What I know about implants in Costa Rica

By CometGlare Sunday, October 5, 2014

I'm not a dentist. I don't have any implants. I have never researched implants and I really shouldn't be commenting on implants.  But I can't help myself, so I'm going to go ahead and tell you what I do know about getting implants in Costa Rica.

Implants are a mysterious topic for many US patients who suddenly learn from their dentist that they need one (or several).  Let's see if we can demystify it some.

First, as I explain elsewhere on this blog, I have nothing against US dentists.  If you have a local dentist that's an expert in implants, by all means, take advantage of him. Not all US patients are so fortunate, and so there has always been a demand for dental services abroad.

Implants are not an exotic specialty in Costa Rica.  CR dentists have been doing them for over 20 years.  Implants are now a bread-and-butter service at many CR dental clinics.  Services can range from a single implant to replace a diseased tooth, to several implants and associated crowns/bridges/appliances to replace all the teeth on the top or bottom of the mouth. I won't presume to give you any advice for your particular needs; that's the job of highly trained dentists.

You won't save much money going to Costa Rica if you just need a couple of implants: The travel costs will eat up the savings, especially since patients generally require multiple trips.  But if you need a whole bunch of implants, the savings can add up fast.  More importantly, you might be able to afford a much better dental solution in Costa Rica for the same price you would pay in the US for a lesser solution.

All of the clinics listed in the "The Dentists" menu do implants.  Patients frequently post on the Topix and TripAdvisor forums about their experiences in Costa Rica with implants.  In the last year alone, people have posted on Topix from these clinics: Cavallini clinic, Nova (Dr. Obando), DDS (Dr. Prada and Dr. Gonzales), Dr. Anglada and others.  My knowledge about implants comes from these posts, and occasional conversations with other patients.

The Cavallini clinic offers high-quality, economically priced implants.  They have placed over 21,000 implants since 1980.  There is discussion on the Internet boards from time to time about the best types and makes of implants, but I don't follow those discussions.  Sorry!  Most patients don't care about the particulars as long the final result is solid and aesthetic.

The Costa Rica Dental Team also does implants; please see their page.

This photo of a lone surfer at the edge of the Costa Rican surf is so relaxing to me.  I hope it relaxes you too.  And if you're reading this blog to research dental implants abroad, you could probably use a little relaxation!  (123RF stock photo)

The specialist clinics discussed on this blog (DDS, Nova, Anglada, and other specialty clinics) offer specialist services, naturally:  One specialist places the implant and another specialist fits the crowns/bridges/appliance.  The dentist placing the implant is sometimes called an implantologist.  Though a graduate of a US specialty program would more frequently be called a periodontist with training in implants.  Implantology is not a separate specialty in US dental schools, though it is in other countries. The dentist placing the crowns would be called a prosthodontist (if he holds a graduate degree in that specialty).  Prices for implants by specialty clinics are pretty standard, about 800 or 850 for just the implant (no crown) according to one person I talked with recently (Oct 2014).  Prices for a crown-on-implant run a little higher than crown-on-natural teeth.  As there are different choices of crown material with different prices, it's hard to quote a figure.

If I needed an implant today, I would probably use my current dentist with a high-end crown made by a top outside dental lab. (I would go to Costa Rica even if I needed only one implant.)  I think that this would run a little above $1800, implant plus crown.  This is the route that one patient took last year for his rather involved case.  It worked out well, judging from Rod's blog, which has already inspired several people to make the pilgrimage to Costa Rica.

For exact prices, you will have to contact the clinics directly.  You can find the URLs of their web sites listed on the clinics' individual pages in the "The Dentists" menu of this blog.  To get comparable quotes, please be specific in the work you need done and how you will pay (credit card or cash/wire transfer).  Some dentists include extractions in quotes, others charge separately.  Most dentists quote credit prices, but some quote cash prices, which are generally lower.   You can also explore choices in crown or implant materials.

Some dentists will work up a prospective treatment plan for complicated cases based on x-rays and photos you send them.  The treatment plan will show how the dentist proposes to treat your case.  It might offer alternative approaches.  See my Q and A posts for more information.

Of course, implants are performed by clinics not discussed on this blog.  Feel free to explore your options among good Costa Rica dentists. It's always great to learn about great, new dentists.

So that's it, folks.  That's all I know about implants.  It's not a lot, but it should be enough to give you a few ideas and get you started. And that's as much as this blog aspires to do.

Pura vida!

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