The low cost of dental veneers in Costa Rica is only one of the many reasons behind the popularity of dental tourism in the country. Patients who travel here for this procedure find prices considerably lower than in the United States.
For the 130 million Americans who, according to a June 2012 article published in the Deseret News, don’t have dental insurance, these savings can mean the difference between getting the care they need and living with an unhealthy or embarrassing dental condition.
About Dental Veneers
Veneer is any thin layer of partial porcelain cap attached to the surface of a tooth. These are useful in covering a tooth that has been stained or chipped, or to protect further damage to its surface.
Porcelain is increasingly becoming the material of choice for dental veneers. In this video, a Costa Rican dental implant surgeon discusses porcelain veneers and their benefits. Lumineers are a popular brand of porcelain veneer that are noted for their ease of application and natural appearance.
Average porcelain veneers prices start from around $350.
- Patients who travel for porcelain teeth veneers have a number of convenient treatment options. Generic and brand name prosthetics, including Lumineers in Costa Rica cost far less than in the United States and Canada. Both are widely available in dental clinics across the country.
- The savings you make are not because of substandard practices; they are largely the result of the country’s lower cost of living.
- Many of the country’s dentists have received training abroad, and most patients who travel for dental work report that the treatment they receive compares favorably to that offered by clinics in the United States or Canada.
Planning your Trip
For many patients who travel here, the trip is their first experience in a Central American country. Luckily, the country has a well developed tourism infrastructure that makes it an ideal place to explore this unique part of the world. Here are some travel tips to make planning your trip easier:
- When looking for the best value on your dental veneers, San Jose, the country’s capital, is the ideal place to start. As the largest city in the country, it has the biggest international airport and the highest concentration of dental clinics. However, anyone interested in seeing the country’s touristy sites should be aware that many tourist destinations are located well outside the capital.
- Temperatures can vary widely. Pack according to the activities you plan on doing: those staying exclusively in San Jose should expect a mild climate, with daily highs ranging from 78 to 83˚F year round.
- Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, though many in the tourism and hospitality sectors will speak at least some English. Many dentists, especially those catering to foreigners, are bilingual.
- The country’s currency is the colon. Americans should have no trouble using ATMs in San Jose and other tourist zones, though be sure to pack enough cash on hand if you plan on venturing off the beaten path. Most of the smaller shops and restaurants will not accept traveler’s checks or credit cards.
There’s no question that proper dental care is getting harder and harder to afford in Canada and the US. A September 2009 report published in Slate Magazine estimates that “between 1998 and 2008 the increase in the cost of dental services exceeded that of medical care and far exceeded the overall rate of inflation.”
Whether or not the low cost of dental veneers is worth traveling for is ultimately a personal decision, though trends indicate that dental tourism will continue to become an increasingly viable option for many Americans in the years to come.
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