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Dental Tourism, Part 2

We met Margaret during breakfast yesterday, before we went to see my chosen dentist. She traveled here before for dental work with  Dr. Arnoldo Anglada in San Jose. A friend of hers recommended him to her. In turn, she recommended him to Doris, who flew here from New Jersey. Both ladies were delighted with their Tico dentist.

My heart beat faster after talking with Margaret at breakfast. What if I chose poorly? I did all my dental research on the internet, and that, as we all know, can be fallible.

Like I said, our room doesn't have a couch, even though the picture showed one. (See my grumble in the last post.)

Our appointment with Dr. Kriebel started for one of us at 9AM, and the other immediately after.

I initiated communications with Dr. Kriebel's office last September, before the epic train voyage across Canada. Vivianne spends much of her time coordinating patients from other countries, and her kindness and helpfulness won me over. She speaks and writes perfect English, which is understandable now that we know she moved here from DC.

My concerns melted away after meeting Dr. Kriebel. Young Dr. Kriebel is a fourth generation dentist here in San Jose, Costa Rica. His English also is perfect, and he has a great smile and personality. Darling thinks he's "guapo" and he is.

Before we came here, we sent the treatment plan given to us by a dentist near home, as well as some x-rays (after signing ludicrous paperwork about x-ray ownership). Dr. Kriebel reviewed those, and gave us a preliminary plan, but he explained that we needed full x-rays at his office for him to properly evaluate our dental needs. I get it. E-mailed scans of x-rays just aren't that good.

So our USA dentist told Darling she needed four crowns over ten visits costing over $6500. The same dentist told me I needed one crown, gingivectomy across a number of teeth and about ten resin composites for the "ditching" in my teeth, as well as an occlusal guard since it was "obvious" I grind my teeth. A total of six visits and almost $8500.

I used to grind my teeth, but haven't in a few decades. He got in my face and told me that I must still grind my teeth. He never knew anyone to stop grinding. I admit, I felt like grinding something at that moment.

The thing is, I watched his face as he told me these things and my heart told me he was lying.

He was more than willing to work out a payment plan. I'm sure he was, probably aligned with the payments for his house or car.

After the x-rays yesterday, Dr. Kriebel told Darling she needs only two crowns. I don't need any crowns, but I do have a cavity and will need some composites to protect my nerves from the ditching in some of my teeth.

The work is not nearly as extensive as the USA dentist told us. Dr. Kriebel actually ran a pen across the previous dental plan and told me "This just isn't what we'll do." I said "You'd have to meet the other dentist to understand." "I don't want to meet him," he replied.

Bottom line, we'll be done with our dental work in a few days. I'll post as we progress.

I might need more work where the cavity is. That remains to be seen. I can, however, be sure of one thing.

Dr. Kriebel will do what is best for my dental needs, doing only what is necessary.

That's what we were looking for...

Thanks for reading.



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Dental Tourism, Part 1

We're traveling.

I'm not loving it because travel is hard, even though the trip is to beautiful Costa Rica.

Southwest earned high marks for customer service. I'm sure the Oreo cookies they gave me had no bearing on my thinking.

I did my normal doze off until drinks and snacks, then doze off until wheels-down. I still got off the plane exhausted.

A guy at the airport almost berated me for not tipping him, even though he did almost nothing for us. That is not typical of Ticos.

We spent about $38USD for lunch. The restaurant was a little upscale, but the Italian food wasn't that amazing. I was warned it was pricey. I think we might have different definitions of good Italian food.

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Dental Tourism - Cost Analysis

People ask me whether I trust the dental work here. The short answer is "YES" and I'm not alone. Many of the nice people we met at our hotel came here for dental work with at least three local dentists, and everyone was a pleased customer. I like Dr. Kriebel, of course, since he is the one who worked on my teeth (and I won't hold it against him that he is an Ohio Buckeye).

That leaves the question, was it worth the time and trouble? There are two parts to that analysis. The first part is the cost estimate in the USA.

Here's what one dentist gave us.

Darling: 4 crowns @ $1624 apiece* with 4 visits: $6616 USD
Me: 1 crown @ $3131 and 9 surface fillings @ $348 apiece and 3 surface fillings @ $306 as well as gingivectomy for $393 in five visits: $7574 USD

You can see the total was $14,190 and our doctor near home was willing to take cash, credit or a payment plan - right then.

We walked away and I started checking on dental tourism.

Quality has to be an issue. We want well-t…