Open W-I-D-E In Costa Rica!
Andy's Dental Experience

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When I was a kid, somewhere around the age of 5 or 6, my parents began taking me to the dentist for routine, annual checkups.  I should have realized that any dentist whose name is Hackmeier would eventually conger up images of torture and mayhem, much the same way as the name Mengele resonated fear in the hearts of millions of Europeans!

Needless to say, back in 1956, when my fears of dentistry were in their formative stages, the thought of the dreaded Heir Hackmeier and his archaic tools of torture, established a foundation that would eventually manifest itself into a full bodied fear of dental practitioners.  My parents were no help either helping me overcome this irrational fear.  In fact, as role models, they sucked as evidenced by the fact that both Mom and Dad were sporting full choppers by the time they were in their 50's. 

Thanks to this phobia and the years of neglect that followed, I am now paying the price... literally.  But at least it's at a rate of 80% less than what I'd be paying back in the States!


Saying Aaah to Costa Rica's Growing In Popularity As A Dental Destination...

I was first introduced to Costa Rican dental excellence when a friend of mine in North Carolina, Sean Lowther, opted to travel to Costa Rica to have a significant set of dental procedures performed.  His dentist in North Carolina estimated the procedure would cost him about $75,000.  However, by traveling to Costa Rica for this work, his out of pocket expense would be reduced by more than half.  That even includes all the expenses associated with his travel.  Sean tells his story in a very compelling (self-produced) 13 minute video. 

Now, eight years later, Sean reports no problems or complications.  Every thing is A-OK.

VIDEO: SEAN'S STORY


So how does that impact me?

Well for starters, I am a dental pussy.  Heir Hackmeier left his mark by instilling a phobia that is alive and well today.  Now, the only way I can sit still in a dental chair and not whimper and scream like a baby, is by taking a drug induced trip to Never Never Land at the capable hands of my dentist.  YES... drugs, and lots of them, are my salvation.  Am I proud of it?  Hell no, but it works for me. 

So when I moved to Costa Rica, I began looking for a dentist that possessed the following qualities:

  • Graduated from an accredited school of dentistry within the last ten to fifteen years

  • Age should be around 35-40 years.  I'm of the belief that young dentists know more than the old ones!

  • Hands appear still and free of inordinate shaking

  • Dental equipment appears modern, relatively quiet and free of rust.  I immediately rule out any dentist drill that sounds like a Lear Jet taking off

  • My dentist believes with all his heart that a sedated patient is a good patient... and lastly

  • Must be able to give AWESOME shots!


My Experience In Liberia...

I found exactly what I was looking for in dental surgeon Dr. Eric Bussing.  He practices his craft in a modern medical office building, just two blocks from Liberia's Avenida Central. 

I came to Dr Bussing for some quick relief after an old crown had finally given way.  Once in his chair he began checking things out.  I could tell by the sounds he was making that the news was not going to be good... and I was right.  Pandora's Box had been opened and the only way it was going to get shut was with lots of nitrous oxide and Novocain!

Dr. Bussing took X-Rays and spent nearly an hour with me and Fran explaining my situation to us in great detail.  He then detailed his plan to remediate this initial issue.  This is the first time I've ever had a dentist sit down and patiently discuss a treatment strategy.  He was not running back and forth between multiple patients because I was his only patient!  I received 100% of his time and attention.

 

For comparative purposes:

The final stage of my dental endeavor will involve the following procedures.  It would be interesting to compare how much this might cost in the U.S.  This far my treatment has entailed the following procedures:

  • Panoramic X-Ray of full mouth (provided by 3rd party private x-ray specialist) - $30.00

  • Initial exam including a full set of individual x-rays

  • Three root canals with temporary crowns

  • Crown lengthening on one tooth

  • Three extractions

  • Temporary bridge (necessary during the healing process)

  • Permanent bridge, replacing 7 aging caps and crowns plus 3 new crowns)

  • Nitrous Oxide sedation

  • The total Out Of Pocket cost for this treatment will be $4735.

 

It always hurts having to dig into one's savings account to pay bills like this but just consider how much it would have cost back in the U.S.  One estimate would put the cost of this treatment at between $22,000 and $28,000.

Based on the recommendations I have heard about Dr. Bussing and my own personal experiences, I have nothing to complain about! - Estoy muy satisfecho cliente.


IN THE HOTSEAT!

Yes I took the gas and it was wonderful.  And with my iPod cranking out Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, what better way to undergo a root canal than by listening to the dulcet tones of "Comfortably Numb."

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