Consider “concierge” dental tourism. It just doesn’t get any better than that. And what a great way to pay for a vacation to popular destinations!
Dental tourism is often the first “toe in the water” medical tourism experience for a person traveling from their home country for treatment.Why are they willing to travel?
Dentistry in some countries, and definitely in the U.S., can be outrageously expensive and is often not covered by insurance plans – or if it is covered the limits are so low as to leave the “insured” with hefty out-of-pocket expense. Affordable dental care is what dental tourism delivers.
Also, dental tourism is considered “light-medical” which means the medical treatments don’t slow you down or get in the way of enjoying the vacation aspect of medical tourism.
Cost savings, safety, and a great personal experience are equally important, so we’ll address that with unfiltered conversations with real patients – as opposed to marketing promises.
Trust and Safety
Booking your travel through a “concierge” medical tourism facilitator allows you to travel within a “bubble” of safety. And we know of some facilitator services that actually save patients money overall. Don’t assume it’s going to cost more to go through a facilitator – it can save you money, time and stress.
So, again, how do you know which dentist or facilitator to book with?
Talk to a patient
Talk to a patient BEFORE you talk to a dentist or a facilitator. Insights shared among patients can provide the clarity and depth that newspaper articles or marketing sites cannot.
And that’s usually the problem, isn’t it? You can ask for referrals from a dentist, but then that means you have to talk to the dentist first. And you can read testimonials on a website or in an article, but that’s not at all the same as “talking” – and there’s no contact information given.
So because trust is so important a step in the decision making process we recommend you talk anonymously with patients first about either a dental tourism facilitator or a specific dentist, and then initiate contact with the parties that you already have some information on.
Online waiting room experience
That’s why we’ve included a sampling of patient stories and links to patients you can contact directly to benefit from unfiltered conversation.
For example, you’ll be surprised what patients have reported back to us about price differences revealed during conversations between patients – usually facilitator fee differences among other things.
In most cases you may need to register on Traveling4Health in order to initiate direct contact with a patient. But that’s free and I hope you respect the privacy afforded participating patients by our facilitating conversations without revealing personal contact information.
It’s also a compliment when you contact a dentist or a facilitator when you can let them know who recommended them. You have just identified yourself as a person who does their research and someone who will be another good referral for them if you are satisfied with your experience.
Where North American dental tourists are going:
While you’re reading about the cost savings and personal experiences realize that what you learn can be applied to your DIY research on providers in any destination. And we encourage you to join our community and carry a Traveling4Health Press Badge for that extra protection that comes from a provider knowing that YOUR experience will influence where other members go for their dental work.
Dental Tourism in Costa Rica
The traveling4health community receives more reports from patients who have gone to Costa Rica than any other country. That doesn’t mean Costa Rica is the only or best destination for you; it means there’s more data to examine and satisfied patients to converse with.
Dental Savings in Costa Rica
The cost difference is huge according to Tim Morales of costaricandentalcare.com – a concierge dental facilitator service.
I’ll just give you a quick story,” said Morales, “One person was recently quoted $60,000 here in the states for a total mouth restoration – brand new teeth on top and bottom. He’s going down to Costa Rica in January.
“This guy went to a top-ranked U.S. university that has a dental school and was quoted $28,000, but the work would be stretched out over 1 ½ years and lord knows how many students would be working on him during that period of time—probably three or four,” said Morales.
“So anyhow, they came to us, we got them a couple different quotes in Costa Rica and they basically came in right at the same price; it’s going to be $17,000. Half of the work will be done in January, and then four months later they will return for another five days and the work will be completed,” he said.
Talk to dental tourism patient
Cindi Lindquist, a hairdresser from Anchorage Alaska reports: “My U.S. dentist told me I was going to need everything capped, that I’d need root canals, and that it was going to run me between $40,000 and $50,000 – OR that I could have all of my teeth pulled and dentures put in for a little over $12,000.
What it did cost me for a full mouth restoration was $11,500, and after all travel expenses, including airfare and accommodations for nine days, my total out of pocket was $13,120. That’s a $30,000 savings! Read more and listen to the recorded interview at “First Time Dental Tourist Saves $30,000… and she’s shouting about it!”
Talk to patient-recommended dental provider
Mike Lomax, owner of Esthetic Dental Center which boasts an onsite 7,000 sq.ft. dental lab in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Says Lomax, “Too many dentists are not up to date with technology, don’t have quality control over the dental product, and don’t have the equipment to provide their patients with the best choices.
“My experience is that dentists make a treatment plan, and I have to call them and tell them why it’s wrong,” said Lomax, “I train dentists all day long. They can’t keep up with all the new materials and products. They send the case to me and I advise them on the best plan.”
Lomax is an American, born and raised in Michigan. As a dental technician he was relocated to Costa Rica to manage a dental lab supplying dental products to the U.S. Market.
“We do the work for about 500 US dental clients; about 150 clients who request ceramic/gold,” said Lomax. Read the following article where Lomax tells you how to judge whether or not your dentist is offering you all available options: “Can Your Dentist Pass the Litmus test?”
Talk to patient-recommended dental tourism provider
Tim Morales, Medical tourism facilitator and CEO of costaricandentalcare.com
Dental Tourism in Mexico
There are destinations in Mexico that have been providing excellent quality dental services for over 15-20 years. We will talk about Tijuana, Puerto Vallarta, and the sleepy dental village of Los Algodones, Mexico across the border of Yuma, AZ.
Dental Savings in Mexico
Tijuana dental tourism:
Tijuana is quite safe for dental and medical care if you take the time beforehand to make your appointment and arrange, with your dentist, your transportation to and from the clinic. In other words, don’t just walk or drive across the border and start shopping.
Sales and Marketing Executive, Torrey Russell reports saving $8,000 by going to Tijuana, Mexico for reconstructive dental surgery.
“I had gone to India previously for hip surgery,” said Russell, “so medical tourism is not new to me. I decided to go to Mexico for the dental procedure when my local dentist, a wonderful man, quoted me $1,800 a tooth. That price was very expensive for me as a self-employed individual without insurance.”You can listen to the recorded patient interview on “Mexico: A US Patient Saves $8,000 on Dental Reconstructive Surgery in Tijuana, Mexico.
Los Algodones dental tourism:
Wendy Ceccherelli, a realtor from Seattle reports: “‘Typical American costs for a root canal $900; $1000 for a crown; $150 for a cleaning and exam; $500 to have a tooth extracted.”
“Mexican costs: Root canal $200 + $100 for metal post; crowns $220; cleaning and exam $25; tooth extraction $200-$400 (best as I can remember,” she said. Read patient’s journal: “First Time Medical Traveler Journals Experience.”
Puerto Vallarta dental tourism:
Randy and Nancy Krause had no difficulty finding a qualified Mexican dentist in Puerto Vallarta. “The office looked just like a dental office in the States,” said Krause, “He was set up to look at our x-rays on his laptop.”
“The price of dental care is typically $350 for a crown and $275 for a root canal that probably cost $1,500 in the states,” said Nancy.
Click here to read her interview “Mexico: BabyBoomers Retire in Mexico For A Better Healthcare Experience” and listen to the recorded interview as Nancy explains her experience with dental and medical care in Puerto Vallarta.
Talk to a dental tourism patient
- Wendy Ceccherelli, a first-time dental tourist, goes to Los Algodones, Mexico:Ceccherelli reports: “U.S. patients have received excellent, professional and gentle care here; office staff and dentists speak English well enough; and they take credit cards for services. This work can be done for a fraction of the US cost (e.g. US cost for a crown: $1000/Mexico: $220) and in significantly less time (US typically takes 1-2 weeks for a crown fitting; Mexico: 2 days).” Read patient’s journal on going to Los Algodones: “First Time Medical Traveler Journals Experience.”
- Ilene Little, CEO of Traveling4Health says: “ The cost of our DIY dental vacation for two to Los Algodones, cost us $2,200 including airfare, 10 nights and 11 days touring Sea of Cortez beach towns – and between my husband and I we had 4 porcelain crowns replaced and 10 metal fillings replaced with porcelains.
You can also learn a lot by reading “Mexico Border Dental Town – a Favorite Destination for Americans, Canadians, and Europeans.”
Dental Tourism in Panama
We have no patient reports, yet, from dental patients traveling to Panama.
Talk to a Dental Tourism Provider
Both of the following medical tourism facilitators have articles or patient reviews posted on the T4H community site:
- Eric De Ycaza Delgado, founding shareholder and CEO of Ageless Wonders Panama.
- Jeffry Apton, President of Panam Dental Tours.
DIY dental tourism trip:
If you want to start out with a service that will advise you on all providers and destinations you are considering, that’s where the concierge service My Medical Trip Advisor can save you time.
We’re going to support you whether you want to plan your own trip (Do It Yourself) or want help. We have member travel agents who offer special discounts to members. One way or the other we give you all the information that other patients are reporting about their own experiences including the providers they went to and who they turned to for help planning their trip.
To learn more about medical tourism visit Ilene Little’s blog on Escapeartist.com CLICK HERE
Ilene Little, is the editor of Escapeartist’s Medical Tourism Blog. She has written an excellent Medical Tourism Report on Seven Reasons to Choose Medical Tourism. To request a FREE copy of this report please provide us with your information below and we will send it to you by email.