dental hygiene care in CR

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    I am planning to relocate to CR soon. I am a practicing dental hygienist and understand this is not a recognized profession in CR. I am wondering if the ex-pats in CR would prefer to have their routine dental cleaning performed by a dentist or would you seek out the services of a dental hygienist if available? I have contacted a San Jose dentist and he is interested in offering to his patients the services of a dental hygienist and wondering your opinions. Thank you and Be well! PatRDH


    Okay, it’s a stupid question, but why would a patient prefer one practitioner over the other? And how would you know the difference once the service had been rendered?

    It appears that routine dental cleaning is most commonly performed by dentists here in Costa Rica. Why would one seek out a hygenist?


    I have only ever visited one – very fancy – dental office in Costa Rica that has it’s own hygienist, every other dentist performs the cleaning themselves.

    And yes! Going through the process to be able to do this job legally – and to earn a fraction of what you would be paid back home – would be nigh on impossible…

    Scott Oliver – Founder


    Thank you for your opinions. In response to the issue of how would an individual know or even care. I do find in the US that many individuals prefer a DH because the education is very specific to the preventive services rendered and many DDS are too busy with restorative type services and would rather delegate this aspect of care. Since many expats are from the US just wondering their opinion. I would not expect the salary as paid in the US but would welcome the opportunity to continue practicing my profession. If not possible, I guess a change in life would be considered. thanks again. P.


    I would prefer the hygienist for three reasons. 1.) yes, special training (the worst cast I ever had was by the orthopedist himself) 2.) English (sorry Spanish is still lagging) and 3.) as a source of info on dentists.
    A negative might be the difference in diagnostics. Regards, Tom


    I second Tom’s preference. I live and die by my (specialized) dental hygienist. She has completely brought my gum issues not only under control, but has entirely improved the health of my gums (essential to overall good health).

    I had a series of dentists and surgical dental specialists over the years who never achieved this goal. Their work included root planing and bone grafts – which are just a BUNCh of fun! My hygienists very specialized training allowed her to bring me to health with the correct kinds of cleanings and regular treatments. I see her three to four times per year at a cost of $500 – $800 dollars per year. This has been a killer savings over the past cost of treatments.

    One of my concerns about moving to Costa Rica has been losing her outstanding and expert services. I’ll bet there are others besides myself who have had this experience and would be looking for an English speaking hygienist.

    So there….. Sue


    Thank you again for your candid responses. I have been a practicing RDH for 35 years and now teaching future DHs. I appreciate your comments about the preventive services and the ability of your dental hygienist to bring you to the best oral health. I know she is very good at what she does best – prevention! With the increasing evidence of the oral-systemic link related to overall health, the role of the DH is so important to our patients. It is so refreshing to hear your positive comments. I hope one day to be able to practice in CR. Be well! Pat


    If any of you have traveled around Costa Rica or noticed workers,here, they brush their teeth all the time. It is common in an office setting watching the staff walk into the bathrooms with their toothbrushes or men working at the roadway stop to brush their teeth. Yesterday, we were driving past the high school, and there was a 16 year old brushing his teeth by the water faucet.
    There are many who come here because the dentists provide good service at good prices.
    Yes, it could be a benefit to ex-pats for you to be allowed to work here, but until you gain permanent residency, you simply cannot do this legally.


    Well; in Canada it takes three years to become a dental hygenist, and they do a much better job than the dentist. How can you tell? Have the job done by a dentist and hygenist and you would know who gives you the better job. No contest, the hygenist is the best!


    I am not in anyway doubting the commitment to oral health by the CR people nor dental professionals- all I am asking is if people would like a choice and some folks are very much accustom to the DH treating them for their routine care. If it means that I could practice, I will go through the process. Pat


    Having someone working in ones mouth with tools and solutions is a very intimate and at times uncomfortable experience. The key for me is the gentleness and attention to my needs. I don’t know that a DDS couldn’t do as well because I have never had my dentist perform this function, unless it was when I was a child and I don’t remember. I have my teeth cleaned twice a year here in the states by a fabulous hygenist and will have to sort it out once I move, which will be by June of this year. I know that I don’t get all the gunk out myself and would look be interested in such a service.


    I don’t know how, or even why this started with a friend of my brothers, and it’s that he jumped on a flight to Costa Rica from Central Oregon each year, if not more often, to have dental work done in Costa Rica. He said the work was better and affordable. And that he was able to look forward to spending time in such a pretty, and enjoyable country, making a trip to the dentist a whole lot of fun.


    Thanks everyone for your opinion – it was fun to see so many thoughts!!:) pat


    We spent a couple of days with some friends in SJ and the wife is a retired Dental Hygienist and we talked about this posting and I asked her what she thought.
    She has only great things to say about the dentists here and felt that they perform all their duties with excellent care. She said, that she didn’t think the dentists would employ someone to duplicate what they are presently doing.
    Most of those who replied, by the sound of it, are still in the USA and may never have been to a dentist here.


    Does anyone know of a good inexpensive dentist? I’ve been to those that cater to foreigners but they are still expensive.

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