How I Saved $7,000 For Dental Work in Costa Rica

by Friday, February 12, 2016

Last year my husband and I started planning a dental tourism  trip to Costa Rica. The trip was planned for my husband to get dental work done while visiting Costa Rica. Many people wondered and asked, “Why on Earth would you get dental work done in Costa Rica?” This was especially intriguing to my colleagues because I’m a licensed dental hygienist in the USA. There were a few reasons, but it was mostly due to the cost. I wanted to share how I saved $7,000 for dental work in Costa Rica.

I wrote two other posts that explained;

  • why dental tourism in Costa Rica?
  • our plan
  • updates on my research
  • what dental office we chose
  • the reasons why I chose Meza Dental Care, San Jose, Costa Rica
  • and our finalized dates of the big trip

(links below)

Get Low Cost Dental Work Done in Paradise

Well, we are back and I am happy to report that everything went even better than we had hoped for! Our trip was from January 26, 2016- February 2, 2016. I wanted to share as much information as possible. I know many of you have been waiting for this information from the amount of emails, phone calls, texts and comments I have received. How I determined to best explain, is to answer questions that I have gotten from readers/friends/colleagues. If there are any questions that you still have, please feel free to contact me at  I am very happy to help in any way I can.

outside of Meza Dental Care



How do you plan for this? The first step is deciding that you want to go through with this. I understand the concern that many have (I had them too), but after going and having this awesome experience I endorse Meza Dental Care 100%. If you didn’t tell me I was in Costa Rica, I would have never known. The office was nicer than any office I have ever worked for in the US and that’s saying a lot. I currently do temporary work and have worked in numerous offices throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Once you decide that this is for you, you should contact the office. You can either email them or call them. They have a toll free number 1- (877)-337-6392. They will ask you to send your current x-rays and will study your case and get back to you with an estimate. It only took about a day to wait for it for us. If you are happy with the price and wanted to go forward, then the next step is for them to determine how many visits your treatment is expected to take. After that is established, you can see when they can schedule you and if that works with your schedule.  Booking at least 3-5 months out would be good. They aren’t open on the weekends, so consider that if you are in a time crunch and think about how long you want to be in the chair per day.  That could change to fewer or more days depending on your tolerance. Then once that is figured out, they will have you fill out a patient history form that you can do via email.  Lastly, book your flight and hotel. Boom! You are on your way to a new smile.

Was the dentist office clean and professional? The dental office was state-of-the-art and like I previously said, even nicer than most. I was so impressed. The front desk staff was so professional and dressed in business clothes. Everyone looked on point. The clinical team was also very professional, well-groomed wearing scrubs, caring and took their time in explaining every single step. The sterilization area was exactly like any I see in the US and all instruments were autoclaved and bagged in heat indicated sterilization pouches. The operatories were spotless and the dental team all wore proper PPE (personal protective equipment). They had my husband wear eye protection on all of the procedures and during his surgical procedure they set a sterile environment, had him wear a gown, hat and eye protection and the doctor wore a gown, gloves, mask, face shield and hat as well.

Was there a language barrier? There was no language barrier at all. Every single staff member spoke fluent English.  I also noticed that on the four visits we had there, we never saw one local as a patient. Every single person was from the USA. I asked Dr. Marin about that and she said that 90% of their patients are from the USA. Being in the waiting room most of the time while my husband was being treated, I got to talk to many other patients about their experience. I told them I was a dental hygienist and a travel blogger and was sharing this story with others in hopes of helping people consider this as an option for getting dental

Each person I spoke with was from the US, from places like Alaska, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, California, you name it. They all had nothing but positive things to say. Many have gotten full mouth restorations, including multiple implants, bone grafts and sinus lifts and some have been going there for years for all of their dental treatments and only getting routine check ups and cleanings in the US. They all gushed about Dr. Meza and his amazing work and meticulousness. I saw some of the work that he has done on these patients and it was simply flawless. Coincidentally, on our very first visit, there was a patient in the waiting room that when we started chatting with him, told us he was a dentist from Boston and only would get dental treatment done there. He and his other dentist friends all go there on a regular basis for any dental work. He said he highly recommends them. That was a great start to our visit and it only got better from there.

How were the finances handled? Do they take credit cards? They accepted credit cards or cash in USD. Once they examine you, take photos and any other necessary x-rays they may need, and you have a treatment plan that you have decided to go forward with it, they have you pay 50% on your first visit. Then you pay the remaining balance on your last visit. In the case of an implant (like my husband), you will need to return to finish around six months later. You do not have to pay that until you go back for that treatment. They do however, put that in your treatment plan to be aware of the cost as a whole.

Do you know the cost ahead of time? Yes and no. The reason I say this is it depends on if you have digital x-rays that you can send them ahead of time. I highly suggest this. If you go to a dentist in the US and they took x-rays, it is your right to have a copy of them. It is also best to have them be as current as possible. If you send them the x-rays, they can give you an estimate on what they can see through the radiographs, but it also depends on what you want done. For instance, we weren’t sure if we were going to go through with an implant or do a bridge instead, so the price would be different depending on which we decided. They are very good about giving you different options depending on what would be best in your case, and also dependent on how much you can

What advice would you give to someone from the USA considering this option? My best advice is to go to a dentist in the US and get x-rays and a treatment plan and get a copy. That way you can send it to them and they can get a better understanding of what you need to get done. I would also try to give them as much notice as possible, to better be able to organize your appointments easier. Also, to realize that in cases where you need extensive work, you may have to stay up to two weeks for all the appointments necessary and you may also have to go back. ex. implants

x-ray of my husband’s implant

Another note about the San Jose area is the driving is awful. We rented a car because we wanted to explore other areas, but I wouldn’t suggest it. Meza Dental Care offers transportation to and from the airport and to all of your dental visits if you stay in the San Jose area. This is what we will be doing at our next visit. Also, many patients stay at the Radisson, which is very close and a decent hotel in the area. We will probably stay there too next time. This visit we ended up driving all over the place, which in hindsight, wasn’t a very practical plan, but I’m a travel blogger and this was also a family vacation, so we wanted to see as much as we could.  However, we did get to see a lot of the different areas of Costa Rica such as the ocean, the jungle and the mountains, but if you are there for dental treatment, its best to just stay close by and not drive at all. You can always extend your trip after all your dental visits are complete, like a lot of the other patients told me they did.

my husband Brice with Dr. Marin

Here is a breakdown of cost of what my husband needed for dental treatment and how I saved $7,000 for dental work in Costa Rica in comparison of how much the same treatment would cost in the US. (This is the most current prices of dental treatment in the Boston area. It may vary, depending on what part of the country you live.)

  • post (anterior tooth)= $150.00
  • crown build up=$75.00
  • upper partial-acrylic base=$350.00
  • extraction-single tooth=$95.00
  • root canal-one specialist=$350.00
  • osseous graft (single site)=$500
  • endosseous implant=$800.00
  • connection surgery (for implant)= $150.00
  • abutment crown-Cast Noble Metal= $850
  • post (anterior tooth)= $438.00
  • crown build up=$375.00
  • upper partial-acrylic base=$1250.00
  • extraction-single tooth=$397.00
  • root canal-one specialist=$1097.00
  • osseous graft (single site)=$1,550
  • endosseous implant=$2650.00+ restorative
  • connection surgery (for implant)= $875.00
  • abutment crown-Cast Noble Metal= $1800
  • TOTAL COST IN THE USA=$10,432.00+

That is a savings of $7,112.00!! Even with the cost of plane tickets, hotel, and food, it still worked out to be a savings and we got to visit Costa Rica!  This would be even more worth it if you needed multiple implants, which many of the patients who go to Meza Dental Care need. For example; If you needed four implants, the total savings would be over $14,000! I don’t know about you, but I would love to have an extra 14K in my pocket!

the waiting room at Meza Dental Care

Costa Rican coffee- our parting gift on our last visit from Dr. Meza and staff. Its the best!

In conclusion, I am extremely happy with every single step of the process and the dental care we received at Meza Dental Care, San Jose, Costa Rica. They have “dental tourism” down to a science. As a dental professional and as a wife of someone who was a patient there, I can attest to their professionalism, quality of their dental work, and exceptional personalized care. I can’t speak highly enough about this dental office. Each dentist my husband was treated by; whether it be Dr. Marin for his general treatments, Dr. Meza for his surgical extraction, bone graft and implant, or their endodontist, Dr. Hernandez, for his root canal, was highly skilled in their specialty. If you are considering going to Costa Rica and Meza Dental Care,  specifically, but are on the fence, I hope this will assist with your decision to go for it.

I wrote this article to show how I saved $7,000 for dental work in Costa Rica in hopes of helping others to be able to get quality dental care at an affordable price, who otherwise couldn’t due to the high costs of dental care in the US.  It may be a bit of “outside of the box”  kind of  thinking, but I assure you, that you will not regret it if you chose this route. When we go back in six months for my husband to get his implant finished, we are also bringing his mom to get dental work done that she has needed for years. She would have NEVER done such a thing, nor would ever think of it,  if we didn’t pave the way for her. She thought we were crazy. Who’s crazy now?

Pura Vida!

Mercado Market in downtown San Jose

Dental Work Done in Paradise: UPDATE!

by Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Last winter I wrote an article about “dental tourism” in Costa Rica.

What is dental tourism?

Dental Tourism (also called dental vacations or commonly called “dental holidays” amongst Europeans) is  a subset of “medical tourism”. It involves individuals seeking dental care outside of their local healthcare systems and may be accompanied by a vacation. (Wikipedia)

My article wrote about how patients living in the United States are getting dental treatment done in other countries, Costa Rica being one in particular, due to the cost effectiveness.  Dental treatment done in such countries can save you as much as 70% off for the same treatment done in America. This is especially helpful if you do not have dental insurance and need excessive amounts of work.

(Here is the link to that article: )

My husband allowed me to share that he, is indeed a person in this predicament. Ironically, although I am a registered dental hygienist, I am a temporary worker, (making my schedule more flexible for my travels as a travel blogger), which means I do not have dental insurance.  My husband is self-employed and does not have dental insurance either.

We decided  that this may be worth looking into for his dental treatment needs. I did research and talked with a lot people, including my patients, who have had dental work done in Costa Rica and it seemed like a very logical solution.  If we went to Costa Rica to get his dental work done at a fraction of the price, we would not only save money, but would be allowed to visit a beautiful country in Central America as well.  I could share both aspects of this sort of trip with my readers.   A

When I told friends and colleagues of this plan, many expressed that they didn’t think it was a good idea because they didn’t believe the quality of care would be as good as in the USA. I let them know of the research I’ve done and that this is not necessarily the case.  There are many highly skilled dentists in Costa Rica, some even having their schooling done in the United States and that people from all over do these dental tourism trips all the time with great success.

My husband and I weighed it out and thought it was worth the risk. Being in the dental field, I could also share my professional opinion with my readers, friends, family and colleagues, on how the dental health clinics are in Costa Rica, as compared to dental clinics in America. I plan to share our entire experience with others who are seeking to do the same, which from the response and outpouring of messages I’ve received, are countless!

I have since then, been in contact with a dental clinic in San Jose, Costa Rica called Meza Dental (, that was highly recommended and has staff, coincidentally that have been educated in the United States, at educational institutions such as UCLA and Johns Hopkins University. Needless to say I was

In addition, to the information I received in my communication with the Director of Patient Relations, Howard Siegler, also noting his extreme professionalism and promptness on responding to questions (even emailing me back on a Sunday night),  I also read many reviews and watched video testimonials of people’s experiences. I checked on accreditation with the Costa Rican dental board. I joined dental forums on discussions of people who have used dentists in San Jose, Costa Rica. I also got a ton of email from locals and others who have used Meza Dental and raved about their customer service, state-of-the-art facilities, standards of care, and their satisfaction in the dental treatment they’ve

Not that this wasn’t impressive enough, but as an added bonus (and to aid our reassurance and soothe any uneasiness ),  their dental clinic and dentists also have been featured in publications such as, Newsweek: highlighting Dr. Alberto Meza D.D.S.,  for his “Excellence in Dental Implants and Cosmetic Dentistry”,  ABC, CNBC, Discovery Channel, FOX Business, USA TODAY, just to name a few.

We are in communication regarding my husband’s case and are in the process of making a treatment plan and scheduling our visit for next month (January 26,2015-February 2,2015). I also hope to meet him or a staff member,  to be able to discuss the subject of  “dental tourism” for a short interview.

I am really looking forward to this trip, for my husband especially, but also excited to see Costa Rica, since I’ve never been. Now even my son and his girlfriend are joining us.  With this trip,  I hope I can give, not only travel advice, but possibly some great dental advice too?

I’ll be writing a few blog posts as soon as we come back about our experience and will be updating, as much as possible, during our visit, via social media; Facebook, Instagram, YouTubeGoogle +,twitter and snapchat (username:namastemumma).

I also would be glad to answer any questions people may have that I may not cover in my post. Please feel free to email me at or contact me through the blog, any of my social media platforms or even call/text  me at


Wish us luck!

Here are some links written about them:



Get Low Cost Dental Work Done in Paradise

by Sunday, March 1, 2015

thewanderlustyogi.netI 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.

thewanderlustyogi.netI 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.

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