Dental

Please see why you should come and visit Costa Rica

I have for years heard about how Dental work was just as good and a lot less expensive and faster than at home.

Executive Summary:

I get all my dental work done in Costa Rica now.

If I have any more ’emergency’ work, to save time and money, I will book a flight, tell my dentist when I’ll be there, and go get the work done.

I have a comparison:

In 2016 I had a chipped tooth, root canal and a need for an ‘annual’ checkup.

I decided since it was ’emergency’ work, this was not the best time to try out Costa Rica – I didn’t want to wait.

It took more than 3 months from when my assistant first contacted my dentist until, several visits later, the work was all done. It took 3 months from the 1st visit until it was done. I think he charges by the visit plus… I had ‘blue cross’ insurance, but I still had to pay over $2000 Canadian, about $1400 USD at the time.

In 2018 I had a chipped tooth, a root canal and a need for an ‘annual’ checkup and cleaning. So basically the same work as in 2016.

I told the dentist in Costa Rica ‘I’m going to be coming down sometime in the next week’ … then Friday night I sent an email saying “I will be arriving Tuesday at 2pm”. I got an email back on Saturday saying they were booked Tuesday afternoon but they would see what they could do. At the airport in Texas on Monday, I got an email saying “Your appointment is for 5pm tomorrow, so that if you plane is late or it takes time to get your car, you’ll be able to make the appointment”.

Note, I wasn’t being rude by giving the dentist so little warning. My wife and I had to go on a business trip, but we are also foster parents – and it took more than 3 months for the government to do their paperwork and figure out WHEN we could go, they Government tod us on the Friday “OK, Monday will work”… Hence booking the flights on Friday to leave on Monday. The chipped tooth happened during that 3 months – when we started planning the trip my tooth was fine. I didn’t know I needed the root canal (a fairly painless operation in the hands of Dr. Parro) until I got to the dentist, but the x-rays he showed me were clear even to me. I expect, other than emergency work, that I’ll give them plenty of warning in the future. When it is just me travelling I don’t have to worry about respite and other such so I can do it without getting ‘permission’ from the government.

We arrived, went and had dinner, went for the work. The dental assistant said “We normally need 2 days to get a cap ready – but if you are in a real hurry we can try to hurry it up, but it is already 6pm so we can’t get it done tonight.” We laughed and said “How about Friday”. So, it took a week – but it would have been quicker if we really needed it. And the total cost of the trip (food, air flight, and rent at Prados del Sol) was less than what it cost AFTER what the insurance company paid the year before.

From a pain perspective: I only had to sit in a dental chair twice, and I was completely restored in less than a week (it could have been a couple days) rather than suffering with problems for 3 months in Canada.

Because I live about 40 minutes from the dentist in Canada, that means 6 trips at 80 minutes, plus time lost planning around it, so 6 hours lost, and 3 months of pain (the chipped tooth cut my tongue) and waiting.

Conclusion, next time I need ’emergency’ surgery, I’m going to book a flight, then email my doctor to say when I’ll be down – and I’ll give a day range so that I’m not being a jerk about it. That way I’ll get the work done quicker and I’ll save money.

In 2019 I went in for an ‘annual’ checkup. It cost me $2 in San Jose at Asembis. Really! It wasn’t as thoroughly (no xrays) as the $25 one the year before in Liberia. I have laughingly told people: I didn’t like the dentist. She told me I had no cavities, but then she said “You don’t floss very often do you? You should floss daily.” I’ve been flossing every day – for the first time in my life – when the intention of seeing whether the dentists always say “You don’t floss very often” knowing they will be right most of the time, or whether they can really tell by looking. I’ll report back next year after this test is done (assuming I follow through on flossing daily … 30 days in a row as i write this.)