How to find your perfect Costa Rican dentist

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Patient Report on Kriebel Dental

 Picked the wrong dentist in CR?  You're not necessarily doomed if you cut your losses in time and re-orient yourself.  Here's an example from a US dental patient who did just that.

She emailed me directly to discuss her adventures (or misadventures, rather).  But it all has a happy ending!

(She's given me permission to post her private email to me.  I've also posted her long review of Topix, a shorter version of which she posted #7662 earlier today on Topix.)

Thanks!  She found Dr. Kriebel on my blog (The Dentists==>Dave's Faves: The Specialists). It makes me feel good that my blog has rescued someone from a bad dental experience.


Hi Dave,

I thought I would send you off a note, because, although I did not find your website early enough to avoid my initial dental catastrophe, I did find it in time to make a determination about which dentist to follow up with once I had to find someone to fix some problems.  Just an FYI-I was referred to your website by [name redacted by request]. I had a terrible dental experience.  I was not able to get in to Nova quickly enough given the severity of my situation, and my limited time in San Jose, but someone had recommended Kriebel Dental, and your review of them sealed the deal for me.  I am just dropping this note because I wrote a review of my experience and want you to know that you are not steering people wrongly to see Dr. Mariano Kriebel or his dad Dr. Ricardo Kriebel (or any other staff members at Kriebel Dental), for reasonably priced, top of the line dental work. 

I would be happy to answer any other questions you have…but just wanted to say thanks for spending the time and effort putting together such an intelligent and informed website (not driven by profit)…it really helped me.  

Again, thanks for hard work that really benefits people,
Best regards,


Here is what happened to me-and how I wound up at Kriebel Dental: 

Without a doubt, Kriebel Dental is the BEST dental facility I have EVER been to ANYWHERE that I have lived, including six states in the US, Japan, The Netherlands and Mexico. 

Across the board, I have never encountered such a stellar combination of attributes in one dentist: Scholar-level education and training, polished, adept and PAINLESS clinical skills, experience borne from a 100-year lineage of dentists, and unparalleled, patient-centered treatment ethics.  Bar none, Kriebel Dental is in a league of their own.   The fact that I left Costa Rica raving about my dental experience says quite a bit about the provider.  This is especially true given the severity and complexity of dental problems I had developed by the time I finally (and fortunately) found my way to Kriebel Dental.  It’s difficult to articulate just how grateful I am that I wound up under the care of Dr. Mariano Kriebel, because I know the outcome would have been different had I not been directed to someone with his skills and experience.  The work that I required took a level of assessment and planning that most dentists are not trained for, and among those that are, few, if any, will actually invest the time to do the work correctly.  It simply does not maximize the profit margin, and, from what I have seen and experienced, many dental tourism clinics are focused on one thing: profit.  But, that was not my experience at Kriebel Dental at all. In fact, it was just the opposite: the treatment I received was patient centered and compassionate.  And, the final goal was excellence in dentistry-so my story ends well.  

 However, my dental tourism story did not begin well. While still in the US I had chosen a dental clinic based on poor criteria, and when I arrived to have the work done, it was a hellish experience and ended with me having work done that I was unsure of.  This was because I felt pressured and uncomfortable, and was so tired from flying overnight that I was not thinking clearly.  Thus, I allowed myself to be talked into something that I really should have taken time to think about.  By the time I got to Dr. Kriebel, my poor dental health was further complicated by questionable procedures, all adding to an already complex case.    

As background, I had decided to make the trip to San Jose because the condition of my teeth had deteriorated severely from patch-working dental problems for too long. The financial cost of the ‘quick fixes’ I had over the years had far exceeded a full mouth reconstruction, and without any of the benefit.  I have a severe grinding problem (Bruxism) and was at the point where my bite was so far off that I had worn through bonding, veneers and crowns, and was rapidly losing teeth.   

 For years, I had been hearing that Costa Rica was “The Dental Tourism Destination”  (even my US dentist admitted to this), so, once I made the decision to go, I decided to do my own research, believing that my experience as a “researcher” would ensure that I found a dentist qualified to deal with a situation as complex as mine.   This was a bad decision, in that not all dentists who appear to be “qualified” on the internet are equal.  So, although I followed very specific criteria in my search (eg. those listed with the US Embassy, mentioned on dental tourism referral sites, memberships in professional organizations, etc), in the end, I wound up choosing the Clinic whose name came up most frequently in my search.  I now understand that this simply means that they pay for more advertising than others, and says nothing about the dentists’ qualifications, or the quality of their work.  

 The good news is that I WAS directed to Kriebel Dental and I am inordinately grateful.  Everything about the experience can be rated as outstanding.  Upon entering the clinic I noticed that the office reception is immaculately clean, tastefully decorated, quiet and peaceful, and it is staffed with gracious, welcoming people. I immediately felt comfortable and experienced a huge sense of relief.  The rest of the clinic was equally pristine-every room that I saw was spotless, organized and clearly sanitary.  The dental chairs face huge glass windows with a view of Sabana Park, with mountains as backdrop. Thus, the environment itself is recipe for relaxation.   When Dr. Kriebel came in, I explained my situation to him, chatting on, probably way longer than I should have.  He sat and listened calmly, and (I felt) non-judgmentally, as I babbled on about my deplorable condition and horrendous experience.  There was something about his demeanor that just calmed me down.  He took x-rays, did an exam and asked a number of sensible questions that no-one had ever asked me before.  It was clear that he was listening with a high attention to detail.  At the end, he explained that I did have a complicated situation but it certainly was manageable, and in fact, it was his specialization.  It was at this point that I learned that he had done a four-year specialization at Ohio State University-and this was above and beyond his DDS.  Being an academic myself, I know that Ohio is an excellent school and getting in as an international student is no easy feat.   I asked if he could start immediately, thinking he would jump at the chance given the amount of work that was going to be involved.  He said no.  He wanted to spend time reviewing the x-rays and considering options, and then he would draw up a plan and go over it with me.  I was disappointed because I wanted it all fixed immediately, but internally, I knew I was in the right hands.   

In the end, I had two dental implants and some temporary crowns on the uppers, and all of my lower teeth crowned. Dr. Sergio Ortiz performed the implant surgery and was equally professional.  The procedure was seamless and they took care to ensure I understood every aspect of what was happening.   I am absolutely thrilled with the outcome and will be going back to finish the uppers in the Spring.   Everyone I have shown agrees that my new crowns are beautiful and very natural looking.   

 But, in addition to the appearance of the final product, the process itself was extraordinary, and is testimony to the fact that Dr. Kriebel is a consummate professional.  He is a very rare combination of new-school dentistry and old-school work/professional ethics.  He spent an inordinate amount of time attending to details, including consideration of any possible factor that could affect my bite, and then working to perfect each factor.  Meanwhile, he would regularly check in with me to be sure I wasn’t feeling any pain.  At some point I found out that he was using children’s anesthesia on me and that was why he was asking about pain so frequently.  When I asked why not use regular anesthesia, he explained that he remembered me mentioning high blood pressure when he took my medical history, and apparently regular anesthesia can complicate that.   All of this equated to him spending more of his time-a place where other dentists cut corners in the name of money.   In summary, every single aspect about my experience with Kriebel Dental was excellent.  I recommend them to everyone-family, friends, colleagues, etc.  At a time where the state of medicine in the US is questionable, this was a breath of fresh air and really has renewed my faith that there are health care professionals who take pride in their work, and truly care about their patients. For these professionals patient well-being IS THE BOTTOM LINE.   

 XXX XXXX, February 2016, New York, U.S.A.

Note added 5/8/2016:  I just put up a new post with an email interview with Dr. Mariano Kriebel. (Click on the "Dr.Kriebel" label to find it.) It gives some more background on this clinic. 

Kriebel Dental-New report from US patient

By CometGlare → Sunday, March 6, 2016