Do you love to eat sweets? Have your teeth started to protest? Maybe you need some serious dental work. You went to the dentist and found out it will cost you thousands of dollars! Dental work is not something we can afford to ignore, yet it is out of reach to many people that need it because of the skyrocketing costs. A simple root-canal, post, and crown can cost over $2000! For one tooth! What happens when you need 2 or 3? Most of us either have to use a credit card or live with the pain while we save and save. Or, maybe you end up having the teeth pulled and live with the gap. But many people do not realize that this will then cause issues with the teeth opposite of the one that is pulled. It can start them down a road to early dentures. But what other option do we have? Well, more and more people are looking south.

Dental Tourism is a quickly growing industry! Many Americans and Canadians have been going to Mexican border towns to get their teeth worked on. But how do you know which one to go to? Recently a friend was in Mexico to get some work done. He followed the recommendation of a friend to find the dentist (who turned out to be not so great). While there he asked the dentist how many other dentists were in that town. His reply? Over 600, but only 40 of them were any good! Your odds of finding a good one are steep! A good resource for finding a reliable dentist, no matter what country you are in, is Mexican border towns also do not have the best reputation for safety. If you have ever been to one, you know they are not the most beautiful places to visit. And if you need extensive work done, which is why you are in another country for dental work in the first place, it will take several visits and at least a few days. Who wants to spend their hard earned vacation time in a dirty, boring, and potentially dangerous place?

Because of this, many have been looking even farther south. Costa Rica is also a quickly growing dental destination. Costa Rica is a beautiful and relatively safe place. It has long been a tourist destination for eco-tourists and retirees as well. Therefore, many Costa Rican Dentists have capitalized on this and started advertising there services to Americans and Canadians. The savings over North American dentists is substantial, and you get a great vacation out of it as well. Let’s look at the numbers: In the United States a root canal will cost you around $1000, and then the crown will cost you another $1200. That is $2200 per tooth. In Costa Rica the root canal will cost around $300 and the Crown $440. That is only $740 per tooth! An airline ticket will cost anywhere from $350 to $700 depending on where you are flying from, and the time of year. When you factor in hotel and other expenses you will probably be spending a little more if you are only getting one tooth done, but you get a great vacation out of it at the same time! And if you are getting more than one tooth done, you are immediately saving money! Which would you choose?

Another rapidly growing, but often overlooked dental destination is Guatemala. Like it’s neighbor to the south, Guatemala is a beautiful, lush country, but with much smaller crowds. Much of Guatemala is mountainous and therefore has Spring like weather all year. It has vast amounts of Mayan history and culture that are easily explored. And it is much safer than the many biased news reports would lead you to believe. Antigua is a UNESCO heritage site and is very safe. And for you Star Wars fans, a visit to Tikal will take you to the moon of Yavin 4. Parts of Guatemala City are extremely nice, and you would never know that you aren’t in North America. The dentists offices are state of the art, and the one I visited was nicer than any I have been to in the States. But, let’s talk about the bottom line. Looking at the root canal/crown scenario again: A root canal is $225 and the crown is $375. That is only $600! Flights to Guatemala are similar in price to Costa Rica. However, hotel prices, food, and transportation are much cheaper. You could very easily have a week vacation in a beautiful country, get your tooth fixed, and still save money! And that is only talking into account one tooth. For someone needing a full mouth restoration, the price can go from almost $100,000 in North America, to less than $30,000 in Guatemala! That is enough savings to buy a new Porsche!

So if you have a tooth ache and your wallet is thin, look south. Mexico is probably the cheapest and easiest option, but doesn’t offer anything else to go with the experience. Costa Rica and Guatemala offer a beautiful vacation, world class service, and significant savings. Where are you going to go?

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