Are you considering dental work in Costa Rica? Reviews from former patients can be a rich source of advice and information as you research your decision. Before you get dental implants in Costa Rica, or other dental work, discover what the experience was like for others.
We know there is a lot of information available online, and sadly some of it is false advertising from clinics desperate for dental tourism patients. That's why we've included a section at the end of this article to help you filter out fake reviews.
First, take a look through this selection of tips and reviews from Costa Rica dental patients from the US and Canada. They all made the trip to save money on their dental care, and had treatments including:
- Dental implants
- Root canals
- Teeth cleaning
- Dental retainer
- Mouth guard
To help you prepare for your trip, check out our full guide to dental tourism in Costa Rica. And if you decide it's not the right place for you, read about some other popular locations for cheap dental work. Our aim is to provide all the information you need to make the right decision.
Table of contents
- 1 “Make sure you do your research”
- 2 “I am extremely satisfied”
- 3 “Clean and professional… with just a sprinkle of extra slowness”
- 4 “I’ve had nothing but excellent experiences seeing a dentist in Costa Rica”
- 5 Dentist Interview
- 6 Dental work in Costa Rica: reviews summary
- 7 Our tips for avoiding fake Costa Rica dental reviews
“Make sure you do your research”
Shea from Portland, Maine traveled to Costa Rica for dental work at 25% of the price quoted by his American dentist. He needed extensive work on several teeth which he had neglected since childhood. This included six root canals and crowns – eek!
Since the crowns would take a few days to make after the initial treatment, Shea was left with almost a week of free time. He took advantage of this by heading to a peaceful mountain lodge just 30 miles from the center of San Jose.
Shea got his work done at Meza Dental, one of the best known clinics for dental tourism in Costa Rica. He was very happy with the experience but recommends everyone does their own research. Here is some of the advice Shea gives:
- Consider the costs of flights, transport, food, accommodation and other travel costs – not just the cheap dental care
- Look for a dentist with a US education
- Check review sites and not just the dentist's own website
- Know what your options are if anything goes wrong after you return home
“I am extremely satisfied”
Former pilot Tom got dental bridges and dental implants in Costa Rica. He admits that he didn't take very good care of his teeth growing up, which is why he needed so much dental work later in life. He decided to travel to the “wonderful city” of San Jose in Costa Rica, partly because of how convenient it is to visit from the US.
Tom interviewed a few dentists in Costa Rica before deciding which clinic to visit for his dental care. In the video review below, he says he is very happy with the level care he received. He experienced very little pain and discomfort throughout his treatment.
Tom notes that in the US, it seemed that he had to visit a different dentist for each different procedure he needed. But in Costa Rica he was able to get his implants and everything else in one place.
“Clean and professional… with just a sprinkle of extra slowness”
Travis and Amanda are a couple in their thirties who saved hard to be able to quit their jobs and enjoy the world. They are currently living in Costa Rica and wrote this review of visiting a dentist in San Jose.
The work they needed was nothing major – cleaning and x-rays, a filling, an inlay, and a mouth guard. But the cost of all this treatment was still significantly less than they would have paid in the US. Just as well, since they no longer have dental insurance.
In their review, they note that the service, cleanliness and professionalism they experienced were all equivalent to what you'd expect in the US or Canada. The only downside was perhaps longer waiting times and slower service (and they are certainly not the first reviewers to mention this).
In the clinic they met several other Americans who had flown from the US for dental work. One guy said he visited every year to get affordable dental care and explore more of the country.
“I’ve had nothing but excellent experiences seeing a dentist in Costa Rica”
The last reviewer we're featuring is technically an expat rather than a tourist, but her years of living in Costa Rica have given her some useful insight into the dental industry.
Sammi says her experiences with Costa Rican dentists have been “nothing but excellent” – and she is not usually a fan of going to the dentist. She notes that when you visit a dentist there it's actually the dentist who does most of the work, whereas in the US a hygienist typically does your cleanings and a lot of the preparatory work.
Sammi wanted to correct the position of some teeth that had moved back after she'd had braces twice earlier in life. Her US dentist had said the only option was another course of orthodontic work costing thousands of dollars. However her dentist in Costa Rica was willing to try a retainer, which is producing great results.
On her blog reviewing her Costa Rica dental experience, Sammi also gives some useful information for anyone considering visiting the country. She has the usual advice about researching and contacting your dentist ahead of time. She also provides the following cost estimates so you can budget for your trip:
- Mid-range hotel: $80-$120 per night (budget options also available)
- 3 meals a day: $30
- Car rental: $25 a day
As well as reading reviews from Costa Rica dental patients, you can also find interviews with dentists practicing there. The following video is worth watching if you're seriously considering work like dental implants in Costa Rica. The interviewee, Dr Prada, works at DDS Dental in the Escazu region of San Jose.
If you don't have time to watch the whole video, here are some of the key points he makes:
- Some clinics have 10 or more dentists practicing at them. If you want to see a particular dentist, be sure to request them by name.
- Check how much experience your chosen dentist has with the procedure you need. Good training is only half of the picture.
- It helps if you can provide a treatment plan and x-rays from your US dentist when you first contact the clinic.
- Generally speaking, in-house dental labs aren't as good as external ones.
- Whatever dental work you need, try to see a specialist for that type of work (e.g. prosthodontist, endodontist, periodontist).
Dental work in Costa Rica: reviews summary
Perhaps the most important piece of advice to take from these reviews is to do plenty of research to find a dentist and clinic to suit you. Don't base the decision purely on price; also check the dentist's qualifications, ongoing training, specialism, and clinical experience.
It seems that dental clinics in Costa Rica – even those which cater mainly to American tourists – operate on a fairly laid-back schedule. Don't be surprised if you have to wait a while for your appointment.
Finally, because your dental trip to Costa Rica will involve costs for flights, accommodation, food, and travel, be sure to factor in all these expenses when working out how much you'll actually save overall.
Our tips for avoiding fake Costa Rica dental reviews
The Costa Rica dental tourism industry is heavily reliant on positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations. Unfortunately, this means some dentists and clinics resort to dishonest tactics to boost their online reputation.
How can you tell if the Costa Rica dentist reviews you're reading are genuine?
Well, it certainly helps to look further than the clinic's own website and YouTube channel. No doubt you'll find plenty of good testimonials there, but it's easy to cherry-pick the happiest patients and discard any negative comments.
Look on forums and independent review sites to get an idea of other peoples' experiences. However, be aware that clinics may incentivize people to post rave reviews or add positive comments to any reviews that seem negative. These comments can even come from staff and their friends rather than real patients.
You'll probably find the most impartial reviews on independent blogs (such as those featured here). Of course, it's still possible the writer received a small discount to mention the dentist or clinic, but most just want to share the information with others. Do be wary of any reviews that seem 100% positive and don't mention any downsides at all.
As you read information from a variety of sources you should build up a fairly accurate picture of what to expect.