Let’s face it, not everyone has the finances or freedom to be a Dental Tourist, and some who have the resources and liberty lack the desire, will or fortitude to travel down less traveled roads.  But those who do and decide not to travel overseas for dental care, given the high costs and less than stellar care available to them locally, may be cheating themselves on many levels.  I would suggest these people opt to see for themselves what all the hoopla, enhanced care, and savings is all about.

While each person must decide for themselves to be or not to be a Dental Tourist, hopefully, those with costly and complex dental issues will at least consider the benefits of traveling abroad for treatment.  Those who do, and buy into the concept of Dental Tourism, will stand to benefit on more levels than the obvious ones revolving around the Patient’s restored teeth and smile.  But it comes down to this…you must live it and learn it for yourself as no one can limp your limp for you, nor sit in your dental chair.

While I understand there are many who are against traveling abroad for care, and I respect their position, the experience of tens of thousands shows in most cases Dental Tourists are smart in seeking care outside their home area.  They also prove to be brave and adventurous in taking this step, and they become more worldly than non-Dental Tourists in doing so.

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Below are some considerations that justify my position, though I encourage all who disagree with these points to do so, while not being disagreeable.

I submit that Dental Tourist are smart because of the following reasons:

  1. They save money

Dental Tourism didn’t magically become an industry, it happened over decades.  No doubt, the first dental tourists were driven to care overseas or across borders due to the high cost of dental care in places like the U.S.  For others, it was the inability to receive timely treatments in places like Canada, Britain, Germany, and other countries where care is limited or rationed.  In the Americas, most Dental Tourism is driven by more affordable prices which often translates into savings, higher quality care, or a combination of both.

It is common to hear people in the U.S. rhetorically comment “are you crazy” or launch similar negative comments when their friends and neighbors tell them they are considering care abroad.  And these same people are often the ones telling people why something can’t be done, or how silly or foolish it is to do something.  For all practical purposes, they are the embodiment of Smarty Pants.  And for practical reasons, and faced with the burden of reality, they are frequently proven wrong.

What the collective Smarty Pants don’t often know is the truth.  Why?  Because they rarely if ever step outside their own comfort zones to see what other possibilities may exist; and sometimes where the real story is.  The objective truth. They are content seeing life thru one lens, and they often believe one size (their size) fits all for everyone, or they think it should.  They often think they are much smarter than people who have gone and done things – which they only theorize about – often without applying much intellect or rationale.

Well, the truth is most Dental Tourists do save money in most cases.  Some lots.  It is case specific as people travel from different areas to clinics in many different countries, for many different procedures.  And within each country, the options can be of quite varied too, so prices and the resulting savings are dependent upon those and other considerations.

  1. They receive better care

Many people believe that the best healthcare is in the U.S.  I believe that is true if you have the money to afford it and the access to it.  Unfortunately, most people don’t, and as a result, most U.S. citizens receive average care.  Good care, and sometimes really-good care compared to other industrialized countries, but average in the big scheme of dental care.  Who gets to be treated by the best Dentists and Dental Specialists in the U.S?  Almost always, it’s those with the most money; those who live in the best and most expensive neighborhoods, in the most expensive cities in the country.

Their Dentists are the most famous doctors who work out of the most expensive facilities in gated neighborhoods, medical centers, clinics and private hospitals.  They do not treat people like you and me typically, as we are in a different class – a class of people with limited funds. The truth is in the U.S., the less money you have the further down the dental totem pole you end up…if you even end up on the dental totem pole at all.  Even military service-people, arguably some of the most important citizens are usually forced to extract teeth, as opposed to saving them, due to the costs involved.

Well, no longer do the well-to-do have a monopoly on receiving high-quality dental care in the U.S.  Great care is available to those with modest means…overseas. Dental Tourists are willing to pay more than the local population for dental services in places like Costa Rica, so they get their pick of the pack.  The valedictorians, the knowledgeable clinical professors, and those who complete most or much of their dental education in the United States. They are usually bi-lingual, accomplished go-getters who work hard to become distinguished in their professions, and deliver a surprisingly high level of treatment and care.

  1. They get to see the world

There are few things that expand the boundaries of the mind more than traveling and visiting different countries and cultures.  Most Americans never have an opportunity to leave the U.S., and Medical and Dental Tourism gives them a compelling reason to do so.  There are many countries that offer these types of services, and they come in many different flavors.

Some U.S. citizens may have visited Mexico or Canada, but have not traveled to other regions, and have only been able to enjoy life in their own hemisphere.  Some dental tourists have crossed the international date line, and others get to experience other interesting, joyful or wondrous things that Non-Dental Tourists may never see.  It’s a big, beautiful world out there, but unfortunately, the reality is a very small percentage of the world population gets to see it.  Dental tourists may not get to see much of the countries they visit, but often they get to see some of it (outside the dental clinic) – certainly more than the person who is sure there is nothing better to be found beyond their county or country borders.

  1. They overcome their fears

Few things in life are as personally rewarding as overcoming personal fears.  And fears come in many forms:  Fear of traveling, fear of flying, fear leaving the U.S. or arriving somewhere unknown; and the fear of going against their friends and family’s stern warnings against trying something with which they are not familiar.

Many dental tourists have some degree of anxiety as they drive to the airport headed to the unknown, but nearly all overcome that immediately upon landing at their destination and departing their plane.  Once they realize they have arrived safely, their attention usually turns to other matters: navigating a new environment, and marveling at different smells, sights and sounds not found in their home town.

Dental Tourists gain a sense of achievement at each phase of their trip:  Making the decision to go, arriving at their destination country and chosen clinic, trusting g people who look a little different and sound a little different, and yes, think a little different than those with which they are accustomed to dealing with daily.

  1. They become better prepared to make a judgment as to the value proposition of Dental Tourism

It is difficult for a person to compare/contrast anything if they do not have the varied experiences required to do so.  For example, a person who speaks both English and Spanish has a better ability to decipher differences between the two languages.  Which is more difficult?  Which is more flavorful, accurate and expressive?   The opinion of those who speak only one language in this example is limited at best, and possibly impotent.

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Similarly, someone who is experienced with the selections available can better determine which country has better Dentists or which clinic offers a better value for Patients.  Which country has a cleaner environment and a more peaceful people?  Which practitioners have a more-sincere concern, desire, and talent to heal people?  Which clinics are more modern? Only someone who becomes familiar with the options available can answer these questions with a reasonable degree of certainty.

In sum, you must decide for yourself where to receive dental treatment and if you should become a Dental Tourist.   As for whether you believe Dental Tourists who save money, get to see the world, overcome their fears, and receive better dental care are smart – that too is for you to decide.

If you want to discuss Dental Tourism or Costa Rica, please contact the author at: [email protected]