Is Dental Tourism a Smart Choice?

Is Dental Tourism a Smart Choice?

As the price of dental care in the USA continues to increase, many patients are discovering that they simply cannot afford dental procedures such as dental implants, full mouth restorations or cosmetic dental care. High-priced dental care at home is pushing some patients to seek dental care outside of the USA. This popular trend is called dental tourism.

Dental Schools:

Dental schools in the United States produce some of the finest dentists and specialists in the world. Likewise, dental schools in Central America, Europe, India and other nations also produce a great number of highly-skilled dentists and leading specialists. Conversely, many students from Latin America study in the USA at top dental schools and then return to their home countries. In short, well-trained dentists and specialists can be found all over the world…not just in the USA.

Standard of Care:

The standard of dental care in the USA is very high. This high-quality care also comes with a high price-tag that puts dental care out of financial reach for most Americans. It might come as a surprise to many that the quality of dental care in nations like Costa Rica and Guatemala is equally as good as the USA, but at much lower prices. American patients that receive care in these leading dental tourism destinations often report savings of 50% to 70%. Additionally, global ranking organizations often rank clinics in Latin America among the best dental clinics in the world. In fact, Global Clinic Rating ( ranks Goodness Dental in Costa Rica and Guatemala as the #12 dental clinic in the world in a ranking of more than 125,000 dental clinics worldwide. No American dental clinic is in included at the top of this worldwide ranking of leading dental clinics.

Dental Mishaps & Disasters:

Many adversaries of dental tourism claim that substandard care in foreign countries often results in dental disasters. While some patients do receive substandard care in foreign countries, it can also be said that the USA produces the highest number of dental malpractice cases of any nation in the world. While there are may good dentists in the USA, there are also many poor-quality dentists. This can be said of almost any destination.

Case in point: Country music singer and actress LeeAnn Rimes filed a lawsuit against her Los Angeles dentist in 2013. After a visit to a specialist for her Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ), the dentist recommended veneers and crowns on her upper teeth to improve her TMJ problems and her appearance.  Over the course of three years, Ms. Rimes suffered from severe tooth pain, chronic bleeding and inflammation of the gums. After 29 surgeries to correct problems caused by the veneers, including 9 root canals, bone grafts, and a temporary bridge, Ms. Rimes decided to sue her dentist. This goes to show is that even celebrities with access to the best dental care, are not immune to receiving poor dental care.

Don’t Choose the Lowest Price Dental Estimate

Patients that seek dental care outside of the USA need to exercise caution when choosing a dental provider. Many patients choose the lowest cost provider, which is a recipe for disaster. While most patients will save more than 50% when compared to dental prices in the USA, some patients seek much higher levels of savings and put their health at risk. Dental clinics that offer the lowest prices often use substandard materials or cut corners by not using specialists for complex procedures. This places the patient at risk.

Choosing the cheapest dental clinic could cost you far more in expensive repairs or emergency treatments in the long run. Even the most affordable treatments will become expensive if something goes wrong. Problems include damage to bone and gum tissue destroyed by infection, nerve damage, broken dental implants and poor-quality components that must be removed and replaced. Patients that seek the lowest-price option end up paying significantly more to repair the damage caused by substandard treatment. While every patient wants to save money, only reckless patients choose their dentist based on the lowest prices.

Patient Reviews & Accreditation:

Patients are encouraged to seek reputable clinics with strong patient reviews. Patients should also choose accredited clinics, and to consult with global and local guides to determine which clinics provide the highest quality outcomes. On a global basis, organizations like help patients find the best dental clinics in the world. In popular dental tourism destinations like Costa Rica and Guatemala and Mexico, guides like, and help patients find respected, leading local clinics.

Do Your Homework

Around the world, the vast majority of dentists are well qualified and do exceptional work for their patients. However, there are many unscrupulous or poorly trained dentists that prey on unsuspecting patients seeking care at bargain prices. Patients must do their homework before choosing a dental clinic at home or in a foreign country.

If you can afford high-priced dental care at home, you are fortunate. However, if you are one of the 142 million Americans without dental insurance, the $50,000 to $70, 000 price-tag for the All on 4 dental implants procedure may push you to countries like Costa Rica and Guatemala, where this same procedure can be purchased for less than $24,000 and performed by leading specialists.

Every week, thousands of Americans board airplanes to receive dental care in popular international dental destinations, proving that dental tourism is a viable solution for patients that seek affordable dental care abroad. Savvy dental tourists take the time to find the optimal dental clinic for their needs and choose accredited clinics with strong patient reviews.


The best dental clinics stand behind their work and offer guarantees. A few of the best clinics offer lifetime guarantees on dental implants and limited guarantees on dental restorations. “Patients need to feel confident, safe and secure when visiting another country for dental care,” says Patrick Goodness, CEO of Goodness Dental in Costa Rica and Guatemala. “This means giving our patients an iron-clad lifetime replacement guarantee on dental implants. No other clinic offers this level of confidence to dental tourists. The fact that we stand behind our work is what makes us one of the leading dental companies in the world.”

It’s a big world with lots of great dental clinics from which to choose. Do your homework, seek quality care and choose a clinic that stands behind it’s work. Choose a top-performing clinic and you’ll love your new smile and the money you’ll save

If you are interested in discussing dental care in Costa Rica, please fill out the “Help me Find a Dentist” form. A participating dental specialist will reply to your needs.