Costa Rica News – With the prices for dentistry increasing in the USA and other locations taking a short flight to Costa Rica is becoming more popular when having cosmetic dentistry work done. Choosing to get dental work done away from home can be quite a tricky affair. Sometimes the exuberance over the tremendous savings in dental care that can be realized outside the US leads to carelessness.
Nothing well done is cheap. Quality dental care by a licensed professional is not something that lends itself to ‘bargain hunting’. Yes, there are tremendous savings to be had outside the US but that does not guarantee the results will meet your expectations.
You can not play Russian roulette with your teeth.
There is a balance that must be found between quality of services and price. You must investigate thoroughly the dentist in question. Websites are great sources of information but ultimately they are marketing tools.
You need several sources of first-hand information to make an educated decision. They also need to be sources that can be verified. Outside of your own personal diligence there is no protection for making a bad choice. You can ask the dentist for any publications or articles where his work has been recognized.
Collaboration of the dentist reputation from an in-country resident or frequent visitor about the quality of services provided and received is very valuable. Often the dentist in question can provide references that can be verified.
If you have the opportunity to be in-country to schedule an initial appointment you can confirm the impressions your research has uncovered with a personal meeting. If that is not possible then you must be as creative as possible in determining the level of professionalism and services offered.
Here below is a general guide to selecting a dentist overseas beginning with…’Are they an English-friendly office?’ If they are not fluent in English then no amount of money saved is worth the risk of a critical miscommunication that can lead to mistreatment or serious health consequences.
Qualifications Are Important
- Dentistry is a licensed profession. Please verify that your dentist holds the proper professional credentials.
- Verify that your dentist holds the proper undergraduate and graduate certification from accredited institutions.
- Verify that your dentist has a license/registration certificate which has been renewed for the current year.
- Dentistry is an every changing profession, with newer techniques and materials being developed every day. The more updated your dentist is, the most modern, evidence-based, treatment he can deliver. Verify if your dentist has engaged in continuing education in dentistry on a regular level, since graduation.
- Dental Continuing Education (DCE) is a life long process and involves all or some of the following on a regular basis, every year since graduation:
- Participation in Dental Conferences/Seminars
- Participation in CE courses in Dentistry (online internet based OR in person)
- Participation in Dental Lectures
- Subscription of publications related to Dentistry
- Authoring or Co-authoring of published literature in Dentistry
- Memberships in Dental CE groups/ societies/discussion forums
- Participation in Hands-on-Courses in Dentistry
Cleanliness & Sterilization Protocols
- Check if your dentist is fully aware of modern sterilization methods to prevent cross-infection, including the use of Autoclaves and disposables.
- Ask for if they have a website where there are photo’s of their office and laboratory that reflect the over-all cleanliness of the office and surgical facilities.
- Confirm if confidentiality will be maintained in terms of your treatment records and health status disclosures other than what you permit to be released.
- Confirm your approval and/or your concerns addressed, prior to taking dental photos for purposes other than case records, for example – for publications, etc.
- Your time and the dentist’s time is important. Note if the dental team encourages and adheres to given appointment schedules.
- Note if you have received a comprehensive treatment plan in writing about your dental needs and the recommended treatments in a manner you can comprehend and give informed consent.
- Note if the treatment costs, your financial obligations, mode of payment etc., have been explained and approved with by you, in writing, before the treatment is started.
Over-Treatment: A Global Problem
- Be cautious of dentists who sell medicines or supplements.
- Be cautious of dentists who over-promise ‘wonder’ cosmetic dental treatments at very low prices.
- When the charges of dental treatment are too low compared to other dentists in the area, there may be tendency to overdo the number of services, unnecessarily.
Quality Versus Quantity:
- Cost of dental treatment is not the best judge of quality of care.
- Good dentistry is an art and a science. Pay attention to the time your dentist takes to do the work. High-quality dentistry cannot be done in a factory assembly-line; it takes time and meticulous attention to detail.
- Quality oriented dentists, genuinely interested in the health of their patients, will encourage a regular check-up and maintenance with a local dentist.
- If you are in doubt over the over-all treatment plan in any way, choose a second opinion. If your dentist’s treatment plan is sound, it should hold up to scrutiny by others in the profession.
Word of Mouth Referrals
- Word of mouth referrals are important guides to choosing a dentist. Friends, family, acquaintances and other health professionals can recommend good dentists. However, word of mouth referral does not mean blind trust. Scrutinize even the referred dentist by standards important to you.
- Finally beware of the ‘bait and switch’ where doctors who promote their dental services but are not the ‘doctor of record’ meaning they do not themselves perform the dental procedures advertised.
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.