Americans love the idea of all-inclusive packages. As an American myself, I enjoy all-inclusive resorts… and as my growing waistline will attest, I adore all you can eat buffets. But recently, I have started to see promotions for all-inclusive dental care. Is it for real? And is it a good deal for patients? I set out to discover more about all-inclusive dental care deals in Costa Rica.
On one website, we discovered a dentist that offers an all-inclusive dental care, transportation and accommodations package, with a complimentary day tour for two adults. Sounds great right?
The All Inclusive All on 4 Package includes the following:
- All-on-4: (Immediate Loading) Implants + Prosthesis.
- Lodging (Comfortable Bed and Breakfast)
- Transportation (Airport & Hotel)
- Medical Aftercare Package
- Med-Concierge Assistance (Patient Advocate)
- Gift: A Day-Tour x 2 to a National Park
Total Stay = 8 days including arrival day, procedure days and lab time — departure on the 9th day.
$11,600 – Dental Implants + Medical Service + Dental Prosthesis
$1,500 – Concierge Service + Hotel Accommodations
$13,100 – Total All-Inclusive Cost
Seems like a great package for a great price…until you look closely at the details.
Do Your Homework
Most patients do not understand the difference between traditional dental implants and immediate loading dental implants. This distinction makes all the difference in safety and long-term patient satisfaction. The clinic above is offering immediate loading dental implants. Faster is better right? Well, not when it comes to dental implants.
No reputable dental clinic can offer patients immediate loading dental implants until the patient arrives for surgery and the dentist can do a thorough examination. Why? Dental implants require sufficient bone density to support a dental implant. Most patients require 4-6 months of time after the implant has been placed for the implant to “osseointegrate” or fuse with the bone. If there is insufficient bone density or the implant does not fuse with the bone correctly, the implant will be weak and will cause problems with the stability of the implant supported dentures.
Promising that all patients will be candidates for immediate-loading implants is tantamount to a “one size fits all” strategy. When it comes to custom, personalized dental care, one size definitely does not fit all. As a patient, I would run quickly from any clinic that tells me (via email or telephone) that I can get immediate loading dental implants, before they have conducted a thorough oral examination.
Here’s the interesting question.
What happens to the patient who arrives for immediate loading dental implants but the dentist discovers that the patient is not a good candidate for the procedure?
Some dentists with compromised ethics will place the implants and hope that the patient feels good enough to pay the bill and get on the airplane to go home. The patient probably won’t notice the problem for months. Other, more ethical dentists will inform the patient of the problem and will advise the patient to select the traditional dental implants which will require a return visit in 4-6 months after the implants have fully fused to the bone.
At this point, the patient now realizes that the original estimate will cost much more than planned. If the patient has sufficient money for the return trip…no problem. However, if like many patients, they did not plan for the extra expenses, the patient may be left with few choices and will likely compromise either safety or quality. This is the classic bait and switch. Don’t fall for it.
Another question that many patients fail to ask relates to the materials used for the implants and fixed denture. Are the implants from a recognized brand like Zimmer or Nobel BioCare, or are they generic implants? Will the fixed denture be made of acrylic, composite or zirconia? The quality of your fixed denture is an important consideration. The better the material, the longer your new teeth will last. Don’t travel all the way to Costa Rica to save $1000-$2000 on cheap materials. You will regret it, and will eventually need to replace poor quality dental work to preserve your mouth function and overall health.
We recommend that patients stay away from clinics that promise an immediate loading All on 4 solution, and bundle it as an attractive package. These packages are misleading and they inevitably lead many patients down the wrong path…oftentimes a costly wrong path.
Instead, we recommend that you review the approved and vetted clinics that are a part of Costa Rica Dental Guide, the official dental guide of Costa Rica. The clinics in the guide have met strict criteria for care and ethics. All recommended clinics are ADA compliant and have a long track record of providing safe, quality care to international patients. These things matter.
In a survey of three clinics associated with Costa Rica Dental Guide, we found that most clinics offer an All on 4 program that is even better than the questionable all-inclusive package shown at the beginning of this article.
Traditional All on 4 Program Costs:
- All on 4: (Traditional Titanium Implants & Prosthesis) $10,500-$11,500
- First Trip Lodging at Comfortable B&B or Apartment Hotel: $500
- Second Trip Lodging at Comfortable B&B or Apartment Hotel: $500
- Airport and Clinic Transportation: Included
- Concierge Service: Included
Total: $11,500-$12,500 for a traditional All on 4 Dental Implant Package.
(Select clinics like Goodness Dental offer a lifetime guarantee on titanium dental implants. Visit www.GoodnessDental.com for more details.)
As you can see, just because an all-inclusive package looks better, doesn’t mean it is better. Too often, we get caught up with the idea of all-inclusive packages and think that we are saving money. In short, these packages are meant to lure unsuspecting patients that want the perceived convenience of an all-inclusive program, when many other reputable clinics offer a higher quality of care and concierge style services for the same or less.
At Costa Rica Dental Guide, we receive hundreds of emails every week from patients looking for the best dental care deals in Costa Rica. We do our best to help patients find safe, affordable care. While most patients make good choices, and opt for reputable, experienced dentists; some patients are lured by the lowest prices and lose sight of safety and quality. While the patient may be initially satisfied with the dental experience, many problems occur 6 -24 months later, at which time the patient has little recourse to remedy the concern.
If you need help finding the best dental clinic for your needs, please fill out the form on this page or call us toll free. Our dental professionals will review your case, examine x-rays and treatment plans and will provide you with 3-4 competitive dental estimates for your care. This is a complimentary service offered courtesy of Costa Rica Dental Guide, the official dental guide of Costa Rica.
Wishing you a safe and enjoyable dental vacation in Costa Rica.