I understand the US economy is still in the tank with no tunnel much less light to be seen.

Unemployment seems like the ‘new normal’ in the US. Home equity that paid for our vacations, that new boat or motorhome and all our baby boomer ‘nips and tucks’ are a distant memory.

The one thing we all have in common in this economy is the need for good dental health and if you are over 40, usually you have teeth in need of repair.

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Some desperately.

Dental prices in the US do not generally reflect or take into account the tremendous daily struggle we as Americans are undergoing financially. US dentists (in most cases) are not going to see their quality of life affected because you don’t have cash on hand, a healthy balance on your credit card or a good credit score to finance a five figure dental bill.

As a result the idea of going to another country for dental work to save a great deal of money is no longer something unthinkable.

The cost of dentistry in the US has motivated individuals, some whom have never left the state where they were born, to hop on a plane and fly to Costa Rica to receive state-of-the-art dental care with a 40% saving over their US dentist.

Now here is what you need to know as you look to find a dentist here in Costa Rica. I understand that everyone wants to save a buck but you can take it to the point of getting what you pay for in the worst way. Generally you will save about 40% overall for most dental procedures… sometimes more.

The great danger is that in the manic pursuit of saving every last dollar you will almost invariably make a decision that will come back to haunt you financially with disastrous consequences for your dental health.

Lets look at some pitfalls of shopping for a dentist.




The Costa Rica Dentist Bait & Switch.




You may come across a slick and flashy website for a dentist that appears to have all the bells and whistles that scream for your dental dollars.


It can come with testimonials, ‘before and after” photos and great price points. Let’s say for instance that you need dental implants, which is by far the popular common dental procedure performed in dental tourism.

The website promotes a certain dentist and you make the natural assumption that he will be doing your dental work.

Not so fast! Is this dentist licensed to do dental implants?

All dentists are not created equal. A general dental practitioner is NOT qualified to do a dental implant. Only someone accredited as a oral surgeon can perform that procedure.

Then the question is who is doing the dental implant at this practice?

You may have been basing your selection of a dentist based on a website but when you show up the dentist promoted is not licensed to do the procedure.

You are sitting in the chair and in comes someone you have never heard of, now what?

This is not to say that you will not receive good treatment but now you are in the hands of a dentist that you know nothing about.

Here is another minefield. A very good price for a dental implant WITH the abutment/permanent crown is about US$1,500

There are two protocols for dental implants. The 1-Step Protocol is where you can have the implant installed (which should be a titanium post). After a few days the permanent crown with abutment is attached. Please remember that only 1 out of 10 patients qualify for this procedure.

If you are over 40 and you have been missing a tooth or teeth for more than 3 months where the implant(s) are being placed then, because of bone loss which results after a tooth is lost, your chances for the implant failing within two years are greater than 50%.

For dental implants to work you must have sufficient bone tissue to hold them in place. So if that is not the case then not only are you out your total investment in coming to Costa Rica but you have compromised your dental health.

I hate to have to say this, but sometimes looking to squeeze every last dollar, you eventually find a link online advertising a dentist who will do an implant for US$1,000 including the abutment/permanent crown… all in the same week…

Eureka! You smile and congratulate yourself at what a good shopper you are. No one is going to get the best of you!




Sounds great but if you do not know the right questions to ask like: “Is this dentist licensed to do this procedure?”, or because of probable bone loss: “Do I need a bone graft to make this work? And, do I have sufficient bone tissue?” then the reality of something being to good to be true will come back to punish you sooner than you think, expect or can afford.


For the record most dental implants (over 80%) have to be done by the 2-Step Protocol. The dentist can determine, preferably by a 3D tomography which is more accurate than a panoramic xray, whether the depth and health of your bone tissue can support the 1-Step protocol or not.

The most critical factor for a implant to stand the test of time is an accurate prognosis by the dentist. Where the bone tissue is not sufficient the titanium post implant needs time to properly mesh with the bone tissue (usually three months) prior to attaching the abutment/permanent crown.

If a correct prognosis is not made, or ignored for the sake of money or convenience, you are probably facing an implant failure in the very near future with disastrous consequences.

A doctor or a consultant cannot make a prognosis over the phone no matter what information you give them. If someone says they can you need to end the conversation.

Remember. Do not let shopping for the best price rob you of your common sense.

Here are some interesting points to keep in mind if you are shopping for a dentist in Costa Rica:

  • The best time to do a implant is immediately after a tooth is extracted according to Dr Mario.If I had a dollar for every patient who said after an extraction that they were advised to wait til the socket heals before the implant I would be a very rich man. Nonsense!

    I had a 68 year old client, Terrell Tucker, who had 13 extractions and 16 implants done in 3 hours by Dr Mario and was eating with temporary crowns 2 days later! The BEST time to do a implant is immediately after the extraction.

  • All titanium posts used for dental implants are not created equal. Like anything else from vacuum cleaners to toasters there are different manufacturers of titanium posts. Some are Mercedes and BMW’s some are, well… not.You get a quote for a few hundred dollars cheaper on a dental implant your first question should be, “Who is the manufacturer of the post? “There are several inferior types of implant post that have a failure rate greater than 30% due to technical or material flaws. If you want my choices email or call me.

Here in Costa Rica we have earned the well deserved reputation as a destination for medical tourism, especially dental tourism because of the great savings and in general, the quality of the work.

Having said that, please never negotiate your dental health to save a few hundred bucks more.

I have lived in Costa Rica for a few years now and have had the privilege of working with a highly professional and dedicated group of dentists, technicians and receptionists – all of whom speak English.

They are led by Dr. Mario who is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Dentistry in Oral Surgery and who performed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Among the many honors received by his practice he was selected, after a thorough vetting, by Blue Cross/Blue Shield USA as a preferred provider for their US policyholders who choose to have their dental work in Costa Rica through their subsidiary Companion Global Dental.

Slick websites, before and after photos and dentists who will bargain with you over the phone have to be taken with a healthy skepticism.

Dr. Mario’s goal and guarantee has always been, a perfect smile with a perfect price and he has the proof to back it up.




Dr. Mario is a Blue Cross Recommended Dentist in Costa Rica.
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Our immediate goal is to introduce you to world class dentistry at affordable prices and we will work with you personally, or your chosen travel agency, to facilitate any and every need you may have in making and fulfilling your travel itinerary.

For more information about our Blue Cross recommended Dentist Dr. Mario, please contact Charlie using the simple form below:

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