Dental Care Costs: United States vs Costa Rica
Dental care in the United States costs significantly more than dental care in Costa Rica. It doesn’t even matter what the procedure is. The most popular cosmetic procedure, dental implants, costs significantly more in the U.S. than it does in Costa Rica.
There are reasons why dental care in the Untied States cost so much. Keep reading to discover what those reasons are.
Why is dental care so expensive in the U.S.?
Stephen Sovie was shocked to learn how much more dental care costs in the United States compared to dental care costs where he used to live, Malaysia. After two visits, Sovie said in an article he wrote, he had already paid more than half what he paid for in seven years for both he and his partner. Seven years was the entire time Sovie and his partner Kevin lived in Malaysia.
Stories like this should send shudders down the spines of anyone looking to get dental work done in the United States. Dental offices will point to the cost of ancillary things like x-rays, lab work, etc. as why dental care costs so much in the U.S. The real reason has to do with a couple of interesting facts. Below, we bullet point what those facts:
- Shortage of specialized dentists in the United States – In 2018, there were 61 dentists for every 100,000 U.S. population. That equates to 1,639 patients for every dentist. Although many dentists are capable of handling that many patients for cleanings and maybe a filling or two, not all dentists in the U.S. provide specialized care like dental implants. The cost for specialized care goes up significantly because not every dentist can provide specialized care.
- The dental insurance system in the U.S. is broken – Dental insurance appears cheaper than medical insurance. However, this isn’t really the case. The problem with dental insurance is that as opposed to medical insurance, dental insurance in the U.S. only pays up to a certain dollar amount.
Let’s expound upon the second bullet point. Medical insurance in the United States has what’s called a deductible. The deductible is separate from a person’s copays and cost to purchase medicine. It’s also separate from x-rays, lab work, and things like that. However, the deductible with medical insurance provides a safeguard so that medical bills don’t get out of control.
For example, if a person has a $5,000 deductible and they meet that, anything else outside of lab work, x-rays, and copays is paid by the medical insurance company. This prevents patients with medical insurance from having to pay exorbitant out of pocket costs.
The exact opposite is true for dental insurance. While medical insurance picks up the cost after a deductible is met, dental insurance payments picks up after the insurance has paid up to a certain dollar amount.
It’s obvious how this can become an issue if, like what Amy Bergen writes, the total payout for most dental insurance is $1,000 to $2,000 per year. Once a U.S. citizen with dental insurance has reached his or her payout limit, they must pick up the costs for any procedures they need. That can easily run into thousands of dollars. Sometimes, it can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Dental Care Implant Costs: U.S. vs Costa Rica Comparison
The difference between how much it costs for dental implants in the U.S. compared to Costa Rica is astronomical. A single dental implant in the United States can cost $4,000. It can go all the way up to $6,500 for a single dental implant. In Costa Rica, it can cost $975 or less for a single dental implant.
Here’s a comparison of average dental implant costs in the United States and Costa Rica:
- Dental implants cost per tooth – average price in Costa Rica $1,700 and in the US: $3,500
- All on 4 dental implants cost – average price in Costa Rica: $10,000 and in the US $24,000
- All on 6 dental implants cost – average price in Costa Rica: $15,000 and in the US $28,000
- All on 8 dental implants cost – average price in Costa Rica: $18,000 and in the US $32,000
- Full mouth dental implants cost – average price in Costa Rica: $15,000 and the average price in the US. $34,000
It’s significantly less expensive to get procedures like dental implants done in Costa Rica than it is to get the same procedures done in the United States.
How Costa Rican Companies Makes it Easy for U.S. Citizens to Get Dental Implant Procedures
Due to cost differences, more and more U.S. citizens are flocking to Costa Rica for their dental implant procedures. To make the trip smooth and even fun, companies like CareOverseas.com are providing information on the very best dentists.
In addition, these companies are also providing dental tourism services. By doing so, these dental tourism consultant companies are helping Americans that can’t afford dental care in the United States to get the procedures they desperately need.