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Dentistry

Dentist in Costa Rica

May 2015 UPDATE: Below is my update from 2014, but the last paragraph is new. Thanks to all who continue to contribute to this forum. First and foremost, I would not have been in a position to post as a veteran of Costa Rican dentistry if it were not for the posted experiences of others who took the plunge before me and decided to help others by paying it forward. This forum has grown so large that it could possibly become more of a hindrance than a help at some point, so this yearly MayDay gathering of veterans is a good idea. I am fairly long winded, but I will try to hit some major points in my experience with the understanding that any who may be interested in additional information can contact me through Topix. What all of the veterans here had in common was the need for quality dental work at a reasonable cost and found this to be the case in Costa Rica. Even though many of us have had different doctors perform our work, I believe, for me, the greatest motivation(even after much researching of doctors, materials, processes, travel information, etc.) was the realization that the people posting here were just like me and if they could do it, so could I. I grew comfortable with the sincerity, honesty, and humility that was displayed. You read the general postings, contact veterans one on one, contact several clinics, make your decision, THEN GO!!! I am a patient of the Cavallini/ Marco Practice. I had a full mouth restoration( 10 implants- 6 upper, 4 bottom..... 26 crowns total on 4 bridges and 14 individual teeth). I had the first surgeries and temps done the last 2 weeks of May 2013 and the permanents done on a 2 week trip in November 2013. My total dental costs were $16,000.00, My other expenses(travel, lodging, food, etc. were @ $4000.00. I was able to claim everything on my taxes and received a very nice refund. My mouth is doing very well and I am very obsessive with keeping my mouth clean and hopefully healthy and good looking for the long run. May 1, 2015 update .... Everything is well except that I have had a crown on an upper right molar come off in January and in April on the same tooth. This is a tooth that I had a root canal performed on and has a post and core. My local dentist recemented the tooth both times and suggested that there is not a lot of tooth surface left to expect a long term permanent fix and that she suggested the tooth be removed and an implant be done. Well, if that is going to be the route to take, I will have it done in CR for sure. I will take this month to consider an action plan after I consult with Dr. Marco. NOTE: I went to CR in August 2014 and had an implant done instead of a root canal on a lower molar and instead of an individual tooth, the replacement tooth was joined to an existing bridge. It has worked out fine. Woody66  (May 1, 2015 | post #6979)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's to all. I pray that all have successful outcomes in their dental adventures. We must all pray for peace. Woody66  (Dec 24, 2014 | post #6620)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Bobrw1, Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It should be most helpful to those living west of the Mississippi as well as western Canada who may be looking to reduce travel expenses. Dr. Gavaldon has a well put together website and her impeccable English is a bonus. Cancun is a "go to" vacation spot for many North Americans and has a fairly decent reputation for safety to my knowledge. Most of the veterans here swear by Costa Rica, but overall, we want people to know about viable alternatives to the prohibitive high costs of dental work in North America. You may want to check some of the Mexican dental forums and post your experience there as some seeking there may not come here. Your choice. Thanks again and keep us abreast of your progress. Woody66  (Sep 6, 2014 | post #6278)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Bobrw1, Have no doubt that those who read these pages are aware that you have an issue with Sam. That being said, it would be much more helpful if you were to share some details of the plan that you and your doctor agreed on, the cost, the estimated time frames from start to finish, who your doctor is(website if available), and something about your travel experience in general. There is a Topix forum on dentistry in Mexico, but there should be no objections to you sharing here since most here are interested in helping others wherever they ultimately decide to go. Please help us keep this forum a positive and exciting experience for others who are still in the process of researching and making a dental decision. Thanks, Woody66  (Sep 5, 2014 | post #6275)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Greetings to everyone from lovely Costa Rica, Not only is it the rainy season here, but it is rainy season in this forum with a pinch of thunder and lightning added. It is so sad to witness the deterioration of this wonderful tool which used to be( and still can be) a place of encouragement for newbies who felt that, at last, they found people who were just like themselves; understanding their plight and offering a light at the end of the tunnel. In your comments, what are you offering of a positive nature? Cronyism, self appointed expertise, unprofessional recommendations that you are not equipped to render, accusations, name calling, cat fights, etc. is where this site is headed. The question that we each have to ask ourselves is, " Am I part of the problem or am I part of the solution? ". How many newbies have come here lately and seen the bickering and silently faded away; feeling that this a road to nowhere? How many veterans have come back hoping to " pay it forward" and decided not to be included is this growing wave of immaturity with people only thinking of themselves and "standing their ground"? Why not keep disagreements private? Do you have to have an audience because of a hurt ego? Can you exchange phone numbers, emails, etc. to hash this personal stuff out? Or do you need to let everyone know that they've been "owned"? Trust me, I do not need a response to this rant publicly or privately because it was not written to be a part of the problem .... only for your reflection. Peace, Woody66  (Aug 27, 2014 | post #6246)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Texas, Check the yearly update comments that you will find from different bloggers between May 1st and May 31st of this year. These postings were just started this year and are designed to help newbies by giving a compact window of those who have had work done in Costa Rica and a synopsis of their experience with their chosen clinic. The suggestion and follow up for the yearly "May Window" was the brain child of Chicago Dave. So he is the one to be credited for helping make this forum somewhat more manageable. Thanks Dave ! Woody66  (Aug 21, 2014 | post #6157)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Let's keep this a "PATIENTS ONLY" forum This format presents a level playing ground for lay people who need and want inexpensive, quality dental work as individuals and do not come here with preconceived notions as to what doctor has the best practice( although these notions do develop as people narrow down their choices and ultimately receive treatment). I would go out on a limb and state that no doctor can tell a potential patient any more here than they can on their website. This is why all of them have contact information attached to their website where you can give and receive more specifically in regards to your case. When people come here amongst their peers who are/were in their same position, they are able to narrow down their choice of clinic and have a comfort level and greater confidence as to how and what to ask when contacting a doctor/clinic. I personally believe that this is and should continue to be the primary focus of this forum. If this forum becomes a giant clearinghouse for doctors, what's the point of those of us who have gone through the process of "paying it forward"? Most doctors who would come here will ultimately refer you to get in touch with them to "further discuss your case" anyway, so what's the point? Woody66  (Aug 18, 2014 | post #6143)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Dave, How's it going? Fine I hope. I am with you 100% as far as keeping this forum for PATIENTS ONLY. When I was a newbie, the nature and character of this board was made clear and I appreciated it even the more for being a credible research tool. Because of the size of this blog, it's probably been a while since this issue has been addressed to the extent that doctors, medical tourism companies, etc. may not see any harm in putting in a good word for themselves. Likewise it is crucial that we confine the promotion of any doctor, clinic, etc. to our own experience with the warning that each person will have their own unique experience in the final analysis. Anyone researching doctors will steer clear of second party recommendations. I have asked a number of people that I met in CR if they knew about this forum and most said no. Only 2 that I could identify posted and they only did so once. I would not post their dental opinions here, but I might in a PM so as to keep the integrity of this board intact. Maybe now that Dr. Gonzales will tell her patients about this forum and ask them to comment here ..... especially after reading your first paragraph to her.LOL Woody66  (Aug 18, 2014 | post #6133)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Anyone who wants to showcase their(your) work in a business/classroom environment where they're getting paid should offer to pay for your travel,lodging, and meals at a minimum up front ....if they're serious. I'm not talking about busting balls; I'm talking reasonable ....with love. I believe that as well as we are treated as dental patients in Costa Rica, there is no doubt that dentist there that cater to overseas patients are doing extremely well in relation to the general population. They may make as much or more from one patient as the average yearly per capita(@$7,000. RJ, if Bill Clinton can get$100,000 per speech(45 minutes and he ain't sayin' nothin'), you should be able to get @ 8K. What say ye?  (Aug 13, 2014 | post #6116)

Dentist in Costa Rica

DECISIONS: "Performing root canal therapy on teeth that have crowns." http://www.animate d-teeth.com/root_c anal/t-root-canal- reuse-crown.htm Reading the above information on the supplied website was very instrumental in my decision to chose an implant over root canal therapy. Likewise, there are related articles at the bottom left of the website that give easily understandably information as to what's happening to you in regards to tooth infections. One key piece of info. that I wasn't aware of is that ANY alteration of a tooth(filling, prep for bonds, crowns, root canal, etc.) will cause microscopic fissures in the tooth and can allow bacteria in and subsequently cause infection. When one gets a bridge or crown, one cannot assume that the artificial appliance eliminates the need for meticulous cleanliness. In fact, an argument can be made that the need is even greater because of the number of surfaces that cannot be reached by normal brushing and flossing. Long story short, once you get your mouth fixed, you should be super motivated to keep it that way and not neglect it like you did in the past which led you to your current issues(not in all cases, I'm sure). Hey, is anyone familiar with oil pulling? Check this and related videos out. I do it on a regular basis. I found out about it in looking for something natural to deal with my root pain. It does work and really cleans your mouth as well. https://www.youtub e.com/watch?v=BJ_M pgzHKrA  (Aug 13, 2014 | post #6114)

Dentist in Costa Rica

RJ, I needed a root canal on a premolar. Long story short, With the travel insurance, it is more cost effective to go to CR. Especially since Dr. Marco gave me a choice of a root canal($300) or an implant($600) either with a crown at no cost. I'm doing the implant. The endodontist stateside said it was going to be $1300 for the root canal alone(and that was after a $125 exam). They also told me that the crown probably couldn't be saved .....just DAMN!!! Hey, I was not about to spend another $2-3000 for a post, core and new crown and all of the hassell and expense that would have been. The approval by the insurance offered by the clinic was a key factor in my decision as previously stated. Woody66  (Aug 13, 2014 | post #6112)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Register and send me a PM.  (Aug 12, 2014 | post #6108)

Dentist in Costa Rica

I will be at the Casa Marco on August 28th. You should register on this forum to take advantage of it's benefits.  (Aug 9, 2014 | post #6095)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Karen, I will attempt to answer each item as I actually experienced the answers upon my return visit. Always keep in mind that each person's experience will vary based upon several factors(patient's physical condition, treatment plan, doctor's skill, lab tech's skill, etc.). 1. Do you discuss with the doctor by phone or by email, what materials your teeth will be made of and costs or is this done AFTER you are physically in the office during a consultation period during your return? How do you prepare for the differences in the costs of materials? ANSWER: The final material that will be used for your permanents will be determined by you and the doctor after you have returned from healing(assuming you are going to have two stage implants). This will be the case even if you have discussed and expressed a desire for a particular type and style of material with the doctor initially. The costs are based upon you being aware of the least expensive treatment option agreed upon and your bank account will dictate your other options. 2. When removing the temps, do they do a thorough cleaning before taking new impressions and do they put the same temps back on while your new teeth(bridges, etc.) are being fabricated. ANSWER: You will have several adjustments and impressions prior to the final appliances(individ ual crowns and/or bridges) being permanently cemented. When removing your take home temps(that you have been wearing while healing), they will probably be rendered useless after the removal process. Your clinic will make sure that you have more working temps made for you to wear until your permanents are created. Your mouth will be cleaned at each stage of the process. 3. Do you have to be numbed and abutments put on your implants before the impressions are taken? ANSWER: Yes. When your temps are removed, there will be a lot of involvement in removing the old adhesive, tooth prep, and implant prep(attachment of abutments). I was surprised at all of the work required before the mouth was ready for permanents; especially where the natural teeth were being used as posts for the new crowns. 4. When the new teeth(bridges, etc) are ready, do you need to be numbed while they are being fitted? If you are numbed, how do they adjust your bite if you can't get a true feel for it? ANSWER: No. The permanents are fitted without you being numbed so you can have a good feel for the bite. 5. I'm assuming that the teeth are put in with temporary glue and not cemented in during this adjustment period, correct? My permanents were put in with permanent cement on the first go round. 6. How many days is the suggested minimum to "test" out the new teeth? I had 31/2 days after completion to "test drive". On my last day, the clinic rechecked my bite. I personally think that one should tack on 2 extra days. Karen, my return trip for permanents is outlined on posts 4940-4943 ( page 240 ). Hope this helps. Others may have different experiences regarding these 6 concerns and may wish to weigh in. Thanks for asking, Woody66  (Aug 7, 2014 | post #6086)

Dentist in Costa Rica

Check out my comments in post #4065 page 197. Being at the Casa Marco is like being called in your bedroom and then you going downstairs with no waiting. Also RJ has some pictures of Casa Marco on his website which is listed above his avatar.  (Jun 10, 2014 | post #5668)