Truth About Dental Holidays

Dental treatments seem to be everyone’s wish list – whitening, bonding, porcelain restorations, you name it. And the numbers continue to rise, according to a quick poll of member dentists at the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD).

But will everyone get what’s on their list? Sadly no.

Many people put off having dental procedures due to the cost. Almost anyone would like to enhance their smile, if only it wasn’t so darned expensive – insured or otherwise.

With the rise in popularity of reality TV shows and direct-to-consumer cosmetic dentistry marketing, dental makeovers continue to grow: teeth whitening procedures have increased by 300% in the past five years, porcelain veneers by 250%, and dental bonding by 100% according to a recent study by AACD. The study also reports that 99.7% of Americans believe that a smile is an important asset, making probable cause for seeking dental treatments wherever possible.

Quick fix getaway

It’s no secret that employees of US-based companies cross the border into Mexico every day to receive dental treatments covered under insurance plans provided by their stateside employers. In fact, virtualy all the patients for board-certified clinics are US patients, and in the last 3 years, the economy has resulted in a rise of uninsured patients. This reflects the willingness of employers to be cost-effective and creative but more importantly, shows clear evidence that dental care across the border (any border) will continue to dominate the health care statistics.

A prime motivator for anyone seeking medical care procedures overseas, is price. Due to favorable exchange rates, Americans, for example typically pay approximately one-third or a quarter of what they would for the same procedures done in USA, Canada or UK, even with the cost of traveling factored in.

Dental fees reflect the area we live in. In a large US city for example, a veneer could cost up to $1,300, but only costing approximately $550 in Mexico for the exact same product. In the United States, you can expect to pay $600 to $700 per tooth for a porcelain-to-base metal crown. But you’d probably only pay around $450 in Costa Rica, or only $250 in Mexico.

So how safe is it?

Mexico, for example is considered one of the dental capitals of the world. A dentist in Mexico spend 5 years in dental school, similar to his American counterparts and dental schools in Mexico are as good as those in the US. Mexican dentists have to pass the National Board Dental Examination for admission to postgraduate dental studies and are required to continual education and conferences, just like any dental specialist.

On the other hand, Costa Rica has one of the best health care infrastructures in Latin America. Costa Rican dentists are skilled and board certified, and just like Mexico, have their equipment and materials imported from US. Dentists who work with medical tourists usually speak English or have a translator on staff.

Just a week

The truth about dental holidays is that a typical dental makeover holiday will take between a week to 10 days, depending on the dental work required. Tooth whitening takes a lot shorter and implants will usually take up the most time. Though you will have the flexibility of consultation with your dentist or dental surgeon, it is best to allocate a little more time for your holiday – just in case you’d like more work done. Besides, Mexico and Costa Rica house one of the world’s most amazing beaches and local cuisine, something you wouldn’t want miss out on.