Are you considering receiving dental care in Costa Rica? Maybe you’re thinking about making the trip because you’ve heard how much cheaper dental procedures can be in the country, or maybe you just want to be prepared in case you encounter a dental emergency while you’re there. Whatever the case may be, you’ll be happy to know that there are many reputable dentists practicing in Costa Rica and, even better yet, the average price of dental care, including cosmetic procedures, is much cheaper in Costa Rica than it is in the United States.
Do be aware, however, that there are many scam artists who are well aware of the vast number of foreigners who travel to Costa Rica just to obtain low-price dental care. These unscrupulous individuals often pose as dentists and/or offer very low-quality dental work at low prices. Some of their practices can even be dangerous and can lead to further dental problems, infection, and more. As such, you’ll want to be incredibly selective about the Costa Rican dentist you choose. Never select a dentist based on price alone; look for an accredited dental practice with a longstanding reputation, a clean office, and practices and dental technology that are comparable to those offered in the United States.
Selecting the Right Dentist
As mentioned, it’s incredibly important that you are selective about the dentist whom you choose. One of the best ways to find a good dentist in Costa Rica is to get a recommendation from a friend or family member who has had dental work done in the country.
If you don’t know anyone who fits this description, turn to the internet. Many forums and other websites offer information on the topic, and with a little searching, you can easily find posts about where the best Costa Rican dental practices are; you could even start a thread of your own and let others weigh in with their opinions. Keep in mind that some dental practices are more skilled in one area of practice than another, so it’s important to specify what type of dental care you are seeking. A dentist who is very good at doing cosmetic dental work, for example, might not be so good at treating tooth decay or gum disease or vice versa; it’s important to find a dentist who is skilled at administering the particular treatment or procedure you want done.
Once you’ve done some thorough online research, you should be able to narrow your dental provider options down to a few good choices. After you have your potential choices, you can contact each option on your list. Ask very specific questions about costs, procedures, safety measures and health standards, and anything else you want to know. The right dental practice will be readily available to you, will be kind and respectful, and will go out of its way to provide you with the information you need to make a decision. Be attentive to how you are treated during this initial consultation; it is likely a good predictor of how you will be treated when it comes time for the actual procedure. You can also request price quotes to help you make your decision, but remember that no one can tell you a definite price until your mouth has been seen! Furthermore, don’t let price be your deciding factor; it’s always better to pay a little bit more for treatment and get far better quality treatment than it is to pay a very low price and have shoddy work done.
Health Insurance Concerns
Many Americans have health insurance that may or may not cover all or some costs associated with certain dental procedures. If you’re counting on your health insurance to cover the costs of the dental care you receive in Costa Rica, however, you may end up disappointed. While there are a select few Costa Rican dental care providers that will accept some types of American health insurance, the vast majority of them do not. This means that you will likely have to pay your dental health care costs upfront, and while dental care costs are definitely lower in Costa Rica, they still aren’t cheap in most cases. Unless you can cover the expense out of pocket, you’ll need to look for a dental practice that accepts your insurance or find another way (and place) to get the dental care you need.
It’s also important to note that you will incur some additional expenses, outside of the dental care itself. You will have to pay for your transportation to Costa Rica, for example, which can often be upwards of $1000 or more. You also have to pay for a hotel or find another place to stay while you’re there, for the cost of getting to and from the dental practice, and for food and basic necessities while you’re in Costa Rica. It’s wise to factor in these additional expenses as you make your decision and to really consider whether or not you’ll actually save money on the dental procedure in the long run and if the hassle is worth any savings you may incur.