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Costa Rica Dental Procedures: Achieve a beautiful smile through quality, affordable and proven dentistry.

It's a New Year. Happy 2016!

So are you smiling?

Unfortunately, many of you are holding back that grin due to a lack of self confidence associated with dental issues. Combined with the inability to address them as a result of the often prohibitive cost of dental procedures (especially in the United States and Canada) and it's no wonder you haven't turned that frown upside down.

A 2014 poll conducted on behalf of the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute confirmed that the number 1 reason people did not seek dental care, was cost.

As we have written about before, dental travel to Costa Rica, often referred to as dental tourism, has become a very popular and proven solution for those seeking safe, quality and affordable dental care from select quality dentists and specialists. Patients routinely save 50% - 70% on dental costs.

We regularly assist hundreds of patients who contact us with a variety of dental issues, seeking quality and reliable dentistry. From fillings and crowns to full mouth restoration, almost any dental procedure you need can be addressed in Costa Rica without sacrificing safety or high quality. In fact, almost all patients feel the dental care in Costa Rica exceeds the care they receive at home in the U.S. and Canada.

To give you a general introduction, we highlighted 3 common procedures people travel to Costa Rica to take care of. We included a brief explanation of each procedure as well as the average cost of the dental procedures in Costa Rica compared to the U.S.

Dental Implants in Costa Rica

By a significant margin, dental implants in Costa Rica rank as the number one method for replacing missing teeth for patients traveling to Costa Rica for dental care. This is partially due to the fact that many U.S. dental insurance plans still do not cover dental implants, even though implants are the closest replacement to your natural teeth.

What are they? Dental Implants act as tooth root replacements. Implants are typically made of titanium and look similar to a screw.

The implant(s) are surgically placed under the gum into the jaw at the location of missing teeth. Restoration is completed with a crown or "tooth" that is attached and placed over the implant usually 3-6 months later once the implant has integrated with the bone in your jaw, ensuring stability. Other prosthetic devices such as bridges and dentures can also be attached to dental implants.

What is the cost? Individual dental implants in Costa Rica typically cost $800 per implant. In the U.S., the average can range significantly from $1,500 to $3,000 per implant depending on your dentist and the area you live in. The crown over the implant typically costs $700 in Costa Rica, while it can range from $1,200 - $2,000 in the U.S.

Dental crowns in Costa Rica

Many people are familiar with crowns, also commonly referred to as "caps" by patients.

What are they? A dental crown is shaped like a tooth and placed over an existing tooth to restore shape, size, strength, alignment and/or to ensure proper occlusion (bite). They are typically made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal and Zirconia. Once cemented into place, the crown fully encases the portion of a natural tooth that lies within it.

What is the cost? On average, the cost of a crown ranges between $400 - $525 in Costa Rica depending on the type of material used. In the U.S., on average the pricing ranges from $900 - $2,000 depending on the dentist and which material is used.

Dental bridges in Costa Rica (including implant supported)

Another popular method of replacing missing teeth is a bridge. Unlike implants, bridges will require treating healthy teeth adjacent to the missing teeth in order to support the bridge, unless the bridge is supported by implants.

What are they? Bridges are a fixed prosthetic device commonly used to cover or "bridge" a space if you're missing one or more teeth. They are attached to natural teeth or implants surrounding the space where the teeth once stood, providing stability.

What is the cost? A conventional three-unit bridge in Costa Rica will cost approximately $1,300 and in the U.S. it averages $2,300 - $4,000. If the bridge is supported by dental implants, the cost of the implants would be in addition to the cost of the bridge.

Of course, there are many other procedures available and in future posts we will further highlight and go more in depth regarding treatment options, what the experience is like for you the patient, as well as pros and cons related to each procedure.

Everyone deserves to confidently express happy moments in their life through a warm beautiful smile, without any shame or lack of confidence.

It is a new year. Now is the best time to move forward to achieve a healthy mouth and a smile you can happily share for a lifetime.

Give us a call so we may answer all of your questions and concerns as well as provide you a free consultation and preliminary pricing.

You can reach Costa Rican Dental Solutions by phone toll free at (800) 931-2737 or online at costaricandentalsolutions.com

Dental Work in Costa Rica: High-Quality Services at Affordable Prices

Good oral and dental hygiene can prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. It can also help you retain your original teeth as you get older. Unfortunately, many people avoid the dentist due to an inability to pay.

According to research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40% of adults age 18-64 failed to see a dentist in 2013. To obtain high-quality and affordable services, many people are opting to travel out of the country to obtain their dental work in Costa Rica.

The Central American country has quickly become a popular destination for trusted dental care in a comfortable environment and the savings compared to the U.S. and Canada can be substantial.

In fact, visiting a quality Costa Rican dentist routinely saves travelers 50% - 70% on dental procedures including implants, root canals, veneers, crowns and bridges, among many others.

Best of all, these patients usually receive higher quality dental work in Costa Rica that they would experience back home.

For example, receiving dental implants in Costa Rica is especially popular for those seeking a safe, quality and affordable solution to tooth loss. Unfortunately, many U.S. dental insurance plans won't cover the procedure.

As you may know, dental implants act as replacement tooth roots, providing a strong, stable foundation for fixed or removable replacement teeth, made to look and function like your natural teeth. They can improve the appearance of your smile, slow bone loss and help many patients regain proper eating habits.

A crown (tooth) is attached to the implant usually 3-6 months later after the bone has integrated with the implant.

The cost for full restoration (implant, abutment and crown) in Costa Rica averages $1,500 while in the U.S., the same restoration using the very same trusted dental brands utilized in North America, will typically cost $3,500 or more.

With a qualified Costa Rican provider, you can finally achieve oral health and transform your smile without breaking the bank.

Proven and high quality certified specialists in implants, prosthodontics, endodontics and oral and maxillofacial surgeons are on hand to cater to the various dental needs of each individual patient.

Furthermore, dental care in Costa Rica can be experienced in many internationally accredited clinics, relieving any anxiety patients may have about standards outside their own country.

Traveling to Costa Rica is easy and just 1 to 5 hours by airplane from most major cities in the U.S., making it an excellent choice for people in need of dental procedures ranging from cosmetic to full mouth restoration.

There's no denying that a healthy smile can improve your appearance, boost your confidence, and enhance your professional and personal life. Your smile is often the first thing someone notices when they look at you, and if you're feeling self-conscious about the look of your teeth, it shows.

According the Health Policy Institute of the ADA, dental care utilization in 2012 was at its lowest level among working age adults since the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey tracked dental care use in 1996. Adults who did not plan on visiting the dentist in the upcoming year, cited cost as one of the primary reasons for not seeking care.

Fortunately, quality, inexpensive dental care is in reach and thousands are taking advantage of first class dentistry provided by a professionally trained and certified Costa Rica dentist.

While the lower prices associated with dental work in Costa Rica is what draws many tourists in, it's the quality services, high-grade materials, and friendly and comfortable atmosphere that keeps them coming back again and again. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.

Costa Rica Dental Tourism: Save Money on Your New Smile

Maintaining proper dental care ensures more than just a flashy white smile. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits have been proven to reduce your risk of cavities, as well as associated chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

However, undergoing dental care in the United States is typically very costly, especially if cosmetic or extensive reconstructive work is desired or needed.

At the end of 2012, approximately 40 percent of the U.S. population did not have any dental benefits, according to data published by the National Association of Dental Plans.

For this reason, many individuals are seeking dental services outside their national borders. Commonly referred to as medical or dental travel and tourism, dental work in Costa Rica is offered at a fraction of the average price in the U.S. and the quality typically exceeds care received in North America.

Specifically, Costa Rica dental tourism has experienced a substantial growth in recent years, primarily due to rising healthcare costs in the U.S. and poor or inadequate dental insurance coverage.

Most patients find Costa Rican dentistry to be of a higher standard than what they experience with their local providers back home.

In fact, the World Health Organization ranked Costa Rica one of the top health care systems in Latin America and actually one spot higher than the United States, when they last analyzed the world's healthcare systems several years ago.

To the pleasant surprise and comfort of international patients, dentists in Costa Rica spend more time carefully explaining procedures and patiently answering all questions to ensure you are comfortable and at ease prior to starting your given procedure(s).

Further adding to its attractiveness as a dental destination, Costa Rica is in close proximity to the U.S. and Canada, which makes traveling to receive care easy and hassle-free.

Most major U.S. cities offer daily flights to Costa Rica and just a passport is needed for U.S. and Canadian citizens as well as several other nationalities.

After a fairly short airplane ride, you can be experiencing world class dental care while also enjoying the beautiful landscape, tropical beaches, and lush rainforests Costa Rica is famous for.

Many patients wisely choose to use their extensive dental savings to enjoy a vacation in Costa Rica before, during or after they undergo their dental treatment.

If you do venture away from home for high quality dental care, you'll also be glad to know that Costa Rica dental procedures, materials and equipment are essentially the same as those utilized in leading clinics in the U.S. and Canada.

A surprising little know fact is that many U.S. dental clinics outsource dental work to Costa Rica because of its high quality and low cost. You may have already experienced care here but unfortunately paid much more for it by staying home.

Dental procedures in Costa Rica include numerous general and cosmetic dentistry services, such as teeth whitening, composite fillings, veneers, crowns, bridgework, oral surgery, dentures, and tooth contouring and reshaping.

Receiving dental implants in Costa Rica has become extremely popular and is available for fully or partially edentulous patients.

Many patients also undergo full mouth restorations for less than half of the price of average U.S. rates.

Additionally, you will discover Costa Rica dental tourism is not only popular due to the low cost of quality treatment, but also due to the quality and experience of its staff and facilities.

Most Costa Rica dental clinics that cater to international patients have dentists and staff that speak fluent English, ensuring proper communication between you and your provider.

Costa Rica boasts cosmetic dentists, orthodontists, and other certified dental specialists who have extensive training and experience in the industry and continue to travel worldwide to ensure they remain leaders in quality dental care.

Don't be left out like many individuals who must pay out of pocket for dental procedures that are typically high in price. Unfortunately, many Americans are failing to get the help they need to maintain a healthy and beautiful smile.

This often results in related health problems, lower self-esteem and a lesser quality of life.

Undergoing dental work in Costa Rica is an excellent option if you are in need of high-quality, safe and affordable dental services in a friendly, beautiful and comfortable country.

For more information about Costa Rica dentists and dental procedures, or to receive a free consultation, contact us today.

Costa Rica Dental Care: Can You Trust it? Part 1

There is no question that dental care in North America is incredibly expensive, and according to a 2012 U.S. Senate report, up to 130 million Americans also lack dental insurance[1]

For those who do have coverage, it is typically considered inadequate to meet their needs.

In Canada, dental care is unfortunately excluded from the country’s national system of health insurance and patients often pay hefty out of pocket costs, similar to their U.S. neighbors.

Enter Costa Rica, where many foreign patients are increasingly realizing the benefits of medical and dental tourism. 

You may have come across this growing phenomenon through segments aired on ABC and Fox News or features appearing in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and many other news and media outlets shedding light on this popular alternative to costly medical and dental care in North America.

Large numbers of patients are crossing borders to take advantage of dentistry at costs significantly lower than they can receive in the U.S. or Canada, 50% - 70% in most cases. 

Before, during and/or after treatment, most dental patients can also soak in the phenomenal natural beauty and numerous activities Costa Rica is famous for. 

But is traveling for dentistry in Costa Rica safe? 

Online, you can find an abundance of material regarding dental care in Costa Rica.  In fact, a Google search for dental Costa Rica produces over 8 million results. 

Although access to so much information can be encouraging to curious prospective patients or those already eager to hop on a plane, it is still an overwhelming and intimidating experience determining who to trust with your teeth.  

A routine visit to the family dentist is already a source of anxiety for many people, let alone traveling to Central America to visit a dentist they have never met.

If you are considering this as a potential option, we’ve addressed the most common questions and fears many people have when deciding to venture to this beautiful country for the significant savings and first class dentistry that can be achieved here.

We hope the answers in addition to essential tips we provide, will assist you in making an informed decision as to whether traveling for dental care is a good option for you.

Before we start, it should be noted that in Costa Rica, as anywhere else in the world, there are quality dentists, bad dentists and those that are more interested in other things, (like your money). 

Prospective patients should always ask many questions and do their homework regarding dentists and clinics they are considering. 

North American patients seem to take this seriously when traveling for dental care, yet not when receiving treatment from their local providers at home. 

We actually see many more incidents of aggressive dentists recommending unnecessary procedures in the United States than we do in Costa Rica. 


How does overall care in Costa Rica compare to the United States?

The last time the World Health Organization evaluated health care systems around the world, Costa Rica ranked one spot higher than the United States. 

With regard to dentistry, Costa Rica has been recognized as a premier destination for high quality dentistry with low infection and complication rates, similar to the States.

Costa Rica also has many dental clinics that are internationally accredited (AAAHC or AAAASF), and it is home to two JCI internationally accredited hospitals - fairly impressive for a country with a population of under 5 million. 

The country is known for its stable democracy, close proximity and ties to the United States, as well as many expats from North American who call Costa Rica their home.

Most patients who have experienced dental care in Costa Rica are astounded by the quality and price as well as the amount of genuine care and concern they receive compared to dentists in North America. 

They take the time to examine you carefully, patiently explaining your treatment plan and addressing any questions or concerns you may have. Most North American patients comment on how they did not feel rushed and how the doctor or dentist genuinely seemed to care about their wellbeing before, during and after treatment. 


Are Costa Rican dentists similarly trained and qualified compared to U.S. dentists?

Dentists in Costa Rica spend 4 years at one of three nationally accredited private dental schools or 6 years if receiving their dental education at the renowned University of Costa Rica (UCR), a public institution.

If wishing to specialize in an area of dentistry (prosthodontics, endodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery etc.), dental students will spend a varying number of additional years to also become a licensed, certified specialist in that particular area.

In the U.S., students typically have a bachelor’s degree before entering dental school.  Their dental education will also last 4 years before taking board exams and becoming licensed.  They too will spend additional years to specialize in one of 9 areas of dentistry the American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes[2].

The duration and curriculum of the dental education between the two countries is somewhat similar.  Except for public UCR, the private Costa Rican dental schools do not require many of the general education requirements common to a U.S. Bachelor’s degree.  

In both countries, dental students generally spend their first two years of dental education studying basic and biological sciences and their orientation to dentistry.  The last two years are typically concentrated on clinical study, treating patients under the supervision of instructors.  

Many Costa Rican dentists, especially those who focus on international patients, have received some dental education from the United States.  Several have received graduate dental degrees from leading colleges and universities there. 

They also continue to travel to North America and abroad to remain current with the latest techniques, technology and dental materials utilized in the industry.


What are the price differences for procedures?

Prices for dental procedures are typically 50% - 70% cheaper than in North America.  Dental implants for example, which are not covered by many North American dental insurance plans, cost approximately $800 in Costa Rica compared to $1,500 or more in the States.  Porcelain crowns commonly priced around $900 – $1,200 in the U.S, are typically priced between $400 and $500 in Costa Rica.

For your convenience, you can click the following link to review comparison pricing of these and other common dental procedures. 


Why are prices so much lower in Costa Rica?

There are numerous reasons why pricing is dramatically lower for dental care in Costa Rica than in the United States or Canada.  Primarily, Costa Rica’s economy is vastly different and dentists here pay much lower overhead costs including staff wages, clinic/property rental fees, etc.

Additionally, many international manufacturers of dental materials utilize variable pricing based on different global economies.  A quality brand name implant or crown for a Costa Rican dentist typically costs less than what an American or Canadian dentist pays for the exact same implant or crown.

Although it is changing, most dentists in Costa Rica still do not carry malpractice insurance so this is another cost not passed on to the patient. 

Lack of malpractice insurance may initially cause some patients to pause, but it should be noted that there are low incidences of claims for dental malpractice in Costa Rica.  The country also tends to be much less litigious than in the U.S, minimizing the necessity of this type of insurance. 


Are the dental materials used in Costa Rica of lesser quality than in the U.S. and Canada?

Quality dentists in Costa Rica use the same proven and respected brands of materials as the finest dentists in North America.  Except for the lower price you pay as a patient, there is no difference in quality. 

Popular brands for implants include Zimmer and MIS.  Porcelain crowns and veneers from E.max and Empress are among other popular brands featured in both countries and used by quality and experienced dentists.

A little known fact is that you may already be experiencing Costa Rican dentistry without even knowing it.  Some U.S. dentists and clinics outsource their work to dental labs in Costa Rica. 

The new crowns or bridge you just received from your U.S. dentist may have originally come from Costa Rica, but now with double or triple the price tag.


What happens if I get home and experience any problems?

Understandably, this is probably the biggest concern for most patients considering dental care in Costa Rica or anywhere else in the world, for that matter. 

As mentioned before, infection or complication rates are similar to the U.S.  For example, dental implants have a failure rate of about 4% or less in the United States and this is no different in Costa Rica.  Under similar conditions, if your implant fails in Costa Rica, it is quite possible it would have failed in the U.S. as well.

The prospect of having a costly or large procedure repeated once you are back home and far from the dentist who performed the procedure, is extremely rare when receiving care from a qualified provider in Costa Rica. 

In almost all cases, Costa Rican dentists are willing and eager to resolve any dental issues at no additional cost.  Prior to treatment, you can also inquire regarding guarantees they provide for their work and the materials used for your given procedure (crowns, implants, bridges, etc.).  Guarantees range from 5–10 years and sometimes a lifetime, depending on the dentist and procedure.

These guarantees do not include travel costs necessary for the patient to return to Costa Rica for treatment. 

If you do encounter any problems after returning home, most Costa Rican dentists who treat foreign patients are very accessible by phone to address any follow up concerns from patients. 

Immediate post-procedure issues are commonly related to tenderness in the area where the procedure was performed, which typically only requires additional time for healing.

Other cases can include patients who have returned home and after some healing has occurred (from receiving crowns for example), their bite feels a bit off.  In these instances, a simple visit to their regular dentist for minor adjustments may be required.

In our experience, most patients have no issue with this, as it is a commonly related occurrence whether receiving care at home or in Costa Rica. 

A visit to their regular dentist for a slight adjustment or minimal treatment, pales in comparison to the significant savings the patient has enjoyed in Costa Rica.  However, most patients do not experience any issues after returning home, except perhaps for a heavier wallet.

Patients with health issues need to consider any risks associated with travel in general.  Average flight times to Costa Rica are from 3-6 hours from most major U.S. cities and there are many direct flights.

Part 2 of  "Costa Rica Dental Care: Can You Trust It" will address the folowing questions:

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

-  How do I find safe, quality providers? (on your own vs. using a facilitator or consultant)

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

Read Part 2 by clicking here

You can use the sign up form on this page to receive future informative posts regarding dentistry and Costa Rica.  

[1] Sanders, Bernie, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging U.S. “Dental Crisis in America: The Need to Expand Access”, sanders.senate.gov. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions. February 29, 2012. Web

[2] American Dental Association. “Dental Specialties”, ada. American Dental Association. n.d. Web 

 
Receive a free estimate based on your dental needs as well as much more information regarding dentistry in Costa Rica by visiting our website costaricandentalsolutions.com, or by calling 800-931-2737.