Travel Dentistry in Costa Rica
January 28, 2010 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: I'm interested in travel dentistry, but don't know how to chose from among all of the dentists on the internet. Costa Rica appears to be cheaper than Mexico. Does anyone have a Costa Rican dentist with whom they have had a good experience?

Other advice about getting dentistry done abroad would be appreciated! I need to get two molar implants.
posted by stray to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You can get good quality dentistry in Islamabad, but that's not exactly a medical tourism destination. Same in Delhi or Mumbai. My wife was treated with excellent results for two root canals by a US-educated Pakistani doctor. However I doubt that anyone wants to come to Pakistan just for dentistry... (Come for the teeth drilling, stay for the explosions!)
posted by thewalrus at 10:56 AM on January 28, 2010

Kentucky! I'm Australian and spent a lot of time on the road in the states in the last few years. I had to see a dentist while we were in Kentucky, and a friend there recommended one. My travel insurance didn't cover it and I was nervous about how much I'd have to pay. For an hour long appointment I was charged $40. In Sydney I pay $160 for a ten minute check-up so I was surprised and thrilled by this fee. Don't know if it's similarly low for more involved procedures... His name was Dr Maxon Love (great name) in Lexington and he was so friendly.
posted by saturn~jupiter at 11:38 AM on January 28, 2010

However I doubt that anyone wants to come to Pakistan just for dentistry...

I briefly dated someone who does a lot of those "get a job, make a big pile of money, then quit and go backpacking in Asia for three months until it runs out, then come home and repeat" kinds of trips. On our first date, I noticed that he had a bracelet made of what looked like...human teeth. I worked up the courage to ask him what was up with that.

And then he told me this fantastic story about visiting a street market in the middle of nowhere in Pakistan, and seeing open-air dentists with card tables and chairs set up amid the other card tables and stalls. He wandered around, fascinated that there were dentists doing tooth extractions and cleanings out there in the open air in the market -- and then after a while he noticed that periodically they'd make a quick run to a stall at the far corner of the market to fetch something. So, he strolled to that stall to have a peek. It turns out that far stall was selling fake human teeth, and the dentists kept running to him to buy replacement teeth for patients who'd had a tooth extracted. It struck my friend's sense of surreality, so he asked the price -- and a complete set of fake human teeth, on a string, cost only about fifty cents. My friend slapped down a dollar and asked if he could buy two sets. They handed him the two strings, and he happily walked away, at some point slipping the strings around his wrist. I'm not in touch with him any more, but I've spotted an online personal ad he placed recently, and he mentions the teeth in his profile -- so he's been wearing those teeth for ten years now.

After he told me that story, I decided two things: a) he was the kind of guy I really wanted to hang around with, and b) I probably should avoid open-air dentists in Pakistan.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:10 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

My mother went to Mexico for a root canal. The dentist wasn't wearing gloves and got "uppity" when she requested that he please do.
posted by Syllables at 12:41 PM on January 28, 2010

This NYT article offers some advice about how to choose a care provider.
posted by carmicha at 1:37 PM on January 28, 2010

I had dental work done in San Jose Costa Rica about 12 years ago. Favourable experience. I can't remember her name, but it was a women and she had her own dental lab and it was on Paseo Colon, in San Jose. She was trained in the US. Her name came recommended from the Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica. My insurance company covered half of the price of the procedure and I had no difficulty having them cover it. Medical/dental tourism is very popular in Costa Rica.

If you're choosing, I'd call the embassies for recommendations, and unless your language skills are good (eg. Spanish), I would insist on doing all the preliminary conversations for arrangements in English to ensure that the dentist can pull off communications in English (or whether you can in Spanish, eg, if something is not quite right). Be explicit about timelines and payment arrangements, including currency type.
posted by kch at 3:07 PM on January 28, 2010

actually, I think I went here. ymmv.
posted by kch at 4:00 PM on January 28, 2010

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