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  • Writer's pictureDental Tourism International

Why Americans are saying ‘yes’ to dental tourism in Costa Rica

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

When I look in the mirror and see my beautiful, straight white teeth, I know that I’m one of the lucky ones. I was born with excellent teeth. But the sad truth is that many of my friends and family have had lifelong struggles with their teeth. For some of the less affluent in my social circle, the sky-high price of dental care in the USA is putting a crimp on their lifestyle.

It’s no secret that more than 74 million Americans have no dental coverage. In fact, the number of Americans without dental insurance is four times greater than those without medical insurance. For more than 182 million Americans, their dental insurance coverage is insufficient to meet their needs. Only 52.9% of adults over 65 have dental coverage. Even worse is the fact that people living without dental benefits are more likely to have extractions and dentures and suffer from gum disease. People without dental benefits report higher incidences of other illnesses, like heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.

Those with dental insurance don’t seem to fare much better. Typical dental plans require a 50% copay for complicated and expensive procedures like crowns and bridges. If you already have a missing tooth, most dental plans won’t help you. The “missing tooth clause,” disqualifies patients from receiving a replacement tooth if the tooth was missing when you enrolled in the plan. Most dental plans limit coverage to a paltry $1,500 a year. When the average price of a dental implant and crown is more than $6,000, these dental plans aren’t much help for the average American.

The inevitable result is that many with or without dental insurance postpone visits to the dentist because of the cost. Our overall health suffers because our oral health suffers, and our oral health suffers because of a decline in our overall health. It’s a medical-dental Catch 22.

Even worse…the cost of dental care has been increasing at a faster pace than the cost of medical care overall. Between 2008 and 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental care prices rose faster than most medical services. Only hospital services, nursing home care and adult day care services rose at higher rates than dental care.

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