How to find your perfect Costa Rican dentist

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Someone on the Topix forum recently asked, Who is good with veneers?  This is not the first time this question has come up, but it's the first time it's come up when I had my own blog to give my take on it. 

Veneers aren't a secret occult science, nor are they a specialty area in itself.  There are several specialty areas of dentistry, but "Veneerology" isn't one of them.  Rather, veneers are a part of prosthodontics, the specialty that covers crowns and bridges.  A dentist who is very skilled and successful with crowns, bridges, etc, should also be able to do good veneers.

Not being a dentist nor even having any veneers myself, let me just do some blue-sky thinking.  It seems to me that placing a veneer requires the same skills dentists use to place crowns, only more so:  An aesthetic sense to judge the color and select the material what would best work in a given situation; a feel for the strength of materials and cements to judge whether a given veneer would hold; technical laboratory skills to fabricate such veneers to such precise tolerances; and manual dexterity to prep the surface correctly.  In other words, it's just like setting crowns, only more difficult. At least in the judgment of this layman.

I think that this question arises from some bad experiences some patients have had with veneers.  Veneers are very likely more difficult to successfully acheive than crowns.  I suspect that some dentists whose skills are adequate to place crowns simply lack the additional skill and judgement required to do veneers. Hence this concern.

If you need veneers--or any other type of "cosmetic" dentistry, for that matter--you should choose a highly skilled dentist, rather than the first one that pops up on your Google or Yahoo search.  There are some very good dentists on this blog.  My first impulse would be to check out some of the specialists in prosthodontics.  These dentists have studied advanced cosmetic procedures under a master in their graduate programs.  Some of the other general dentists might well have acquired the experience and skills required for these procedures, but I can't speak to that.

Two years ago I talked with someone who wanted dental work done in Costa Rica for purely cosmetic purposes. There wasn't anything wrong with his teeth, he just wanted to look better.  Nothing wrong with that.  The trouble was the clinic he had chosen--a clinic so mediocre that it had trouble just doing the basics.  Like crowns.  A clinic that can't even do basic dentistry reliably cannot be expected to succeed in something much more challenging. After a long conversation, I was able to talk him out of his plan.  For this good deed alone, I fully expect to have secured my spot in Heaven.

If you want dental procedures for purely "cosmetic" purposes, you need to find someone who has excellent judgment and integrity in weighing the "downside" of the procedures you're considering, as well as having the skills to successfully accomplish it.  You want someone who can preserve what's working for you and just make it look better, not someone who will give you new dental problems.

Good luck hunting!


"Who's the best dentist in C.R. for VENEERS?"

By CometGlare → Friday, January 23, 2015
I had a long phone conversation with a would-be dental patient recently who was on the verge of a visit to C.R. to check out dentists.  A couple of isues came up that might be of general interest.

Cost was an issue for her as it is for many of us. After all, that's one reason why we're looking at Costa Rica.  For price-conscious patients, I always mention Cavallinis and Costa Rica Dental Team.  Both clinics do both full-mouth restorations and implants, but I think that the Cavallinis are particularly good to look at for economy-priced implants, and CRDT for crowns.

Another issue was scheduling procedures for implants with Dr. Gonzales.  She tried to contact Dr. Gonzales first and I guess that sort of surprised me until I thought about it.  Dr. G. is the implantologist (and periodontist) for Dr. Prada of DDS Dental, and so it would be natural for many US patients to make the contact with him since he would be doing the implants.  I think this may be how it works at some C.R. clinics (Dr. Anglada and Dr. Castro-maybe?), but the best and easiest procedure here would be to let Dr. Prada handle everything.  Let him be the point of contact, and if he thinks you should contact Dr. G directly he'll tell you.  This is the how both R.J. and I handled our procedures with Dr. G., implants in RJ's case and crown lengthenings in mine.  The beauty of this arrangement is that if something ever goes wrong, you just contact Dr. P., and he'll figure out how to fix it. I love that Dr. P and G work so well as a team. 

All the dentists mentioned here have their own entries on this blog under "The Dentists".
Pura vida!

Conversation with would-be patient

By CometGlare →