These are my experiences while obtaining substantial and excellent dental work performed by Dr. Mario in Escazu, Costa Rica, where dental tourism is almost as commonplace as amusement park tourism in Orlando.

To begin with, there was Charles Dennard, a U.S. expat who was so thoroughly informational and forthcoming over the phone with my wife Terri that we canceled other plans which I had begun to make for treatment in Mexico.

Terri and I were both persuaded, not only by the economics, but also by the surprising numbers of stateside patients and by their satisfaction with services received.

It was reassuring to have someone in San Jose with first hand knowledge of hotel, flight and ground transportation alternatives.

When the time came, he arranged for my ride from the airport, took me to dinner on the first night, and accompanied me next day for my initial appointment.

So, the apprehension and second-thoughts that could have arisen from being alone in a strange town where people speak a strange language never did. In the waiting room, I had a companion.

What you see when you arrive at the secured compound is a sparkling white two story professional building, fronted with floor to ceiling glass window-walls on the second level.

The place is less than a year old, smells new, and features four foot-waterfalls inside and out which maintain a soothing gurgling sound. On the sink in the restrooms are rolled individual hand towels on a zebra wood bowl such as you might find at Harrah’s. Everything is immaculately clean.

Their equipment is new. On one of the three twisted metal tentacles hovering about the dental chair is mounted a 24″ flat screen.

Back home, that computer would sit somewhere off to the side on a countertop. The stand-up x-ray does quiet orbits around your head.

The staff is engagingly friendly; receptionist Vicky and I talked about the things we could do with a winning lottery ticket.

Ana would summon the taxi afterwards and inform the driver in Spanish that I wanted to stop at a grocery store on the way back to the hotel.

While sitting in the dental chair, I could always hear in the background an ongoing quiet conversation punctuated with laughter; they like each other and seem happy to be there.

Twice I heard Katrina singing; it was very pleasant. Dr. Mario is a handsome man who, 20 years younger, could have passed for Nardo in the movie West Side Story and he has a sense of humor: “Maybe you’d look better without teeth.”

He will take the time to explain what he must do and why. He and Juan work deftly, with deliberation and without hesitation.

They are perfectionists. I was there for what is called full-mouth-restoration. Over the many years, piecemeal one-tooth-at-a-time repairs by quite a number of dentists in different cities had resulted in a ragged uneven bite which caused caps to be knocked off several times a year, promoted general deterioration, and which precluded enjoyment of a steak dinner.

The solution provided by Dr. Mario was total upper implants and matching lower caps.

That required some 10 appointments and maybe 35 hours of painstaking work by Dr. Mario and staff.

It also necessitated two separate visits to Costa Rica about four months apart so that the swelling could go down. Recommends

Have you ever considered Costa Rica for dental tourism? While saving a significant amount of money, you can get professional dental services and enjoy a short vacation in a beachy paradise.

We work with Costa Rica dentists since 2003 and we know the market better than anyone. It allows us to provide unique features for our visitors:

  • Recommened by US Embassy in Costa Rica
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Why? If you mount a picture on a wall, you work with two dimensions, vertical and horizontal, made easy by your electronic suction cup lazar beam level.

But if you take away the level and the wall and then add a third dimension, depth (upper and lower front teeth must match up), things become more complicated.

And you can’t make a mistake because it takes more than a dab of spackle to fix things. Also there are very tight tolerances; a millimeter drift on your living room picture won’t be noticed, but on your lower teeth will make your jaw ache.

So, yesterday, when I saw a full page advertisement in the paper for a full mouth restoration to be done locally in one day, I just wanted to shake my head.

The pain I feared never materialized — except just a little from the numbing needles. Not a big deal.

As Roosevelt said, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself, like when getting on the Hulk ride at Universal. Nothing is going to hurt you.

The price was about half compared to that charged in the U.S. However, Terri and I made in-roads on the savings by visiting the triple stacked waterfalls at La Paz, relaxing in the steaming thermal pools at Tabacon, zip lining down a mountainside (which is scarier than a dentist office), drinking p-berry coffee at the Doka plantation, and riding the aerial tram through the rain forest canopy.

Looking up at the perfectly cone shaped and towering ashen volcano of Arenal, we asked the guide if residents lived in fear. No, he said; it hasn’t spewed lava in three years and hasn’t killed anyone since 1968.

Although my day job has taken me to many a Marriot and Hilton, I normally stay at a small hotel with a butterfly garden, perched on the shoulder of a mountain overlooking San Jose.

There’s no swimming pool, but unless you look better in a swim suit than I do, it’s a small loss.

What you get at night is a spectacular view of city lights in the valley way down below and personal attention from Miranda and Mateo: “Would you like your breakfast brought to your room or served on the veranda?”

If you choose the veranda, then on a clear day you can see Poaz, an active volcano, off to the west.

You may want to visualize Costa Rica as a string of volcanoes with a beach on each side.
Written by VIP Member Dr. Thomas E. Elfers of Miami, Florida. U.S.

Read more about Costa Rica Dental Tourism: All on 4 Permanent Dentures in Costa Rica, and Costa Rica Dental Implants.

Dr. Mario is a Blue Cross Preferred Dentist in Costa Rica.
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