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A Story of Dental Tourism in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Health News – We searched for experiences with dental tourism and stories that showed the benefits of taking the short plane flight to Costa Rica t get your dental work done.  This goes for dental implants in Costa Rica to crowns and bridges to other types of cosmetic dentistry that is does by professionals here in Costa Rica. We came across this story and wanted to share it. 

dental-implants 1Because of bad dental work done here in the United States I had a great deal of problems with my teeth. Only one tooth fell out on its own when I was pregnant. All the rest were caused unnecessarily by one big error.

I had one back upper molar that needed attention but at the time we did not have the funds available to take care of it immediately. By the time the funds became available two different dentists said it was too late to save the tooth and it had to be pulled.

The dentist I chose to pull it accidently cracked and pulled the next tooth to the bad molar. This tooth had a relatively new $1,200 crown on it. I overheard the dental assistant tell the dentist that I would have to have something put in there and that it could not be left that way.

While I understand no dentist is perfect and they all can make a mistake, this dentist had the audacity to bill me for the second accidentally extracted tooth. Looking back I believe if that dentist had any integrity he would have explained the situation and given me a free night guard and told me of the consequences if I did not wear it and certainly he would not bill me for his error that coast me so dearly.

With those two teeth missing my bite completely collapse thus creating decay on every single tooth a year or so down the road at the ridge line or base of each tooth. The uppers had decay on the inside of the mouth from where the lower teeth rested at night and lowers had decay on the outside from where the upper teeth hit.

One of my front four lower teeth was creating so much pain that I woke every morning in tears. I finally went to another local dentist. I honestly wish I would have known about Costa Rica at this time. I would have not needed so many implants and believe more of my teeth would have been saved.

This was approximately six maybe seven years ago. I had the dentist pull my front lower four teeth because of severity of the pain. After seeing those teeth I believe that three could have been saved more than likely only one had decay into the nerve. I had crowns put on every tooth that did not have one and a lower removable partial for my front lower four teeth. The cost was about $12,000-$14,000 I cannot remember the exact amount.

One of the crowns from the first day was not right but the dentist instead of sending it back attempted to make it right. It dental implants costa ricawas still not right and I knew it I told him this and called him a week later. He told me it was fine. Six or seven months later this crown came off, the dentist charged me $50.00 to put it back on. I ended up paying another dentist a week later in Spokane, Washington to put the crown on again this time it stayed for a few years.

Approximately three years ago I began having pain in upper molar (the one I still had) this tooth had a crown affixed to a four tooth bridge. The dentist had placed it on other two molars and another tooth for additional support. I was only missing the one canine tooth I lost during a pregnancy.

Naturally I went to yet another dentist. The dentist told me the tooth under the back crown had decay and food was being trapped behind the crown. I asked him if there was any way he could possibly work with the one tooth by building it up filing down the bridge or altering the bridge and just putting a new crown on the back tooth. He told me they would have to replace each crown in the four tooth bridge and do a complete new bridge.

I then inquired what the cost would be and asked him if that would cost around $5,000-$6,000 and his response was that would be a starting point. That much to basically fix one bad crown and tooth.

By this time I had heard about dental tourism and told him flat out that I would wait until I could afford to go somewhere else and I would get something permanent in my lowers also instead of the removable partial.

For three years I had difficulty with that back tooth. I would try and keep it clean but infection kept setting in. Once the tooth was infected my sinus was also infected. The top crown came off once again no one would put it back on without fully looking at the tooth. I had attempted to order dental glue and temporarily place it on but it did not work. Two other crowns broke off. One on the side of my partial I would place it back in daily when I put my partial in.

dental-implantsI knew I was having great problems once again with my teeth even though I could have them still look presentably in public I realized the severity of the situation. My infections were coming back more frequently and taking longer to go away. I never even told my family about my problems as I knew there was nothing they could do about. I spent over $600.00 in antibiotics last year due to tooth and sinus infections.

Then one October morning in 2011 I went to put my partial and my broken crown back in my mouth in the morning. I kept these in a coffee cup in peroxide at night. My partial was completely chewed up teeth and lower gum part missing. The crown was not there for my other tooth.

I reached my hand down the garbage disposal and found the metal only that once made up my crown. My husband was going to the dishes and did not know that in that cup were my partial and broken off crown.

I was crushed I knew there was no longer any way I could have my teeth look presentable in public. I was very active going to meetings, volunteering with kids, and many more activities. I knew all of these must come to halt. My husband felt horrible but in a way it was a blessing that he accidentally put those in the garbage disposal because it forced me to go to Costa Rica and get my teeth taken care of.

I had never been out of the country, never had a passport, and speak very little Spanish. I had to even send away for a birth certificate so I knew it would take some time to get everything and the finances taken care of. I did not want to go alone the first time so I waited until my son was on break from college and took him with me.

For me the choice in which dentist to use became very limited as I wanted to go metal free. I was aware in European Countries the dentists have been doing metal free dentistry for years. I wanted the Zirconium Dioxide Implants not the Titanium. I am glad that my choices were limited because after going through more than two thousand post I became stressed out about which post were real and which were not. I even did a tally sheet on the dentist and had one for what I believed were not real post by real people.

I went down in December of 2011 with my son. I originally planned on having eight implants but when I got down there the plan changed and I received five implants. My bone density in the place where I had my partial would not support implants. I will have a permanent bridge placed there when I go back. I was not anticipating the two bone grafts I received and in a way I am glad I did not know I would need these before I went. I would have been more stressed. I had all of my crowns even the good ones on my upper removed. I want to be metal free.

Although it has only been two months I have not had any problems. I will return sometime in the future to get my permanent crowns placed. They could not be placed in December due to the office closing down for the holidays.

As I have stated I was amazed at the low level of discomfort and pain I experienced with the procedures I had. I did take some pain pills but only used the ice pack once.

I believe if I ever have a problem in the future with any of my work while I will have to pay to go back to Costa Rica it will be taken care of. Of course I hope this theory never needs to be tested.

I wrote my full story because while I know for a fact that there is clearly a financial benefit in going to Costa Rica for my dental work , I also believe that there is a quality of care factor and workmanship pride that is lacking here in the United States with many of our dentist.

Hopefully my story can relieve some stress that others may be having regarding Dental Tourism.

There are only 1 or 2 clinics that The Costa Rican Times recommends due to personal experiences there. One is Costa Rica Dental Team which is the only American run clinic in Costa Rica with the highest standards in service and modern facilities. Saving $2500 or more on dental procedures like dental implants with a short flight to paradise is becoming more and more popular.

For a Free Quote on Dental Care from the Costa Rica Dental Team, click here.

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  1. dwayne said:

    Lots of detail and a great story. I live here and go to a dentist. She is UCR trained and the only ones I will go to. I knew I need to see the dentist. My upper back molar with a crown was hurting! I had X-ray after crown taken off and a cavity noted. The Endodontis was called in and did a single nerve root canal Charged $260 for that and dental work with crown anther $180.00. Three old fillings replace $36 each. Teeth cleaning $40.00 . I do not go to the big box dental office they have a huge overhead with rent , and personnel. Here I am able to adsorb the cost in USA no way. Now a few other gringo friends to to Leon, Nicaragua had excellent dental work and paid half of what I paid here in Costa Rica.

    • admin said:

      While I agree that you can find less expensive prices at the mom and pop dental outfits, the larger ones feel much more comfortable to medical tourists and gringos in general. Plus you really have to do research on the smaller dental practices as some have bad reputations. I would rather pay a little more and get a comfortable atmosphere than walk into some of these smaller setups.

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