I currently work in dentistry (my day job) as a registered dental hygienist. On any given day, I have patients that need extensive dental work that they cannot afford to get done. The reason simply, is cost. Even for patients that have dental insurance, the prices are extremely expensive, and out of reach, for many.
There may be a perfect solution to this problem.
Many people have discovered that you can get dental treatment in other countries, for as much as three times less than in the US or Canada. I myself, see a number of patients, who are expats from other countries, such as Brazil, Costa Rica and Philippines, for example, who only get their check-ups and cleanings here, in the US, and if needing any other dental work, to be done in their country of origin. Why? The prices are hard to beat.
If you knew you could get the same treatment for more than half off wouldn’t you? Of course you would. This is a no brainer. But I know what you are thinking. I was thinking the same thing.
Is the dentistry as good?
Yes, the US has extremely high standards in healthcare, but that doesn’t mean they are the only ones. Many other countries also offer high quality dental and healthcare. If you are still wary of this, take into consideration that there are many dentists practicing in these countries that have been educated in the United States; meaning, they have learned dentistry according to our caliber of standards.
Even with me being in the dental field, I too, have to consider this as an option. Firstly, I need a crown. I have needed a crown for about a year now. I am supposed to get free dental care, but with said, my dentist has to be willing to take the time, pay an assistant for their time, while implementing my dental treatment. This is fine, if your dentist is generous and compliant with this benefit. Unfortunately, my dentist is not. I got excuse after excuse, why he didn’t have time today, or the next time we were to do it, so many times, excuse after excuse, that I got sick of asking. Another one of my many reasons why I’m getting out of the dental field, but I digress.
My husband, who will kill me for sharing this, needs extensive work. For the last few years it has gotten worse. I would have tried to bring him into my office to get work done, but as I just explained, if my dentist doesn’t have time to work on his own employees, what makes me think he will have time to work on an employees spouse, and for free? Slim chance.
The amount of work I am estimating for my husband would be close to $10,000. This number is also, a low ball figure, it could be even higher, but without current radiographs I can’t properly diagnosis. Either way, it is very high, and discouraging.
I accidentally stumbled upon an ad that offered dental work in Costa Rica for extreme low prices. I was intrigued. I did a little reading and research and shared this with my husband. He was also very curious about this. Normally when we talk about his looming dental treatment, he shuts down and doesn’t want to talk about it because he thinks it will never get done. After looking into this, his face lit up like a Christmas tree! This could be just the answer we were looking for. We could finally get the dental work done that we never thought would be obtainable, and we could go on vacation at the same time. Win-win!
He was very excited and wanted me to look more into this, since this is my background. He said, “Why don’t we plan on going to Costa Rica next winter? We could get our dental work done, be on vacation in a warm destination, and you could work on your travel blog.” This couldn’t be a more perfect plan. I’ve always wanted to go to Costa Rica anyway.
I started my research with these criteria:
eduction and training
Did you know? :
“The World Health Organization has actually ranked Costa Rica’s health care system higher than the United States. Along with a life expectancy on par with the U.S., it’s no wonder Costa Rica is one of the top nations for patients seeking medical and dental care outside North America.” Costa Rica Dental Solutions
I have already found some great resources to start my planning. I intend on contacting dental clinics in Costa Rica, checking with the health licensing bureaus, BBB and even asking some of my patients that have gotten dental work done there, of their experiences. I feel that the benefits outweigh the risks involved, as long as I educate myself enough on finding the best clinics in the area. I also need to be sure to properly arrange the appointments according to the time of my arrival and length of stay in the area; knowing that some procedures need multiple visits, and even some requiring time for lab work. This is becoming so popular amongst US residents that they have coined the phrase for these international patients and their visits, as destination dentistry, and they are welcoming people from all over the world precisely for these kinds of visits.
I suspect that the Costa Rican tourism board is keen in offering these sort of specialized vacations, in hopes to get more visitors to their country. If people go to Costa Rica just for their dental treatment, but in the process, learn that this place is also a wonderful spot for vacation, they may come back and even spread the word, that others should do the same. Smart indeed!
I have found that even for the cost of airfare, accommodations, food, and the dental work we are anticipating, for a two-week stay, in the beautiful Central American country of Costa Rica, the price is much less than just the dental work alone, here in the US. For a travel junkie like me, what better excuse is there to book this trip ASAP? My husband is even chomping at the bit-no pun intended here.
We plan on going to go to Costa Rica next winter to get dental work done and enjoy some relaxing time on their beautiful beaches. By this time I will have left my job in dental, and will have been able to do scrupulous amounts of research in order to find the most competent dentist to perform these procedures. This is a perfect time for my husband to get away from work, since it is usually a slower time for his business, that being a home inspector. This is also perfect time for me, since I hate New England winters (where I live), and do everything I can to escape this time of year here. Additionally, this will allow us some time to save the estimated amount we will need to accomplish our intended plans.
I will be sure to review this once we have completed the trip in hopes to better inform others, if this is indeed, worthwhile. I feel that being an RDH will allow me to give a more knowledgable evaluation, than someone not without a background in the dental field. I don’t mind being a guinea pig if it serves the greater good.
I’m super excited for this trip to Costa Rica, not only to get low-cost dental work done, but for the beaches ,surfing, the food, the culture, the people, the national parks, the wildlife, and much more. I really hope this works out as good as I’m anticipating. Most importantly though, I can’t wait to see the smile on my husband’s face, that currently is something he hides from the world.