The dental tourism market has grown exponentially in recent years, opening up new possibilities abroad for finding an affordable, good-quality dentist. Costs in Mexico are often 60% lower than in the United States, equating to huge savings and the opportunity to afford the treatment that ordinarily may be out of reach. If spiraling dental costs are forcing you to re-evaluate your options, these top dental tourism destinations in Latin America should be on your radar.
Mexico is still the most popular international destination for Americans. Attractive on so many levels, it is convenient, has plenty of beach resorts, historic towns, and unique culture. From cheap and cheerful to high-end luxury there is something appealing to most tastes.
Dental tourism here is big business with the major tourist destinations, such as Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas also supporting a vast array of good-quality clinics for international patients’ intent on combining a vacation with their dental care. That said, the towns and cities along the US-Mexico Border provide an alternative for those not wishing to forsake precious days off on a dental vacation.
One such town is Los Algodones, the most northern town in Mexico and around 7 miles away from Yuma in Arizona. More than 350 dentists in the town draw thousands daily from across the Border. Some patients travel regularly for everyday dental maintenance, such as check-ups, teeth cleaning, and fillings. Others go for major procedures, like the expensive dental implants treatment ‘All-on-4’. In Los Algodones, this procedure costs an average of US $13,000 compared to around $30,000 in the United States, so it’s not difficult to see why Algodones is so popular.
With its ecotourism credentials, this compact country offers inspiring scenery that takes in wetlands, rainforests, and volcanoes as well as stunning beaches on the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts. While dental tourism is mainly focussed on the capital, San Jose, the Central Valley and Guanacaste regions also provide options for dental tourists.
Understandably, one issue that concerns dental tourists is the quality of the care they will receive in another country. Granted, there are good and bad providers wherever you go, even in your home country, but by-and-large the good-quality clinics targeting foreign patients tend to go the extra mile by ensuring their qualifications and affiliations measure-up. For example, if you are considering dental implants in Costa Rica, then a dentist with membership of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists would infer they have the particular skills and expertise required to carry out those procedures.
Emerging from a traumatic history, Colombia is welcoming, rich with history and has reinvented itself as a tourist-friendly destination. The capital, Bogota is a vivacious, lively city where the Andes Mountains provide a glorious backdrop to its glass skyscrapers and old-town cobblestoned streets. But, the country offers much more, including Medellin, Pablo Escobar’s hometown, where new cable cars zip you around the city for stunning views of the surrounding mountain ridges and coffee plantations, or Cartagena de Indias where colonial architecture, beaches, and Caribbean islands make for an amazing holiday destination.
As for the quality of dentists in Colombia? You’ll find it isn’t unusual for dentists in LatAm countries to be American Dental Association members, which means they must adhere to the same rules and regulations as dentists in America, or else have their memberships revoked.
A trip to Latin America is a real possibility if you want to save on your dentist costs. Mexico, Costa Rica and Colombia are all worthy destinations that offer high-quality services comparable to your dentist at home – but just be prepared to do a little background-checking to ensure you pick a reliable clinic.