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Taking care of your smile!

By Inese Timuka . 03.03.2010

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In order to find out what has changed and which treatments are on offer in the dentist’s chair, we visited the Svenata and Dentiks dental clinics.

Taking into consideration the breathtaking speed of our lives, in which every minute is precious, why not combine the pleasant with the practical and visit a dentist while on vacation?
As there are so many Latvians working abroad, the inflow of foreign patients is growing ever stronger, due to good mouth-to-mouth recommendations. Due to the high treatment fees at home, this is not equal to the high quality of service received. Another factor stimulating such a phenomenon is the long waiting times for treatment in patients’ home countries, while in Riga a visit can be scheduled within a few days, or a couple of weeks at the most.
Experts we spoke to confirmed that specialists have become better available for their patients and their schedules are not as tight as they were only a year or two ago. In a recession, regular patients are more reluctant to spend money on dental treatment, and the time between stages of treatments are getting longer and longer.
The global downturn has already forced several changes in the city’s professional medical scene, in a positive sense. However, the standards of service at the clinics differ.
“There are around 30-40 European-level clinics in Riga,” said Dr Leonids Velkovics, head of Svenata dental clinic, at the beginning of our interview. This clinic was established 11 years ago, and its array of foreign patients is already broad.
“Last year we had patients from Norway to Malta, from the USA to New Zealand. And the total number of foreigners coming to us is increasing.”
Gary Itkins, head doctor at another clinic, Dentiks, which has a 15-year experience, says that his number of patients now exceeds 6,000 people coming  “On the first visit they are surprised by the high quality of treatment in our clinic. Then our patients tell all about the Dentiks clinic to their friends and relatives, as our patients' healthy smile is the best advertising," he said.



It is possible to find different clinics in Riga, starting from single cabinets with only one doctor to sizable centers of dentistry working as part of big hospitals. The question arises: how to find a suitable health service if you don’t have much knowledge about Latvian medicine?
Dr Itkins recommends looking at the bigger clinics where a variety of specialists are working.
“Most of the patients don’t know what kind of treatments will be necessary. Tooth pains can lead to more complicated treatment issues.”
The key success of the Dentiks clinic, he says, is its exceptional and highly experienced specialists – endodontists, periodontists, orthodontists, prosthodontists, surgeons, therapy specialists and dental hygienists working in a team. Dentiks is the only clinic in Latvia equipped with 3D computer tomography allowing for implants in inaccessible places and a special microscope that improves the process of root canal treatment. However, most important is the fact that the clinic does not simply own these machines but knows perfectly how to work with them too, improving the standard of dental care immensely.
Dr Velkovics also assured us that dentistry is a team sport. It is important, he said, that doctors have the chance to consult with colleagues, to ascertain the best solution for the patient.
At Svenata they have their own dental laboratory, which eases the clinic’s work and adds more speed. The orders are ready in a shorter period of time to the prosthetic jobs.
“We produce all kinds of dentures that exist around the world including the latest termoplastic and Valaplast.” He continued: “We guarantee that every patient will get a package approach, and we are aware of and apply all the latest treatment methods available elsewhere in Europe.“
Not only are the methods the very latest, the materials used for treatments are state-of-the-art, he added. “We use the latest bone replacements as part of periodontitis treatment and in implantology. At our clinic we do everything teeth-related, except for large-scale tooth and face surgery.”




Asked which the most popular services are, Dr Itkins said: “The biggest demand is still for surgical implantations. These make up around 30 percent of all treatments.”
But he suggested that patients shouldn't hurry to remove damaged teeth and
replace them with artificial ones as there are other treatments. “In our clinic, thanks to the use of microsurgical equipment, it is possible to save hopeless teeth."
 "Leonids Velkovics agreed with his colleague and said that patients should be informed about all possibilities, not only the most expensive. As there are never any guarantees in the field of medicine, patients should be fully informed about the prognosis and the statistics for treatments.
In both clinics we were told that the maximum is done to prevent the possibility of getting hepatitis and other diseases as the clinics follow the highest standards of hygiene and sterilization.



As the old adage goes, “You get what you pay for”, and when you’re bargain-hunting you should be aware of how such phenomenal discounts are achieved. The service price is rather expensive due to the use of expensive equipment and pricey materials. The factor that makes a difference in Latvia is the cost of labor.
Dr Itkins suggests looking at dental health over the long term and evaluating the price-quality ratio.

“Patients should always remember that the cheapest doesn’t necessarily mean the best or the most efficient,” he said.
In their desire to economize, patients sometimes resist visiting the dentist unless the pain is unbearable. Dr Velkovics commented on the notion by saying that it is not wise to wait till the very last moment, as it results into spending larger sums of money than compared to those that could’ve been spent if the person chose to come for a check-up. “Speaking of preventative measures, a visit to an oral hygienist is an excellent example. A Clean oral cavity ensures a diminished amount of problems with your teeth, gums and tongue.
Moreover, our clinic’s patients can always rely on our doctors’ offering them the best solutions not only health- but also money-wise, i.e. the patient’s financial state is always taken into account. For example, we have found a way to make prosthodontics more cost-effective, since today we not only use classic materials, such as pure ceramic or metal ceramic, but also a newer class of materials, such as DurAcetal - a thermoplastic that is absolutely health-friendly and looks almost like porcelain as far as cosmetics is concerned. The price, however, is half the price for porcelain (ceramics).”
We were told that clinics like Dentiks are able to buy the best equipment available on the market, such as the CEREC system, which provides perfect cosmetic results in a single visit, which is very important to foreign patients.
Nevertheless, in conclusion it seems that the potential for dental tourism in Latvia is still high. It is up to the individual clinics how many patients they will attract. But to readers we remind that this country is part of the European Union, ensuring that all medical services including dentistry are of the highest order, provided by talented and educated specialists.
Add to this the fluency in multiple languages including English, Russian, German, and sometimes Italian and French, and you can clearly see a bright future for the treatment of foreign dental tourists – and all for a fraction of the price in Western Europe. Medicine and relaxation welcomes new clients to Latvia! Try it out for yourself!


h6Dnau4bP 26.10.2015 06:58

This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for wriignt!


gary seaton 08.03.2016 02:25

I am in need of a implant and tooth if there is enough bone, can this be accomplished in a few weeks during my travels?



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