In 2016, 70,000 medical tourists flocked to Costa Rica for care. That’s nearly double the amount that came in 2011.
Costa Rica is quickly becoming a popular destination for people seeking medical, dental and cosmetic treatments outside of the US. This includes some of the 74 million Americans who don’t have dental coverage and require quality dental work.
If you’re in need of dental work, you may be considering dental tourism. Costa Rica should be at the top of your list. In this guide, we’ll tell you why and what you need to know to ensure you’re getting the highest-quality care.
What Is Medical Tourism?
Medical tourism as a whole concerns foreigners seeking medical treatment in countries abroad. Thousands of Americans travel to other countries for medical care every year.
Medical costs in the US are often expensive, especially for those without insurance. The countries that they fly to for treatment are far less expensive.
Others travel because they are immigrants to the US who prefer the health care in their home country over that of the US. This may also be related to costs and lack of medical or dental insurance.
Another big group of medical tourists travel because the procedure or treatment they desire isn’t available in the US.
Risks of Medical Tourism
When traveling to a foreign country for medical, dental, or cosmetic treatments, there are risks involved.
- If the destination country is not English-speaking, communication could cause misunderstanding and other problems
- The same standards for medication quality may not be existent in destination countries, increasing the chances of receiving counterfeit medicines
- Antibiotic-resistant bacteria may be more common in destination countries
- After some surgeries, blood clotting is an issue that can be exacerbated by flying
However, following this guide, you can avoid these common risks and ensure you have a great vacation at the same time as you get cost-effective, professional and certified treatment.
5 Things You Need to Know About Dental Tourism in Costa Rica
Below are 5 important items to know when considering Costa Rica for your dental treatment.
Why Costa Rica for Dental Tourism?
Costa Rica is a popular destination for medical tourism in general. It brought in about $485 million in 2016 alone and supports 20,000 jobs.
The primary forms of medical tourism in Costa Rica are dentistry and cosmetic procedures. Dental tourism alone represents 40% of the all medical tourists coming to Costa Rica annually.
But why is Costa Rica so popular?
Costa Rica is a safe country that’s both politically and economically stable. Its close to the US and there are direct flights coming in and out of Costa Rica daily.
The standard of care in Costa Rica is high. The World Health Organization notes that Costa Rica has a higher life expectancy than the US.
The Range of Dental Work Available
Any dental work that you can have done in the US is also provided in the US.
You can go to Costa Rica for whitening and cavity procedures. Dentists in Costa Rica can also provide dental implants, crowns, oral surgery, orthodontics, full mouth restoration pediatric dentistry, endodontics, and more.
When looking for speciality work, you can check colegiodentistas.org to see if your dentist is trained and certified to perform the work you’re looking for. This ensures that a qualified professional can practice the dental work you desire.
Dental tourism is particularly popular due to the low costs of dental work. Dentistry in Costa Rica costs as much as 75% less than what it costs in the US.
However, some dentists will try to take advantage of foreigners. It’s important that you’re aware of the average rate for the dental work you desire.
The good news is, medical and dental service rates are regulated in Costa Rica. The National College of Dental Surgeons provides a recommended rate for every service. This represents the minimum rate.
Although some dentists will charge a bit more, most remain close to the recommended rate in order to be competitive. Don’t go to a dentist that charges far less than others, as you often get what you pay for.
Checking for License and Certification
All dentists in Costa Rica attend college for 5 years. They’re also licensed by the National College of Dental Surgeons. You can check to if your dentist has a valid license on colegiodentistas.org.
A ProMed seal on a dental clinic signifies a certification from the Cost Rican Health Chamber. This tells you whether they’re certified to offer treatment to national and international patients.
Avoiding the Common Risks
First, always check that your dentist is licensed using the website provided. If you’re going for specialty work, ensure that your dentist is qualified to perform that work.
Check the dentist’s reviews online. Reviews can tell you a lot about their customer service, the quality of their work, and the longevity of their work as well.
Don’t travel if you have medical conditions that aren’t under control. Or talk to your doctor about the risks involved. Let them know when you plan to travel and to where.
It’s a good idea to bring a copy of your medical and dental records. Your dentist can review these ahead of your treatment for any possible complications or risks. Include any prescription scripts you have and a list of any medicines you’re currently taking.
If you decide to book your dental tourism through an agency, have an agreement in writing. The agreement should outline what treatment you’re receiving, what supplies are provided, and the extent of care that is covered by your payment.
To avoid miscommunication in countries where you don’t speak the common language, ensure you know how you’re going to communicate with the dentist.
Get a copy of your treatment records from your dentist. Have them include any information about follow-up treatment and/or any medications you’ve been prescribed.
Do You Need Dental Work Done?
Dental tourism in Costa Rica is increasingly popular for a reason. With the high quality of care, low costs, and beautiful scenery, Costa Rica is the perfect place to have dental work done while enjoying a vacation.
If you’re considering coming to Costa Rica for dental work, contact us for more information on how we can help you.