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Dental Tourism

User Level:
Patient
Posted by: toomuchsoda  (7 years ago)
Hello! I am in need of some dental work done and if anyone is in a particularly helpful mood today I would appreciate any info, opinions and/or recommendations on medical/dental tourism in Costa Rica.

I have been to CR now a couple of times. I know some people in the Santa Teresa/ Mal Pais area. But, naturally I would most likely have any of this done in San Jose. I just have never had to deal with anything more than a rental car agency there, nevermind a medical professional.

I was brushing and a portion of one of my wisdom teeth broke away and there is decay there, and also in the 2 other wisdom teeth which are I think are only partially broken through or impacted. I haven't been to the dentist in quite a while and further was told that I would additionally need 2 crowns and about 11 fillings. I never knew I was in such bad shape.

Now, here in the US the oral surgeon said $1600 for the extraction of all 4 wisdom teeth, including general anesthesia nite-nite time. I am not sure what the extractions would cost in CR and actually don't quite know if I am comfortable with that procedure there, general anesthesia and all.

The crowns and fillings might be a good option to have done in CR though. Here, the crowns are $820 a piece and the fillings are about $140. In CR the crowns are about $400 each and the fillings are about $100. Am I right about this? If so, there's not much saving on the fillings to fly down there about, but the total cost of the crowns here is $1640 and in CR $800. And that's fairly motivating.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has any general recommendations about having this done, or if it is advisable to do so.

I would also appreciate anyone who has experience with this to recommend to me a good dentist. That's difficult to do online. I have been looking at Dentavac. It seems to be a nice, modern facility.

Thank You!
User Level:
Dentist
Hello! I am in need of some dental work done and if anyone is in a particularly helpful mood today I would appreciate any info, opinions and/or recommendations on medical/dental tourism in Costa Rica.

I have been to CR now a couple of times. I know some people in the Santa Teresa/ Mal Pais area. But, naturally I would most likely have any of this done in San Jose. I just have never had to deal with anything more than a rental car agency there, nevermind a medical professional.

I was brushing and a portion of one of my wisdom teeth broke away and there is decay there, and also in the 2 other wisdom teeth which are I think are only partially broken through or impacted. I haven't been to the dentist in quite a while and further was told that I would additionally need 2 crowns and about 11 fillings. I never knew I was in such bad shape.

Now, here in the US the oral surgeon said $1600 for the extraction of all 4 wisdom teeth, including general anesthesia nite-nite time. I am not sure what the extractions would cost in CR and actually don't quite know if I am comfortable with that procedure there, general anesthesia and all.

The crowns and fillings might be a good option to have done in CR though. Here, the crowns are $820 a piece and the fillings are about $140. In CR the crowns are about $400 each and the fillings are about $100. Am I right about this? If so, there's not much saving on the fillings to fly down there about, but the total cost of the crowns here is $1640 and in CR $800. And that's fairly motivating.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has any general recommendations about having this done, or if it is advisable to do so.

I would also appreciate anyone who has experience with this to recommend to me a good dentist. That's difficult to do online. I have been looking at Dentavac. It seems to be a nice, modern facility.

Thank You!


I have met some good dentists in Costa Rica. However, the work I have seen on American patients treated there is not particularly good. Patients have a knack for choosing bad dentists overseas.

I always see foreign tourist-dentists doing composite resins on back teeth, which do not hold up well. As far as crowns, the problem in Latin America is few dentists know the metal content they are using in their crowns. They just use whatever is cheapest. Hardly ever is gold, silver, or palladium used. Only cheap base metal alloys.

As far as your wisdom teeth are concerned, why not go to a GP in the United States and save money? IV sedation for the average wisdom tooth extraction is overkill. What if you have unusual post-op problems? No one in the US will treat your post-op problems for free. Can you afford to stay in Costa Rica for two weeks during healing? Sometimes problems take that long to resolve.

How do you really know you need crowns anyway? Is it a real need, or is somebody trying to hustle you? I see patients all the time who have been told they need crowns on back teeth, and a simple amalgam is all that is needed, if that.

How do you really know you need 11 fillings? Does he/she just want to replace perfectly good amalgams with composites? Again, how do you know you are not being hustled?

The mistake I see most patients make is they go overseas and are enamored by the low price, so get a lot of dental work done that they really do not need. So they don't really save any money.
Posted 7 years ago
User Level:
Patient
Posted by: toomuchsoda  (7 years ago)
Thank you Kim Henry, that was a lot of good info and food for thought. The reason (I think) so many people choose the wrong dentist in CR is that they look on travel forum boards and you can see the same people going out of their way to recommend someone. They're likely on the payroll, an employee or something. At least that's what posters are saying. A good, repuatable office would not need to do that...

Below I have some further questions (surprise!).. Now, I know you are very busy but if you can offer any advice to any of the follow up questions (even a couple) I would be beyond appreciative. Thanks for taking the time to just help someone else out!


I have met some good dentists in Costa Rica. However, the work I have seen on American patients treated there is not particularly good. Patients have a knack for choosing bad dentists overseas.

If you have met some good dentists practicing in CR, I would so appreciate a referral to one if you could PM or reply to this thread with that info!!!!!


I always see foreign tourist-dentists doing composite resins on back teeth, which do not hold up well.

It seems that, according to my treatment plan from the US dentist I saw that composite resins will be used, although those seem not to be the back teeth, however.
See this treatment plan and cost sheet... I'm probably reading it wrong. --- http://imageshack.us/f/594/treatplan.jpg/


As far as crowns, the problem in Latin America is few dentists know the metal content they are using in their crowns. They just use whatever is cheapest. Hardly ever is gold, silver, or palladium used. Only cheap base metal alloys.

Which is it that matches the natural look of the tooth, but also holds up? According to the web page for crowns at the office I was looking at they state:
"If you need Costa Rica dental crown work done, you have the choice to use gold crowns or porcelain crowns or a mixture of both known as a pfm crown (porcelain fused to metal)."
I'm lost here.


As far as your wisdom teeth are concerned, why not go to a GP in the United States and save money? IV sedation for the average wisdom tooth extraction is overkill. What if you have unusual post-op problems? No one in the US will treat your post-op problems for free. Can you afford to stay in Costa Rica for two weeks during healing? Sometimes problems take that long to resolve.

Do you mean General Practitioner Dentist? The one I saw was the one who referred me to the oral surgeon. So apparently he didn't want to do it. Could that be because some are impacted and also the fact they are the wisdom teeth?
Here is a copy of the Panoramic Xray from the oral surgeon... -- http://imageshack.us/f/232/008600.jpg/

I also asked whether general anethesia was needed for the extractions. It's $365 for the first 30 min and then a further charge for additional time, if needed. He said that when it's wisdom teeth there can be a lot of pulling and so forth, coupled with the fact I will need all 4 extracted, so recommened General Anethesia....
Here is the treatment plan.. -- http://imageshack.us/f/850/005uul.jpg/

How do you really know you need crowns anyway? Is it a real need, or is somebody trying to hustle you? I see patients all the time who have been told they need crowns on back teeth, and a simple amalgam is all that is needed, if that.

Yeah I was concerned about that! I'm a layman here, how would I know?
See this also -- http://imageshack.us/f/832/xrays600.jpg/


How do you really know you need 11 fillings? Does he/she just want to replace perfectly good amalgams with composites? Again, how do you know you are not being hustled?

Same here as above! I've only had but one filling in my life.

THANK YOU!! very much.
User Level:
Dentist
If you have met some good dentists practicing in CR, I would so appreciate a referral to one if you could PM or reply to this thread with that info!!!!!

I cannot remember their addresses. However, I can refer you to a very good dentist in El Salvador. He was my wife's dentist before she married me. His treatment is as good a quality as mine is.

It seems that, according to my treatment plan from the US dentist I saw that composite resins will be used, although those seem not to be the back teeth, however.

Resins are fine for front teeth. They are safe to use on back teeth only if fairly small. But their life is still not what you can expect from amalgam and gold inlays.

Which is it that matches the natural look of the tooth, but also holds up? According to the web page for crowns at the office I was looking at they state:
"If you need Costa Rica dental crown work done, you have the choice to use gold crowns or porcelain crowns or a mixture of both known as a pfm crown (porcelain fused to metal)."
I'm lost here.

On ANY crowns that contain metal, you need to know the metal content. This is usually supplied by the alloy manufacturer. Base metal crowns are best avoided. Gold palladium and silver palladium alloys are a good choice.


Do you mean General Practitioner Dentist? The one I saw was the one who referred me to the oral surgeon. So apparently he didn't want to do it. Could that be because some are impacted and also the fact they are the wisdom teeth?

It is probably because he did not have the experience. Try a GP dentist who was in the military. They know how to take out wisdom teeth. However, yours may be so unusually difficult that no GPs want to do them. Can't say without seeing the x-ray.

I also asked whether general anesthesia was needed for the extractions. It's $365 for the first 30 min and then a further charge for additional time, if needed. He said that when it's wisdom teeth there can be a lot of pulling and so forth, coupled with the fact I will need all 4 extracted, so recommened General Anesthesia....

We extract wisdom teeth all the time with oral Valium, nitrous oxide, and local injections. An IV is one step further, but overkill for most people.


Yeah I was concerned about that! I'm a layman here, how would I know?

And if you do have to have a crown, especially on a lower teeth, an excellent dentist can do a gold onlay, which is much less destructive of tooth structure than porcelain crown.

How do you really know you need 11 fillings? Does he/she just want to replace perfectly good amalgams with composites? Again, how do you know you are not being hustled?

Same here as above! I've only had but one filling in my life.

The only way to verify is get a second opinion. See if you can find a dentist who is a member of the Academy of Operative Dentistry.

Posted 7 years ago
User Level:
Student
Posted by: FlyToAGreatSmile  (7 years ago)
Costa Rica, on the other hand, has a very high quality standards for dental treatment. You can choose internationally certified clinics and plan a pleasant vacation to bring out your best smile while you save money . If you like, I can send you the link to our website as our main priority is to make sure our clients have a great experience as we provide full dental tourism services that includes pre-trip, on-trip, and post-trip attention.
User Level:
Dentist
Costa Rica, on the other hand, has a very high quality standards for dental treatment. You can choose internationally certified clinics and plan a pleasant vacation to bring out your best smile while you save money . If you like, I can send you the link to our website as our main priority is to make sure our clients have a great experience as we provide full dental tourism services that includes pre-trip, on-trip, and post-trip attention.

You cannot generalize like that. I have been to dental conventions all over the world. El Salvador has some very good dentists. Colombia has some very good dentists. Eastern Europe does also, and more dentists speak English.

The problem is along with these good dentists, there are many more of abysmal quality. The range of ability is VERY large in third world countries.

As I have stated before, the problem is knowing what alloys are being used. Very rarely are gold, platinum, and palladium containing alloys used in third world countries
Posted 7 years ago
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