In This Guide
- Benefits of Going to Costa Rica for Dental Treatment
- Cost of Dental Implants in Costa Rica
- Average Cost of Dental Work in Costa Rica vs. United States (USD)
- How Long Does It Take? How Many Visits Are Required?
- What If I Have a Problem with My Dental Work?
- What You Should Know about Traveling There
- Is the Country Safe to Visit?
Costa Rica is a highly desirable vacation destination and is close to the United States and Canada. The flight time from the United States is between 4 and 7 hours, depending on your city of origin. Many major US cities have daily non-stop flights to CR. Although accommodation is a little more expensive compared to other dental tourism destinations, the country is small enough to be explored within a relatively short space of time.
Dental clinics in Costa Rica have a ton of experience in treating dental tourists and people are often amazed at the high level of personalized treatment. This experience enables these dental clinics to ensure all essential details are taken care Treatment costs of, and that all your needs are met.
Choosing a dental vacation package removes the uncertainty over what the total cost of treatment will be. In the U.S. medical costs are not set in stone, whereas the cost of a dental vacation package in CR can be agreed upon in advance.
You will probably need to get dental x-rays and possibly other diagnostic tests such as a CT scan done by your local dentist before your trip. This enables the international clinic to fully assess the treatment required so they can provide you with an accurate price.
The equipment and prostheses used in Costa Rican dental clinics are imported from the US. The implants supplied at these clinics are from reputable companies including Straumann, Nobel Biocare, Bicon and Keystone Dental. These implant components have been extensively tested and researched. If an implant component needs replacing at a later date, it will be far easier to get the necessary treatment when you have branded components.
Benefits of Going to Costa Rica for Dental Treatment
The benefits of traveling to CR for dental treatment include:
- Treatment costs can be up to 70% cheaper, putting essential dental treatment within reach for people who do not have dental insurance coverage
- Many clinics in CR have a transparent pricing policy and will tell you the price of treatments and procedures upfront
- You can have a memorable vacation in a beautiful and interesting foreign country, visiting local attractions and restaurants, while recuperating from dental treatment
- Dental clinics in CR often rely heavily on dental tourism and on receiving referrals from satisfied customers, and as such focus on providing a more customer-oriented and highly personalized service
- You can get the treatment when it suits you, as these dental clinics will work on your schedule and in most cases, there is no waiting list for treatment.
Popular Dental Treatments Available
Many people traveling to Costa Rica are interested in getting dental implants, but the clinics offer a wide range of procedures to help restore your dental health and/or smile. The treatments listed below are the most popular options available for dental tourists.
They can replace teeth lost to trauma, decay or to periodontal disease and are suitable for restoring just one tooth or multiple teeth. An implant consists of a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone, forming a strong anchorage point that can support replacement teeth.
This treatment is particularly popular with people who currently struggle with loose and ill-fitting dentures, particularly lower dentures. With this procedure, only four implants are required to secure a lower denture that will snap onto special attachments on the implants.
Treatment can also be used to provide a permanent bridge of teeth that are screwed into position and which can only be removed by a dentist. Patients usually receive their new denture or bridge within 24 hours of surgery. This treatment can be used to replace upper and lower dentures, although upper dentures may require six implants to hold them in place.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a procedure that is frequently used to treat an infected tooth. Your tooth may become infected if it is damaged or decayed, allowing bacteria to reach the very central part of the tooth which is called the pulp. The pulp also contains all the nerves of the tooth, which is why a tooth infection is so painful.
The procedure removes all the infected tissues and the dentist will clean and disinfect the empty pulp chamber before permanently filling it so the tooth can be restored with a dental crown. This prevents reinfection and often a tooth that has received root canal therapy will last for many years.
A dental bridge can be a good way of restoring one or more missing teeth that are adjacent to each other. To make a dental bridge, your dentist will carefully shape the teeth located on each side of the missing tooth or teeth, and which are called abutment teeth. The abutment teeth are fitted with crowns to which the pontics, or replacement tooth or teeth are attached.
Bridges are fabricated from a variety of different materials that include gold, or a metal alloy finished with tooth colored porcelain, or a bridge may be made entirely from a strong ceramic material. It’s also possible to have a dental bridge that is supported by dental implants.
Cost of Dental Implants in Costa Rica
The cost of complex dental treatments such as dental implants can be up to 70% cheaper in Costa Rica compared to the United States. These savings are achievable thanks to a lower cost of living, more affordable education and training, lower insurance fees and lower labor costs and overheads. There is also less government intervention in CR.
Costs You Will Need to Consider Include:
- Flights and transportation to and from the clinic. A gallon of gas costs an average of $4.20, while 1 mile in a taxi will cost you $2. A one-way local transport ticket is around $.80. If you wish to rent a car, allow around $300-$700 per week.
- Hotel accommodation – there are a huge variety of accommodation available to suit all budgets and tastes. It does tend to be slightly more expensive that other Central American countries, but you can still get a decent mid-range hotel for between $50 and $75 a night. Resort hotels and higher end accommodation can cost from $100-$200 a night.
- Food and Drinks – Family-run restaurants that serve local cuisine can charge as little as $5- $8 for a meal. Meals are at higher end restaurants can cost from $20 upwards.
- Whether you will need to take unpaid leave from work.
- Travel insurance.
Average Cost of Dental Work in Costa Rica vs. United States (USD)
|Treatment||Average Cost in Costa Rica||Average Cost in US|
|Bone Graft (per CC)||$350||$1,100|
|Bridge||$400 per unit||$1,000 per unit|
It’s important to remember these costs are just a rough guide to the type of savings that can be achieved by traveling to Central America. When researching dental clinics, you will find the costs vary enormously. This can be due to the quality of the materials, particularly implant components. Some clinics will choose to use components manufactured by one of the major implant companies, while others may cut costs by choosing generic components.
How Long Does It Take? How Many Visits Are Required?
Your clinic will have your dental x-rays and cone beam CT scan before you come to the country. This allows them to accurately plan your treatment, reducing the number of appointments required. A minimum of two dental appointments are required to place implants.
During your first appointment, your implant will be inserted. Afterwards, it must be left to heal for between three and six months. During this period you will be provided with a temporary restoration. Once healing is completed, a second appointment is required to attach the abutment to the post and to fit and adjust your permanent crown.
If additional procedures such as bone grafting or tooth extractions are needed, these can be carried out during your first appointment. Sometimes it may be possible to extract the tooth and to place the implant at the same time.
It’s also sometimes possible to place a bone graft at the same time as an implant, but only if a minimal amount of bone is required. Otherwise, you will need three trips to complete treatment. Plan to spend between three and five days for each visit, although your dental clinic will be able to give you specific details about the time and number of visits required.
It’s becoming increasingly common for dentists both in the United States and in Costa Rica to fit what are called “immediate load” dental implants. With this procedure, teeth can be attached to the implant shortly after surgery and there is no need to wait for the implants to heal and integrate with your jawbone.
For some procedures, these teeth will be temporary and are simply designed to help you smile, talk and eat quite comfortably. Once the implants have healed, these temporary teeth are replaced with your permanent teeth. Immediate load implants are only suitable for use during certain implant procedures. Your dentist will be able to advise you if this method is suitable for your treatment.
What If I Have a Problem with My Dental Work?
Clinics will typically offer some form of warranty or guarantee in their contract or agreement. This guarantee should cover the cost of repairing or replacing any work should anything go wrong due to poor workmanship or to the failure of materials. It is very rare for good quality components to fail, but it’s something that does happen occasionally.
Read any guarantee or warranty extremely carefully to find out the length of the warranty and whether it covers the cost of corrective treatment in your own country. Read about any exclusions from this guarantee very carefully. It is extremely unlikely that a dental clinic in Costa Rica will pay for corrective treatment at another clinic.
If something goes wrong with your dental implant, it’s highly likely that you will need to return to CR for restorative work under the terms of the guarantee or warranty.
What You Should Know about Traveling to CR
Low Crime Rates
Costa Rica enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in Latin America. Around 50 years ago the country was demilitarized. Visitors find Costa Ricans are extremely hospitable and friendly, epitomizing the saying “pura vida” which translates into “full of life.”
There Are Lots of Things to Do
There’s no shortage of things to do. Visitors who are interested in culture should head to San Jose to visit the many galleries and museums. People who enjoy searching out local artists should visit towns such as Santa Elena, Scarchi or Monteverde. Of course, there are plenty of beautiful beaches for those who just want to relax.
Best Time to Visit
The dry season extends from mid-December to April and it’s ideal for people wishing to sunbathe or to visit the rainforests. However, this is the most expensive time to visit the country.
Cheapest Time to Visit
The prices between May and November are at their lowest as this is the rainy season. If you visit during June and July, you should find these months less rainy and it’s an ideal opportunity to visit the forests that will have been refreshed by the damp weather.
U.S. and Canadian citizens with more than six months remaining on their passports do not require a visa for visits of less than three months. Other nationals should check their government’s website for information about visa requirements.
Is Costa Rica Safe to Visit?
In spite of the country’s low crime rates, it pays to be aware of theft (mostly pickpocketing) which is the most common crime perpetrated against tourists. Take sensible precautions and you’ll greatly reduce your chances of falling victim.
What to Read Next
- Complete Guide to Dental Treatment Abroad
- Cost of Getting Dental Implants in Mexico
- How to Find a Dentist You Can Trust
- Possible Dental Implant Problems & Causes of Failure
Over to You
We’re interested to know – how much did you pay or what price were you quoted for treatment in Costa Rica? Let us know by leaving a comment below!