Americans Increasingly Seek Out High-Quality, Low-Cost Care Overseas in These Five Latin American Locales–International Living

Medellin, Colombia

A friend recommended I go to Costa Rica to get implants, which were 75% less than if I got them in the United States

Dental procedures are expensive in the United States, when compared to prices in select countries overseas.

The better-value, lower-priced care in nearby Latin America is attracting dental tourists in greater numbers each year.

“For many people who take advantage of lower-priced dental care overseas—it’s cheaper to fly abroad, have the procedure done, take a vacation for a week or two, and then fly home than it is to simply pay for the procedure alone in the United States,” says Jennifer Stevens, Executive Editor of International Living.

It’s understandable when a teeth cleaning that might cost $140 in the States can go for just $25 in Mexico. Or a crown that might cost $1,000 in the U.S. is just $300 in Costa Rica.

Laura Royal of Largo, Florida took advantage of the disparity in pricing and bundled her trip to the dentist with a family vacation in Costa Rica.

“A friend recommended I go to Costa Rica to get implants, which were 75% less than if I got them in the United States,” says Royal. ”I was happy to find many dentists have been educated in the U.S. and are board certified. Additionally, practitioners and their staff frequently take ongoing training and continuing education courses to stay current with the latest trends and [they] spoke English. The savings allowed me to take my son with me, so we toured the countryside and had a great time.”

Only 12 percent of older Americans have some form of dental insurance, according to a recent study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. That lack of insurance predicts a lack of care. It’s simply too expensive for many people to attend to their oral health, so they don’t.

The dental plans that do exist don’t come cheap. And they often cover little beyond routine preventative care, exclusing dentures, bridges or periodontal work.

As a result, many millions forego dental care entirely. A growing group of Americans, however—800,000 last year, by one count—are crossing borders to source lower-priced dental care in places like Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and beyond. And that number is…

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