A woman who would never smile in photos because of her unreliable teeth traveled 28,000 miles for a dental treatment in Budapest – and now says she never stops grinning.
Olive Bruce, 61, was having problems with her NHS dentist near Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, looking at alternative options for her daughter’s 2003 wedding.
She found treatment in Budapest, Hungary, costing about half of private treatment in the UK.
Mother of four Olive grew up so self-conscious of her teeth that she would never smile for a camera, and wanted her teeth fixed for wedding photos.
In elementary school, she had fallen into a water fountain and twisted a front tooth, causing nerves to wrap around the tooth, leading her to undergo major surgery and be told her upper teeth would only last five years.
And she vetoed suggestions for a false tooth as the big day approached.
Olive discovered a clinic in Budapest, Hungary, which treated British patients at up to 70 percent cheaper than private dentistry prices in the UK, and was located above a garage.
Since then she has been to Budapest 12 times, covering a total of 27,960 miles.
She traveled to Budapest with two friends and was initially disheartened by the quiet set-up – which has now expanded to two purpose-built clinics.
But Olive said she’d never seen such a hygienic clinic and is now incorporating dental work into her vacation plans — and hopes to go back in February.
Olive said: “When I first went it was my husband who suggested it, he did some research.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into, it was a culture shock.
“It was above a garage, but it was the most hygienic clinic.
“Peter has done all my treatments and he is fantastic.
“My friends and I take a vacation between January and February, the flights are so cheap.
“It’s been a year since I’ve been back.
“I decided to have a new bridge fitted with seven prongs costing £2,400.
“I got a private consultation in the UK and for four teeth it was £4,000, that was 17 years ago.
“When I was little, I never smiled in pictures.
“I always said that if I had money I would get my teeth fixed.
“I put it on a credit card.
“I couldn’t stop smiling because I had such beautiful teeth.
“The first time I got married, I wasn’t smiling in the wedding photos.”
After Olive’s first consultation, a tooth was extracted.
She returned three months later for ten days for her dental reconstruction surgery and upper and lower bridge work.
She was delighted with the results, as was her dentist back home, describing it as “first class work”.
All in all, the cost was £2,400, more than 50 per cent cheaper than she quoted in the UK.
The work had a five-year warranty, but Olive was lucky enough to have it for 17 years.
Olive said, “When I got up it was completely different.
“The staff were fantastic who made me feel relaxed, including my dentist.
“I couldn’t afford to have work done privately at home, not with four kids and one married.”
She regularly flew to Budapest for a check-up and also a weekend away.
Olive returned in January this year as she had broken a tooth that was part of a bridge during the pandemic, meaning she had to see a UK dentist instead, but was disappointed.
She said: “It was my own fault when I was eating a fudge, which I don’t normally do.
“It cost a fortune and it just kept coming.”
In January 2022, with travel restrictions lifted, Olive returned to Kreativ and received a low-cost repair.
And she said the dentistry is so subtle that anyone would think it’s natural rather than dazzling white teeth.
She said: “My Kreativ dentist fixed the tooth for £120.
“Even with the cost of the work, flights and hotel, it was still less than half what it would have cost me back home.
“And since the original warranty was ten years, I thought I had done a good job.
“People say ‘you have nice teeth’.
“I’m happy with them.”
Olive plans her next trip to Budapest – for her annual checkup – even though she has no problems.
She added: “I’ve started looking up cheap flights because you can’t get a dentist appointment here in Scotland for love or money.
“If you get one, it will cost a fortune.”