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Colombia dental tourism

Colombia dental tourism

Old Jul 3, 12, 1:41 pm
  #16  
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Just an update, my guy charges 3 million pesos each for an implant. That's about US$1600.
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Old Nov 29, 12, 3:07 am
  #17  
 
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Dentist referral for Cali?

I will be in Cali in January and thought I would check if any of you could recommend a general dentist in Cali or points north? I will not be in Medallin this trip, so hoping for a good ref for Cali or maybe Cartago/Pereira.
thebug622-- Can you make a recommendation from your time in Cali?
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Old Oct 20, 13, 3:30 pm
  #18  
 
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Originally Posted by xooz View Post
I work at a dental office. Many of the patients we see who had work done in several of the South and Central American countries have work which would qualify as malpractice here in the US. Root canals that don't go all the way to the root end, crowns performed on teeth that are moving around and will come out, and other not so pretty outcomes.

Be careful. If it goes bad, you will not find many US dentists who will take over responsibility and you should wonder if you would want to return there to get it "fixed". Better find someone you personally know who had it done and came back with no problems as a reference rather than believe all you read, even in an FT forum. It can be a good thing, but the risk is ,frankly, high.
Scare tactic! And many of the dentists here in the US should have their licenses revoked for scaring patients into thinking they need work that they really don't. Dental Journals are full of ads for seminars to teach how to "maximize revenue" from patients.
This is a classic response from someone who still thinks US medical care is the best. It is not.
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Old Oct 24, 13, 6:46 pm
  #19  
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Originally Posted by xooz View Post
I work at a dental office. Many of the patients we see who had work done in several of the South and Central American countries have work which would qualify as malpractice here in the US. Root canals that don't go all the way to the root end, crowns performed on teeth that are moving around and will come out, and other not so pretty outcomes.

Be careful. .
I can quite believe that given family experiences here and that was through good private insurance.

There's no way I will have dental treatment in Argentina unless I'm in agony. I just don't think the qualifications required to be a dentist are strict enough.
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Old Nov 15, 13, 6:15 pm
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Prices are way less here in colombia, not because of bad treatment and bad regulation, but because with one dollar you buy 2000 pesos ( colombian currency) also a dentist dont spend a lot of money in staff and real state for their practises, at least not compared to an USA dentist, you will not see the guy in a ferrari either, but they are very well skilled and I would even say they can be more skilled than a lot of dentists from usa, is not rare here for dentist to do specialization in there, and return here for their families and colombian lifestyle, also dentist here earn way less. So you got a good combination of things to get a good dental treatment, for higth qualified specialist for less than half than getting it there, you can spend the other half in a great vacation in a colombian beach with your whole family for less than 3000 dls. The only advise I give is that you must do it with a good dr, look for private practices that are not dental chains, thats my only advise, dont get treatment here in big dental chains, and I would even say dont get dental treatment in a dental chain in any place in the world. Also look for iso9001and berau veritas. And look for specialist from Universities like. El bosque, Nacional, Antioquia, Or you can also look for NYU dentist in here.
So thats what a colombian dentist can tell you about dentistry here, great quality if you seach well, for way less money, my advise is that you come here for more than just dental care. Get in a vacation plan to cartagena or san andres after you get your teeth fixed. San andres is heaven on earth.

Last edited by odosanchez; Nov 15, 13 at 6:25 pm
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Old Nov 15, 13, 7:48 pm
  #21  
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I love me some nonsensical Colombian patriotic hyperbole.

Last edited by JohnnyColombia; Nov 15, 13 at 7:58 pm
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Old Apr 22, 15, 5:47 am
  #22  
 
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I know I'm bumping a really old thread, but I have some more experience with Colombian dentistry. Both were excellent results.

Last year, I had to have root canal surgery and get a crown. Despite the fact that our Colombian medical coverage includes dentistry, I chose to go to the dentist that my wife has used since she was a child. I've always had good results with him and I'm a believer in experience when it comes to the mechanics working on my body. My root canal went perfectly, with little pain, and cost me COP $300,000. He tried to save the tooth with a permanent plastic material, but my addiction to chewing gum and whole almonds made that fail. The crown cost COP $600,000 and fits perfectly. I've had three root canal/crown procedures previously in the USA, and this went as well as the best of them. For the last one in the USA, even though I have good large-company dental insurance, I still spent nearly $1,000 out of pocket.
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Old May 17, 15, 1:31 pm
  #23  
 
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I wanted to just chime in after reading through this...I'm gonna go a bit OMNI but i'll stay on topic.

1) Everyone wants the best care possible. That's never in question, but I think the way some of us define that is out of whack. Equally, poor people everywhere may have terrible teeth for many reasons, the last of which is local quality and abilities.

2) Perception is often associated with quality. A fancy dentist office with a Porsche sitting out front seems to suggest he/she runs a great practice and must be a great dentist/doctor/whatever. In Colombia I've seen multiple practices of different kinds run out of what appear to be/have been, apartments. Now as a Canadian that TOTALLY throws me off. I mean, who would run a dentist office in an old apartment? They would. Keeps real estate costs down. The doctor doesn't live there, but it offers private rooms and a decent sized waiting area, so what's the problem?

3) There's good doctors everywhere. People from Medellin don't flood to Miami to get dental work done. They feel they get good care there and why arbitrarily up their costs? That's where it works in our favor. I've seen plenty of beautifully manicured smiles in Medellin and worldwide, clearly there's qualified dentists everywhere.

4) Get referrals, of course. I don't think I could ever do a medical tourism thing, but if I were, I'd damn sure be asking every person I know to recommend someone.

5) As a Canadian, I still don't really understand fully how the American medical/dental system works, but am I the only one who thinks those prices you guys were quoting are highway robbery? I paid $52 out of pocket last week for a cleaning, I have to go back and get some minor work done that'll probably cost me like $150 or something. I get no insurance from my work anymore and the insurance I pay for outside of work is $50 a month (which I think is outrageous). No one should be FORCED into this kind of decision. I've checked into cleanings etc in Colombia because sometimes I just don't have time to see my Canadian dentist and I thought it might be cheaper. But not because I had to.

6) If you really are going to do it and are still nervous after checking into the place as much as possible, maybe do something small. I got a teeth whitening done, on a bit of a whim from a place I'd walked by multiple times over the course of a few years. I didn't really even think twice about it other than asking them repeated questions about what they used and what I can/can't eat/drink etc etc. This was a small dentist office out of one of those apartments, the only thing that defines it as an apartment though is the style of building/entrance and perhaps the layout. In any other way it's a normal office. I asked my dentist to check me out when I got back as I was already getting a cleaning. Naturally he warned me about stuff like that "we don't know what they're using" etc etc and beyond that he said I looked fine. I thought to myself...I went to a place that has lots of clients, why would I be any different and what do they stand to gain by using something that'll ruin my teeth? Maybe I'm a bit too trusting but once he said I was fine I basically brushed off his other comment as 1st world fear mongering to a certain extent. Now, would I go in there for a root canal? Not without asking around first, but would I go back there for another whitening? Already planning on it.

Just remember what gives you confidence in your own doctor/dentist. You assume they know what they're doing and you've dealt with them for years. If you moved to a different city in the US would you do thorough research on finding a new doctor/dentist? I'd guess probably not, if the practice looked ok, you'd probably just head in.
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Old Jun 8, 15, 11:35 am
  #24  
 
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I visit Bogota and the surrounding areas to work with orphan kids. One time I was there attending a US Ambassador language school. There they make you live in a house, instead of a hotel, with a Spanish-speaking family, so you can't speak English. While I was there, another lady was staying with that family from Australia. She was there to get her teeth done, and she said people fly there to get their teeth done because of the quality of the work. I don't have any personal experience, but I plan to go there anyway, and wondered if it still made sense to get a crown done there, which I don't need immediately, but might cause me a problem down the road.

Let's not forget that Lasik surgery was invented and developed there, and used there long before it made it to Europe, Canada, and the US. Colombia's biggest problem has been brain drain. Their education is top notch, well supported. The problem is, the rest of the world knows that too, and use money to suck them elsewhere such as Switzerland, Spain, or the US.

I've been in remote mountain cities and had a group of med students come up to me that wanted to check my blood pressure and other things as part of their training. In the orphanages, undergraduate teachers come in to teach the kids. Being and IT guy, I thought I would fool a guy my age with a computer game that had tricky logic to win. He had the solution in his head in few minutes that took me hours. I'm a military academy and flight school graduate, and was highly sought after by IBM and others, and featured in two national magazines for my work in crafting large custom solutions for automotive suppliers. They are not stupid. I learned a taxi driver I had, had a 4 year degree in engineering, and was looking for a job.

On one visit, I applied at the American School in Bogota. There teachers don't need to know Spanish because everything is in English past the second grade. However, I also learned they have two different tracks, the US track and the Colombian track. You are not qualified to go to a Colombian university if you take the US track, so if your kids are going to be there for a while and they may want to go to a Colombian university, then they must take the Colombian track. If they cannot pass the Colombian track, then the US track is the way to go, and send them to the US for college.

Colombia has its problems. They have a saying there that goes, "In Colombia they will steal a hole". It really means it doesn't have to have any value, it's just what they do. Scamming can make you a hero in a sizable segment of the population, and the rest will tell you how to avoid it. That means much of the economy tied up in security roles and theft insurance is to costly to make sense. On the other hand, they are also some of the most caring people I've ever met. Don't even mention something you would like to do or they will take off from work to help you do it. Also feelings get hurt easily, so be careful what you say.
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Old Jun 9, 15, 5:14 am
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by IT_Architect View Post
I don't have any personal experience, but I plan to go there anyway, and wondered if it still made sense to get a crown done there, which I don't need immediately, but might cause me a problem down the road.

Let's not forget that Lasik surgery was invented and developed there, and used there long before it made it to Europe, Canada, and the US.
My crown cost COP $600,000 (about USD $230). That was at a dentist in a small town outside Medellin. I assume it would be a bit more costly in Bogota. I'm very happy with the results. Whether it is worth it to you to make the trip is up to you to decide. Unless you can find a dentist that can make the crown the same day, it would typically require you to stay for some period.

I was intrigued by your statement that Lasik was invented here. Technically, that is not quite true. There was a doctor in Bogota who pioneered the surgical removal of thin slices of the cornea to correct eyesight, but he was doing that work many decades before there were lasers that could do the job. That does not take away from the spirit of the statement though. Here is a link in Wikipedia.
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Old Jun 9, 15, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by coolcoil View Post
Technically, that is not quite true. There was a doctor in Bogota who pioneered the surgical removal of thin slices of the cornea to correct eyesight, but he was doing that work many decades before there were lasers that could do the job.
True. Barraquer's invention was surgically reshaping the cornea to improve vision. LASIK describes a refined process to implement it, and was not developed in Colombia.

Originally Posted by coolcoil View Post
My crown cost COP $600,000 (about USD $230). That was at a dentist in a small town outside Medellin. I assume it would be a bit more costly in Bogota. I'm very happy with the results. Whether it is worth it to you to make the trip is up to you to decide. Unless you can find a dentist that can make the crown the same day, it would typically require you to stay for some period.
A crown with core buildup where I live costs $1200, and that is about a cheap as it gets in the US. It would simply be a side benefit of the trip. The end game is to work in an orphange. The lady who came from Australia for dental work was there to get a lot more done than a crown, and she could speak Spanish.

Originally Posted by coolcoil View Post
Unless you can find a dentist that can make the crown the same day, it would typically require you to stay for some period.
I've been thinking about that. What I wonder about is if the quality of the crown is as good when they have the machines in-house to make the crown, or if better quality is received when you have it made somewhere, where they can afford to invest in higher quality equipment, and making crowns is their only passion. Another is, even if the trip were scheduled with enough time, we both know that being on time is not a common Colombian trait.
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Old Jun 29, 15, 3:57 pm
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I travelled to Bogota for dental last year. I went to a 'celebrity' dentist that graduated from NYU Cristian Salazar. They were booked for a couple weeks but I managed to get a personal referral and got in quickly. I was looking to replace old crowns so I got 23 crowns (E-max) done. It was over the Semana Santa holiday so I wound up having to stay almost 3 weeks to finish everything. I got a couple root canals and implants here in NY before traveling so I would be ready for the cosmetic stuff.

They charge around $720 per crown but because I needed so many went down to $440. I wound up paying around $10700 for the 23 crowns which would cost me around 50k in Manhattan. I was happy with the work although three of the crowns were in a bridge because of a missing tooth I should've had another implant but didn't have time. The bridge wound up coming loose not sure if it was about the margins or a previous root canal failing.. so now I will need to redo it and get a couple implants and three new crowns... I can't attest to who's fault it is so I'm not going to blame them and all the other 20 crowns are fine.

Right now I'm taking a trip to Medellin if anyone knows of any good implant places. NYU charges 1k for implant only and a couple clinics I checked in Medellin were charging 7-800 so doesn't seem that much cheaper although you could get someone with higher qualifications. I will be doing the crowns separately so just looking for implants.

I would recommend anyone to get dental, dermatology, and plastic surgery in Colombia. Just check the doctor is certified by top associations. Most foreigners with bad experiences it comes down to not researching the doctor. Even if not saving money you can get a top level person at the same price as a mediocre one here and the service is much nicer. You can communicate with doctors on Whatsapp instead of dealing with a minimum wage rude plus sized nurse who will take a message as is the case in many NY clinics and most doctors are willing to discuss financials with you and not just leave it to the office lady and act like they have nothing to do with it the way it's done here.

One suggestion is when it comes to crowns, implants etc make sure to ask what brand they use that way you can see if it's comparable. For example I would want Nobel Biocare or Straumann implants and not one of the cheap Israeli alternatives so to really compare prices you want to check you're getting the same thing.
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Old Jun 29, 15, 4:09 pm
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>For example I would want Nobel Biocare or Straumann implants and not one of the cheap Israeli alternatives<

That's useful and appreciated information that I can act on. I have no idea what I'm doing. I only need a crown or implant for one tooth.

There is a lot I don't know about teeth, but it seems the silver fillings have a habit of cracking teeth, which is what happened to my molar. It makes me want to replace them with composites. I read a little too that upper molars are a problem since the bone is hollow and thin due to sinuses, so I may do a crown while I can. (I don't remember if my problem was on an upper or lower.) It appears molars are more of a problem for implants in any case, so I may be better off with a crown.

I may will probably get the crown or implant done here in the US.

Thanks tons for your post!

PS: I found an implant source in my area that has 3 dentists who together have done over 5000 implants over 35 years. They state "We have a fully stocked dental lab with replacement parts dating back to the original implants." They claim much of their business is referrals from area dentists.

Last edited by IT_Architect; Jun 29, 15 at 6:58 pm
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Old Jul 26, 15, 1:01 am
  #29  
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Gosh - this thread has taught me a lot! I had to pay over $900 just to have a deep cleaning and X-rays! I'm thinking that my "medical tourism" route could just be to Canada based on what drvann said above

I knew Canada has a great health care system in terms of care and price; but never considered it would be much less expensive there than here for dental! Thanks for all of these tips.

BTW - I went to Colombia (not for dental work) and would definitely recommend Bogota for 2 days and then leave to visit the rest of the country!
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Old Oct 15, 15, 12:16 am
  #30  
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Follow up

About 3.5 yrs since I had my dental work done and no problems.Sonrisa clinic in Cali and Dr Juan Carlos Mejia Escalante in Medellin did excellent work.Dr Escalante specializes in root canals and implants and his practice is called Artica
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