How Gail Saved $21,000 on Dental Work in Costa Rica

When Gail Humbert needed major dental work, the dentists she consulted in Denver estimated that it would cost her $35,000 to $40,000. But Gail thought she could do better. She’d heard a story on National Public Radio about an uninsured building contractor who’d gone abroad for medical care—and paid a fraction of what he’d been quoted.

“His experience sounded like just the idea for me,” says Gail, who needed implants for most of her teeth. So she began to research medical tourism. Eventually she settled on Costa Rica. Not only was the dental care good there, but she could fly to the Latin American country directly and at a reasonable cost from Denver.

In two trips over the course of a year, Gail went to San Jose, Costa Rica, for her dental work, spending two weeks each time. Her total cost for everything, including flights, accommodation and her dental work: $14,000—well under half what she’d been quoted in the U.S. for her dental treatment alone.

And the quality was first-rate. Every procedure was explained in detail to her and the dental staff was highly qualified.

“I got a dentist who had pioneered implants and still went to Europe to do them,” she says. “The professionalism and service were amazing,” she says.

That service, she says, was even better than what she could expect back home.

“They went above and beyond, with a personal touch you would never see in the States. They even set up and drove me to appointments for other medical care I could not get in the States.”

The clinic also provided recommendations for hotels, and Gail chose one that was “a Costa Rican version of an executive long-stay hotel.” Gail brought a friend on her first trip to help share expenses; the hotel came to about $35 per person per night.

On Gail’s second trip her stepdaughter joined her, convinced by Gail’s experience to try Costa Rican dental care herself.

But, good as the dental care was, Gail didn’t spend all her time at the clinic. There was Costa Rica to explore: a great side benefit to her medical tourism. Gail recommends doing excursions either before you’ve started or after you’ve completed all your dental work. You’ll enjoy yourself more then, she says.

“The first trip, we went to see the giant turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs in a small village,” Gail recounts. “We reached it by van and then boat through the rain forest.”

On the second trip, with her stepdaughter, she did even more, including zip-lining and visiting a volcano, where she had a spa treatment with the volcanic mud.

One year (and two trips to Costa Rica) after beginning her research, Gail had a new set of implants and a world of new memories. “For $11,000 in dental care, plus $3,000 in travel, food, housing, and sightseeing costs, I got what was going to cost me $35,000 or $40,000 back home and discovered a wonderful country.”

Check out Glynna’s video on dental care in Costa Rica below.

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