible? In Hungary, despite being a long-standing member of the EU, the average price levels and income levels are much lower than in other EU countries. Consequently, the price of private health services is also lower. Dental cares provided to foreigners are not subject to VAT.
As clinics specializing in dental tourism buy large quantities of quality materials from reputable manufacturers, they can obtain significant discounts of up to 40% on purchases from large companies such as Nobel, Starumann or Camlog. This also ensures a lower price for the quality materials used. Thanks to this, on an average day, oral surgeons in a major clinic in Budapest often place 40-60 implants. Of course, this amount of work is done by several dentists in several chairs in one day.
The reputation of Hungarian dentists and dental education is very high. In Hungary, around 200 dental students start their training at Semmelweiss University every year with a share of 40% from foreign countries.

How much can you save on dental in Hungary?

In some countries of Western Europe, health insurance or tax regulations provide subsidies for dental care. In France, for example, each treatment has a fixed value, which of some is reimbursed to those with insurance. For the French, because Hungary is also a member of the EU, the same reimbursement is available even if you have your treatment here and not in France. In Ireland, a tax relief of 20% is available for dental care. This applies even if the work was carried out by Hungarian clinics.
In the UK, the NHS subsidies only a very limited range of services, and this does not include implant screws, which is the most popular solution for dental tourists.

A broad generalization of dental care in Hungary is that foreigners can save between 30-70% compared to Western European prices. The more complex the treatment one needs, i.e. the more expensive the work, the greater the savings can be made by having it done in Budapest.

Just a side note, that the Hungarian dental costs are considered very pricy for Hungarians due to their lower salary, so these costs are only attractive for foreigners.

 

Money for treatment – more or less? Photo: BT / archive

 

What kind of dental treatments do foreigners come to Hungary for?

There are two broad categories of treatment needs.

Some people have healthy teeth but are not satisfied with their smile, the shape and size of their teeth. They typically come to Hungary for aesthetic or cosmetic dental treatments and many of them are looking for a full smile makeover, or a Hollywood Smile. The Hollywood Smile is a solution where the patient is fitted with zirconia or E-max full porcelain crowns or the same type of veneers on all teeth. This solution results in a perfect smile. Minor teeth problems like misalignment, discoloration, and chipped teeth in addition to shape and size problems are hidden behind veneers or crowns.  Unquestionably, very spectacular results can be achieved, with such a smile makeover treatment.

A simpler smile makeover, involving 8 to 12 front teeth, typically visible when smiling or speaking, with zirconia veneers or crowns, is available for between €3,000 and €4,500.
A true Hollywood Smile, where each tooth is fitted with a zirconium veneer or crown, ranges from €8,000 to €10,000.

Others seek care in Hungary for health reasons, i.e. they have bad teeth or want to replace missing ones. They typically seek tooth replacement with implants, crowns, bridges or the popular All-on-4 solution. The latter means that in the case of a completely edentulous jaw, the dentist places 4 implants in one jaw and a denture or a complete bridge is placed on top. All-on-4 restores about 80-85% of the chewing power and stability of natural teeth for a person with no teeth at all. 

Dental implants in Hungary are so competitively priced that UK patients usually travel to Budapest even for one implant based tooth replacement. The price of a full tooth replacement with a single implant ranges from €1,000 to €1,400, depending on whether the patient chooses a mid-range or top-quality implant screw, or a metal-ceramic or zirconium crown. The above mentioned price includes the implant screw, the abutment and crown, which are the components of an implant-based tooth replacement for a single tooth.

An All-on-4 or All-on-6, which provides a full arch implant-based restoration, ranges from €5,000 to €9,000 depending on the type of implant used and the material of the crowns. For All-on-4, the price range is more likely to be somewhere between 5,000 to 7,000EUR. 

In the case of a complete bridge fitted on 6 implants, which is known as All-on-6, a bit higher price range should be expected. It is about 7,000 to 9,000EUR in Hungary. If the patient wants zirconium teeth, and bone grafting or sinus lift is also required, the price may slightly increase.

If someone needs a cheaper but implant free solution, they can have metal-ceramic bridges or crowns at an average price of 200EUR/crown/bridge unit. This is the best value-price tooth replacement solution for damaged teeth or minor tooth deficiencies with a gap of one or two teeth, because metal-ceramic is durable and aesthetic, although it is not as aesthetically pleasing as zirconia crowns. However, it is perfect for restoring full bite, chewing and speech abilities.
So, if you add the price of the flight and accommodation to the final bill it will still be much less in Hungary than it would be in the UK, France, Ireland, the US or Canada.

Of course, the price paid for the treatment in Budapest is also reduced by the tax and insurance reimbursement, for French and Irish patients.
The dentist prices in the Hungarian capital are slightly more expensive than those in the countryside, although Budapest has much more to offer than only the quality dental clinics, in terms of attractions and entertainment, and the airport is only 20 minutes away.

Foreigners tend to visit Budapest’s famous baths, the Buda Castle, the Fisherman’s Bastion and the worldwide-famous Parliament and Opera House. The Hungarian cuisine is also very famous and exceptional, with visitors eager to try the ‘stew’, ‘goulash soup’ and ‘fish soup’.

Getting a quote from Hungary

If you’re wondering how much you could save by fixing your teeth in Hungary, there are several ways to find out.

Clinics specialized in treating foreign patients, will be happy to make you a personalized quote if you can email them a good quality OPG (panoramic x-ray).
If a would-be patient does not have a panoramic x-ray result, it is also possible to have a referral made by a clinic in Budapest, which will have the OPG made abroad at an imaging or scan centre.

Some Hungarian clinics offer consultation in England, Ireland or even Switzerland. In this case, if they have their own clinic abroad, not only a consultation but also an annual check-up can be done there. However, if warranty treatment is required, this is typically carried out in Budapest by clinics that have a facility abroad, given that the work was also done in Budapest. It is good to know that clinics with a foreign office provide service in Budapest at a slightly higher price than clinics with a Hungarian office only.

It is also possible for prospective patients to visit the clinic in Budapest where the treatment will be carried out. For this purpose, clinics provide a consultation package, which usually includes a free consultation in Budapest, panoramic X-ray and airport transfer, although some clinics also pay for a night’s accommodation. It is worth taking the time to visit several clinics in order to get a personal experience of the place and the dentist you are going to see for improving your smile.

In summary, what are the advantages of dental treatment in Hungary?

First and foremost, the very competitive price, which is always combined with good quality. Clinics in Budapest typically state, in their quotation, which implant brands and crown and veneer materials will be used. So for someone studying such a quote it becomes clear that good prices go hand in hand with quality materials. This makes travelling to Hungary extremely attractive. In addition, the treatment plans also include details of the schedule, the number of visits required and their length.

You can start your treatments quickly, there is no real waiting list in Hungary. You may have to wait a week or two to start work, but this is nothing compared to the waiting times of several months in French and English-speaking countries. In Hungary, all cares were available during the COVID period. Foreign patients were also coming for dental work in Hungary, although not as many as before due to difficulties in travelling.

Treatments are quick, usually requiring 2-3 days in Budapest for oral surgery (e.g. implants, bone grafting, sinus lifting). For prosthetic work involving veneers, crowns and bridges, the average time you need to spend in Hungary is 4-8 working days, depending on the number of teeth treated.

Most foreign patients come to Budapest because there is so much to see and do that they can easily combine their holiday with smile improvement, meaning that every minute spent abroad will prove to be useful.

Is it really worth it?

Besides the advantages, there are also downsides to consider.

You have to fly to a completely foreign country and use dental services there. This is risky even with the best intentions. It is advisable to research very carefully the  conditions, guarantees and experiences of previous patients. Google reviews can help a lot with that too.

Warranty conditions are always put in writing by the clinics, anyone who has not received one should always ask for one. This is typically part of the quotation. To maintain the guarantee, an annual Budapest check-up is required. For US and Australian patients, some clinics make an exception whereby it is enough for them to send an OPG and a brief summary of the results of the annual check-up by a local doctor and the warranty is still active.

If urgent help is required after treatment in Budapest, local dentists are reluctant to help those patients who fixed their teeth abroad. This is worth noting, as it can take hours of travel within the country to find a local dentist who would be willing to help urgently.

If you have to come back to Hungary for a warranty treatment, the clinics do not cover the cost of accommodation and travel, only the treatment is free of charge.

Generally, for aesthetic and prosthetic works, one trip is enough, but for implant-based restorations, you will need to fly to Budapest at least twice or in some cases even three times.

Still the vast majority of dental tourism patients are satisfied with the results and would do the whole process again if they needed to. And probably this is also a reason why the number of foreigners that come to Hungary for fixing their teeth increases year by year.

 

Photo: Pixaby

Company formation in Hungary

Looking for the best country for European company formation?

If you consider yourself a businessman who aspires to freedom, independence and an self-ruling lifestyle, set your eyes upon Hungary.

Europe is an ever exciting place to start or deepen your business realm with numerous opportunities throughout its member states. One country that we would like to open your eyes to, focusing on company matters and taxes, is Hungary.

The lowest company tax in the EU since 2018

Hungary has been working on easing the tax system, both the personal and company income tax, that used to be one of the highest in Europe. Behind this lies the European Union policy which says that each country needs to lower tax burdens to facilitate the efficiency of the tax system.

Out of several reasons why Hungary is a flourishing business environment, we would like to point out that now you can find the lowest corporate tax here in the European Union. Sounds great, right? So if you are considering Hungary as a place to carry out an European company formation and start business here, we can assure you that the 9% flat company income tax is an excellent opportunity. 

Another significant factor when deciding to set up your European company in Hungary is the possibility of  VAT free and Custom free business operation and the European single market which holds great opportunities for entrepreneurs. 

Are you interested in EU residency? 

If a company formation is not on your horizon, there is another way to acquire EU residency by real estate investment in Hungary. Just think about what a great opportunity it would be to invest in real estate either in Budapest or in any other part of Hungary. Budapest is now a real metropolis where more than 100.000 foreigners have chosen to live. Budapest also boasts a party district which might be a key factor when choosing a property.

Company formation in Hungary
“The company formation in Hungary is a fast and easy process and takes only 24-48 hours and in addition to this, the 15% flat personal income rate is also considered to be low.”, says Dr. Melinda Győri, legal consultant at BUSINESSImmigration.hu.   Photo: Pixaby

Hungary has been through many historical and cultural happenings throughout its long existence in Europe but one can say that this country has always welcomed other nationalities. Looking at the origins of its inhabitants you can see that even though today the population speaks one national language, still the country’s background is a multinational palette. 

Though Hungary is small in size, the variety of its natural landscape forms its immense beauty. Hungary boasts several national parks, a great number of minor nature reserves and many landscape protection areas. We can call Hungary the land of spas with more than 1,300 thermal water springs which provide a ceaseless opportunity throughout the year for bathing in spas in the whole country.

The list could go on why Hungary is a very attractive target for those who are interested in EU residency by real estate investment. One thing is sure, investing in real estate in Hungary is a great opportunity for those who want to enjoy the special atmosphere of the Hungarian landscape and culture alongside business aspirations. 

Azerbaijan's second-largest city of Ganja after an Armenian missile attack. Photo: Embassy of Azerbaijan in Budapest.

Analysis / The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

What can end the clashes in the South Caucasus?

On September 27, the South Caucasus witnessed a new escalation in the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This war has turned the world's attention to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has remained unresolved for 30 years.

The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, consisting of France, the USA and the Russian Federation, have been dealing with this problem for 26 years, unable to produce any results. With Nikol Pashinyan becoming Prime Minister of Armenia, many people hoped it would push towards a solution of this problem. In fact, during the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries held in Dushanbe in 2018, Prime Minister Pashinyan asked for time from Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in order to consolidate his power in the country and to take creative substantive steps regarding the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Provocative steps

However, Nikol Pashinyan instead chose to take provocative steps under the influence of competition in his domestic policy. At this point, he has even made harsher and more radical statements than Robert Kocharyan and Serj Sargsyan, who are regarded as the Karabakh clan. These steps taken by Armenia have provoked Azerbaijan and strengthened the idea of ​​war in the country, whose last hope for peace has now been exhausted.

Although the international community has taken some steps in hopes of stopping the conflict from its initial start date, it has not yielded any results. Since the beginning of the clashes, with Russia, France and USA’s coordination, the two sides have thrice agreed on a temporary “humanitarian truce”, although neither three turned into a final ceasefire agreement. During the humanitarian truce, as a result of Armenian ballistic missile attacks, 61 Azerbaijani civilians lost their lives.

Rescue workers right after the missile attack on the city of Ganja.   Photo: Embassy of Azerbaijan in Budapest.

While the Armenian side argued that a ceasefire should be achieved urgently without preconditions, the Azerbaijani side argued for a timetable to be put forward for the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories. This plan is in accordance with the four resolutions of the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly resolution adopted in 2008. James Warlick, a former U.S. diplomat and one of the Minsk Group co-chairs, also shared in his twitter that peace is possible only if the occupied territories are returned to Azerbaijan.

Nonetheless, Armenia does not accept these offers. In his interview and address to the nation, Nikol Pashinyan made a statement saying that they do not accept these conditions and told Armenians that “we will either fight to the end or accept the offer of Azerbaijan”. After the twice occurring meetings in Moscow between Ministers of Foreign Affairs of both countries, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan declared that the problem does not have a diplomatic solution and they will fight until the end.

Lack of sufficient international support and attention

Both sides have complained about the lack of sufficient international support and attention. Elections held in the USA have negatively affected the country’s activity on this issue. In general, experts believe that the US interest in the region has been in decline since the Obama and Trump era. However, the presidential candidates have recently called for an end to the war. Trump’s rival Joe Biden declared in a statement that for a permanent ceasefire, Armenia has to withdraw from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh region. US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison has also stated that “Armenians should live within the borders of sovereign Azerbaijan! This can be resolved and then this conflict will end”.

Different approaches were taken by EU member countries. While Hungary and Italy supported the position of Azerbaijan, French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that “France will not allow Azerbaijan to enter Nagorno-Karabakh” pleased Armenia, while making Azerbaijan believe that France undermined its neutrality as a member of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs. But later, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian corrected President Macron’s remarks and stated that France should remain neutral on this issue.

As a member of the CSTO, Armenia first expected a Russian military intervention. After Pashinyan’s fourth phone call, Vladimir Putin made a statement saying that the clashes were not taking place within the borders of Armenia and that the CSTO would not intervene. Afterwards, Armenia called for Russian peacekeeping troops to be brought to the region. However, since this region is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory, peacekeeping troops cannot be deployed without the approval of Baku. According to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the arrival of peacekeeping troops here should be the last step after a political solution is reached. According to Matthew Bryza, former member of Minsk Group Co-Chairs, peace units cannot come to the region from Minsk Group Co-Chair countries.

In addition, Azerbaijan has constantly insisted on Turkey`s involvement in the negotiation process, hoping that it will speed up the resolution process. Although Turkey is one of the members of the OSCE Minsk Group, it is not a Co-Chair.

No Turkish forces involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Despite some claims, Turkish forces are not on the ground fighting against the Armenian troops. As reported by the Azerbaijani officials, the Azerbaijani army has sufficient manpower to remove the Armenian troops from its territory on its own. According to some experts, Armenian claims about the Turkish involvement in clashes have three reasons. First, this creates Russian-Turkish escalation in the region. The second reason is to get support from the West. Thirdly, it allows the Pashinyan government to convince the Armenian people that they are fighting against both Azerbaijan and Turkey. 

There have also been some allegations about Syrian fighters. However, all the video and photo evidences shown were scenes of conflict shot in Syria, not in Nagorno-Karabakh. President of Turkey Rajab Tayyib Erdogan has also debunked this claim, stating that Syrians have more work to do in Syria. Azerbaijan has enough manpower and has no reason to bring in foreign fighters, and additionally, Azerbaijan is a secular state. Past actions of Azerbaijan, like imprisoning some of its citizens and even stripping others of their citizenship for going to Syria to fight also make the allegations seem illogical. 

Iran, one of the other states of the region, also argues that the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh should be resolved within the framework of the UN Security Council resolutions and within the framework of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. 

The resumption of this war is the result of lack of advancement in the peace negotiations process that have been going on for 26 years within the framework of the Minsk Group. Azerbaijan, along with implementing the four UN Security Council resolutions that were adopted in 1993, is also useing its legitimate right of self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. The conflict will come to an end when Armenia withdraws its troops from the Azerbaijani territories. Otherwise, ceasefires will be temporary and occupation will be permanent.

The author is working for the Center of Analysis of International Relations, Baku.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called on developing the Social Code of the President Republic of Kazakhstan and digitalize social payments. (Photo: KAZINFORM)

Kazakhstan / State-of-the-nation address

President of Kazakhstan highlights 7 key principles of the new economic course

On September 1, 2020, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has delivered his annual state-of-the-nation address highlighting seven key principles of the new economic course Kazakhstan is set to embark in the nearest future.
5. September 2020 19:37

Seven key principles of Kazakhstan’s new economic course are as follows: equitable distribution of wealth and responsibilities, leading role of private entrepreneurship through support and development of SMEs, effectiveness through fair competition, versatility of economy, development of human capital through investment into the education of new format, ‘greening’ of economy through protection of environment, and validity of government’s decisions.

Digitalization of social payments

In his 2020 state-of-the-nation address, the Head of State also urged to reduce the state apparatus and personnel of the quasi-public sector by 25% in the coming years. A brand-new program solely dedicated to the development of the domestic agro-industrial sector is set to be mapped out, according to the President. Moreover, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called on developing the Social Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan and digitalize social payments. 

In his address, the President also focused on the problems of education in Kazakhstan pointing out the need to introduce the concept of lifelong learning. Given that the people of Kazakhstan live in the epoch of natural and manmade disasters, Kazakhstan will re-establish the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Head of State noted. Kazakhstan, in his words, will also launch the Agency for Strategic Planning and Reforms that will report directly to the President.

Tokayev reminded that the country had an analogue of the agency in the past and it had proved its effectiveness. Among other things, the Head of State also instructed to develop a package of proposals on ‘green growth’ that will embrace ecological upbringing for Kazakhstani youngsters as well as development of domestic ecological tourist.

Concern over the demographic situation in Kazakhstan

In his address, President Tokayev expressed concern over the demographic situation nationwide, claiming every sixth family in the country can’t have children. In this vein, the Head of State urged to increase the number of quotas under the extracorporal fertilization program sevenfold, that is up to 7,000 quotas.

A new law on the protection of animals will see the light in Kazakhstan soon based on the instruction given by President Tokayev in his address. Tokayev charged the Government together with the civil sector to map out the bill on protection of animals. President Tokayev also suggested abolishing the institute of executive secretaries and carry on the reform of the quasi-public sector. 

Finally, the Head of State gave an instruction to earmark 150 billion tenge (110 billion forints) that will be paid to healthcare workers in the second half of 2020 in order to support them amid the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Free press! Demonstrators in front of prime minister Orbáns residence. Photo: MTI / Zsolt Szigetváry

Dismissal of editor-in-chief leads to staff quitting en masse

Index affair triggers demonstration in Budapest

A demonstration was held in Budapest on Friday evening in protest against the dismissal of the editor-in-chief of news website index.hu, for media freedom.

The protest started at the editorial office in north Buda, then the demonstrators marched to Buda Castle.

László Bodolai, chief of the foundation that exercises the employer’s rights at Index, initiated the dismissal of Szabolcs Dull on Wednesday.

On Friday, the portal announced in a “service statement” that all editors and almost all staff members had decided to quit.

“The journalists of Index have demonstrated that it makes sense having a moral backbone in this country,” András Fekete-Győr, leader of the opposition Momentum party, told the crowd, which filled Szent György Square next to the prime minister’s and the presidential office.

They had to stand up because “100 metres from here there is a cowardly little man who does not dare to face a mirror”, he said, adding that “we are fed up with cowardly politicians and their propagandists.”

“I would like to build a Hungary of brave people, . a country with a free press, an unbiased public media, an independent Academy of Sciences, a country with a Central European University and Index,” Fekete-Győr said.

Independent lawmaker Akos Hadhazy said that “this demonstration should not be the last, the protests should continue”.

He insisted that the senior officials of the public media should be appointed on the basis of consensus.

“There is no regime against which you can’t fight successfully but the stricter the dictatorial rule, the stronger resistance one should put up against it,” he said.

The demonstration was initiated by Momentum and attended by politicians of several left-wing parties.