At least 50% of Americans put a hold on healthcare because they don’t have the money or insurance coverage to pay for it. Out of the group of people who delay seeking healthcare, 55% put off receiving dental treatment. This includes those who delay orthodontic treatment.
Ever wondered if the same percentage of people don’t take vacations? It’s something to think about.
What if you could take a vacation and take care of your teeth? Imagine visiting a tropical paradise and receiving a smile makeover. Dental travel makes it possible!
Costa Rica is one of the top destinations for dental tourism. We have 8 tips to help you prepare for your visit with a dentist in Costa Rica.
1. Don’t Forget Your Passport
Costa Rica is known for its laid-back culture. That doesn’t mean you won’t need travel documents when you enter the country.
If you’re a U.S. citizen, you won’t need a travel visa, but you will need a valid passport. You’ll also need a return airline ticket. Citizens of other countries should check with a travel agent who can advise you about your travel requirements.
You’re welcome to visit Costa Rica for up to 90 days. If you stay longer, you’ll need a residence permit.
2. Make Sure You Have an Appointment
Before you finalize your travel plans, make sure you’ve confirmed your appointment.
Many patients visiting a dental clinic in another country make their appointment online. While this doesn’t normally present a problem, it’s always a good idea to go the extra mile and make sure the clinic received your request. This helps you avoid traveling thousands of miles and finding out all you have is a hotel room.
Confirm your appointment with a phone call before you pay for plane tickets. If you take a minute and double-check your arrangements, you can enjoy your trip without stress.
3. Ask How Much Time You Need
Many dental procedures take multiple appointments. For example, dental implants require 4 separate appointments.
Before you make your travel arrangements, talk with the dental clinic staff and make sure you understand how much time you’ll need for your treatment. Knowing before you go can save you from costly changes to flights or other travel plans.
It’s also a good idea to plan for at least one extra day. If you allow yourself a little extra time, you’re prepared for any unexpected situations.
4. Bring Your Dental Records
Help your dentist in Costa Rica provide the best dental care and bring a copy of your dental records.
You’ll fill out a dental health history when you visit the dental clinic. If you have your records, you won’t need to rely on memory. Your dental records should include a history of office visits, diagnoses, and treatment plans.
Most dental records also include important information on your general health such as allergies and medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes.
5. Invite a Friend
Whether you’re new to dental tourism, or you’ve already enjoyed a few appointments, it’s always wise to bring a companion.
A friend or family member can be a wonderful support if you need anesthesia or other medication.
Anesthesia or pain medication can make you feel a bit disoriented. Add to that the fact that you’re in an unfamiliar place.
Having a support person means you can get back to your hotel safely and you’ll have someone keeping an eye out for any unusual side effects of treatment.
6. Don’t Book Tours Until You See Your Dentist
Yes, you’re combining dental care with travel but don’t go overboard with booking tours and activities before you meet with your dental care team.
Maybe you already have a preliminary treatment plan. Keep in mind your plan may change once the dentist examines you in person. That could mean appointment days and times change also.
Once you know your treatment schedule you can make arrangements for beach trips and soaks in Costa Rica’s hot springs.
You might also find better deals locally than when you reserve activities online.
7. Pack Your Bags Wisely
Depending on when you visit Costa Rica, you may need rain gear. Check weather conditions before you pack. Costa Rica has two weather seasons—rainy and dry.
While you’ll likely spend most of your time wearing shorts, bring a pair of long pants and a jacket in case you visit an area where the elevation is higher.
Pack fast-drying clothing items that wick away moisture. This is a lifesaver if you visit the beach or rainforest.
Other than your swimming suit, flip flops, and things you’d take on any other vacation, consider also packing these essentials:
- Mosquito Repellent
- Water Bottle
- Waterproof Phone Case
- Spanish Dictionary
It’s also advisable to check with your airline and ask about weight limits and baggage restrictions. You don’t want to arrive at the airport with overstuffed bags.
8. Communication Is Key
Don’t hesitate to contact your dental clinic during the planning process. When you have questions or concerns, they’re there to help.
Ask the dental staff for a referral to a clinic in the U.S. where you can have a follow-up visit if needed. It’s possible your dentist already has a network they work with and can provide contact information.
Another aspect of communication is with your family and significant others back home. Let someone you trust know your travel itinerary. Keep them updated once you arrive and after you complete your dental work.
Ready to Plan Your Dental Travel?
Hopefully, you’re excited about the possibility of dental travel and are ready for the next steps.
Once you have your passport, your dental records, and an idea when you can travel, make your initial appointment for treatment. Once you’ve confirmed your appointment, you can finalize your other travel plans such as airline tickets and hotel.
If you have any questions while planning for your dental treatment in Costa Rica, contact us! We’re here to provide excellent care and help you have a wonderful trip.