Part 2 Costa Rica Dental Care: Can You Trust It?

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Part 2 Costa Rica Dental Care: Can You Trust It?

In addition to addressing other common questions,  Part 2 of this post will primarily focus on how patients can find and determine quality dentists in Costa Rica on their own or through using a consultant or facilitator.

If you missed Part 1 of this article, click here

We want to ensure you have an understanding of how dentistry works in Costa Rica and provide you with the proper tools to determine quality dental care.  

This will save you money, time and minimize risk related to any issues with your treatment.  "Knowledge is power " is especially true when it comes to your oral health and traveling for treamtent.
 

How do I find safe, quality providers?

Much of the information we have provided regarding dental care in Costa Rica is related to utilizing quality dentists, but you still must first identify them. 

This can be challenging, considering there are currently over 5,000 licensed and certified dentists in Costa Rica.

Patients typically choose providers through extensive online research on their own or by utilizing an individual or service like Costa Rican Dental Solutions, typically referred to as facilitators or medical/dental travel consultants.  Some choose providers through direct referral from a family member or friend.
 

Using Consultants, Facilitators-

Good facilitators are invaluable to the prospective patient.  They take the guesswork out of identifying safe, leading dentists through detailed knowledge of dentists and dentistry in the specific country or countries they specialize in.

They can save prospective patients weeks or months of research typically needed in the search process.

These individuals and organizations should be extremely knowledgeable about leading dentists, clinics and national laws and regulations concerning dentistry. 

They should also be knowledgeable about cultural issues, accommodations and other tourist related concerns in order to provide patients a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience during their stay.

Deciphering the vast amount of anecdotal and often manipulated information available on the internet, facilitators are a wealth of information through their local experience and expertise, frequently providing details and guidance patients cannot discover on their own. 

They have pre-screened and evaluated dentists and clinics to ensure they are safe, in good standing, and have a track record of providing quality dental care and service to  patients.

In the case of Costa Rican Dental Solutions, we spent approximately 3 years to understand and evaluate all aspects of dentistry in Costa Rica before welcoming our first guest. 

After carefully prescreening and selecting the best dentists and certified specialists based on several criteria, we also independently verified the professional and educational credentials of the dentists to ensure patients receive treatment from safe, reputable and proven providers.  Regarding clinics, all of them are internationally accredited.

We also reviewed, and continue to review feedback from our patients and thousands of other prior patients to ensure we only work with dentists who consistently provide quality dental care, evidenced by a history of happy, satisfied patients.

If you plan on using a facilitator, you should ask many questions to feel comfortable and confident when utilizing their services. 

How long has the facilitator been in business?  How many and what types of dentists do they work with?  How is the facilitator compensated? Are they based in the same country you will be receiving treatment? What criteria was used in prescreening dentists and clinics? Can they provide references?

These are just a few of many important questions. After speaking with them and evaluating their services, you will most likely have a good idea whether or not you wish to work with them.

Quality facilitators will provide you preliminary pricing and estimates free of charge based on your specific dental needs. 

They should not be diagnosing your condition and recommending treatment.  This should only be done by a licensed, certified dentist and then provided to the patient via the facilitator or directly from the provider.
 

On your own

You can find Costa Rican dentists and clinics on your own but be prepared to spend a lengthy amount of time both online and on the phone. 

Prospective patients should start by doing as much internet research as possible, reading testimonials and any other information available.

They should visit and consider joining one or more of the many free online forums dedicated to patients seeking dentistry in Costa Rica.  TripAdvisor and Topix are two such sites featuring these types of forums.

There is an overwhelming amount of dentist and clinic websites to choose from, as well as thousands of patient testimonials praising or condemning specific providers. 

It is suspected that some clinics employ marketing individuals who prowl sites and forums, acting as former patients in order to submit content favorable to their employer, or unflattering to competitors. 

This obviously creates a murkier environment for patients seeking to identify trusted care.

When reading posts, check to see if the person posting has one or more previous submissions on the forum or site and take a look at what they have written. 

You most likely will be able to form an opinion whether or not this is someone who appears genuine.  You should engage and ask questions to further assist you in your search.

You can of course contact clinics and speak directly to the dentist(s) you are considering. Dentists treating international patients speak English and usually have English-speaking staff. You can ask all of your related dental questions and also ask for references. 

The dentist will most likely provide you with prior patients who were thrilled with their treatment, but this is still another useful tool to aid you in your decision making process.

Another great resource for patients is the website for the Colegio de Cirujanos Dentistas de Costa Rica, the government body which licenses and oversees dentists in the country.

Their website lists all licensed dentists and specialists in the country as well as any dentists who are currently suspended. 

You can also find a price list with the minimum pricing dentists must adhere to for various procedures. If dentists are charging less, this can be a red flag.  The website is in Spanish but your browser (Google for example) can translate the site to English.
 

If I believe the dentist was negligent or at fault, what type of recourse do I have?

As mentioned in Part 1 of this post, Costa Rican dentists are eager to address any concerns you may have regarding the treatment you received, usually free of charge. 

Beyond their truly genuine desire to ensure you are satisfied, they almost certainly want to avoid any bad press that can appear on the internet and through social media, which could potentially tarnish their reputation and affect future business.

However, if you feel the dentist is at fault and you can’t reach an agreement, or you are not interested in having the provider attempt to resolve the issue, you can contact the Colegio de Cirujanos Dentistas de Costa Rica, Costa Rica’s version of the American Dental Association. 

The Colegio licenses and oversees all dentists in Costa Rica and ensures they abide by all local and national regulations.  They too want to make sure any issues you have are resolved to your satisfaction. 

They will mediate between you and the dentist and potentially provide access to another provider or recommend a solution that is satisfactory to you. 

It should be noted many staff members of the Colegio do not speak English so you should be prepared to utilize your command of Spanish or have a local or Spanish-speaking friend assist you when approaching them to initially report a complaint.

If you are still unsatisfied, you can file charges against the dentist in a Costa Rican court of law.  Please be advised that you will need a Costa Rican attorney for this and all legal documents must be submitted in Spanish. 

It can take several years and considerable costs for a case to be resolved in the Costa Rican legal system. 

If you prevail, the dentist may be suspended, have his/her license revoked and the clinic may be shut down in conjunction with the Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health), depending on the severity and nature of the charges.

It is rare that patients have any issues, especially rising to the level of approaching the Colegio or filing charges.   The vast majority of patients are extremely satisfied and delighted with the dental care they receive in Costa Rica.

Will I be able to sightsee and enjoy Costa Rica while I am there for treatment?

Beside quality and affordable dentistry, the great benefit of traveling to Costa Rica is to enjoy the phenomenal beauty of this country. 

Most dental patients have little or no recovery time and can use the immense savings from their dental care to enjoy sights and activities including rain forests, tropical beaches, volcanoes, hot springs, zip lining, whitewater rafting and a host of other world renowned features. 

Even patients receiving complete mouth restoration can usually find at least a day between appointments to take time and experience some of the country.  Of course, you can always come a few days before or after treatment to explore.
 

Why sacrifice your money and smile?

Your oral health and smile are extremely important to your wellbeing both physically and emotionally.  

If you feel cost is preventing you from acheiving necessary or desired dental care, you owe it to yourself and your financial health to use the information and tools we have provided in these posts and at least investigate other options available to you. 

The beauty of dental tourism in Costa Rica is that almost all dental patients return home with healthy new smiles and extra money in their pockets, even after adding the cost of air, hotel and other travel related expenses.

Why not combine a vacation and dental care for the same price or less than you would pay for just the procedures if staying home?

Whether you use a service like Costa Rican Dental Solutions, or you venture on your own, you can discover dentistry that commonly meets and exceeds dental care back home while costing you significantly less.  Definitely something to smile about.

Until our next post, we look forward to hearing from you with any questions. feedback or suggestions for future posts.

You can receive a free estimate based on your dental needs as well as much more information regarding dentistry in Costa Rica by visiting costaricandentalsolutions.com
You also can email us at info@costaricandentalsolutions.com
or call us toll free at 800-931-2737.