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My Dental Adventure
Old 02-28-2018, 07:29 PM   #1
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My Dental Adventure

When I lived in the States I spent a fair amount of money on dental costs yearly ($1,000-$1500) back in the 80's and 90's. When I first arrived in Peru I went regularly and probably spent a few hundred a year. Now at almost 65, I realized I had not been to a dentist in 7-8 years. My 13 year old is asking for braces and we have been shopping around between the "high end private clinics" and the public ones affiliated with the local hospital.

As, I will be going with my son pretty regularly for the next year or so and I read on forums how much old people spend on Dentists in the states, I decided to go visit the dentist and track my expenses here as I do not keep a budget.

So we go today for my first appointment.
Bus to clinic was was 30 cents to travel about 30-40 city blocks.

Hospital is in center city and a bit more modern (10 story building) then the surrounding run down busy area. Line for the elevator was too long so we walked the 8 flights to the dental area of the hospital. We were in a big room that looked like what I imagine a welfare office to look like.

I had to pay $1.85 for my "dental consult" which consisted of my height, weight, and allergies, medical history recorded by a nurse, The Dentist then examined my teeth and the nurse recorded my fillings/missing molars/wisdom teeth and various crowns.

Next he ordered a curettage( eliminating accumulated plaque) and a cleaning.

I had to go downstairs (two flights and pay for these $39.19) and go back and wait for the procedure. As a reference my son got the same thing, but as he goes every three months the same procedures only cost $17.00.

Inside, the offices were modern, air conditioned, spotless with the latest equipment including TV screens built into the chairs. There were about 6-7 chairs in a line with a most spectacular view of the city and Andes foothills in the distance (similar to the view you would have in Downtown Denver).

Excellent service and the two of us (and a private nurse) were there for 2 1/2 hours for what should have been a 1 hour visit.

It was rush hour when we were coming home so we opted for a taxi across town for $2.77.

Tomorrow, I am scheduled to walk down the block to the lab and have a set of panoramic xrays done at a a cost $30.86 and then back to the Dentist on Tue for my treatment plan.
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:20 PM   #2
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Thanks for that report. Very interesting to get this perspective. In my town, I might have saved an hour or two, but that would have cost a grand or two.
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:27 PM   #3
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This sounds great. I just need to figure out a cheap way to get to Peru.
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:47 PM   #4
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Interesting, but actually not as cheap as I would have expected for "dental tourism" in South America.

I just had my first no insurance dental appt this week here in the states. Very thorough cleaning and exam. Took about 50 min of chair time. I could walk there through a pleasant park from my home. Cost was $145. Next time with x-rays added in 6 months it will be $205. total. So $350. per year. Cheaper than having insurance.
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My Dental Adventure
Old 02-28-2018, 09:55 PM   #5
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My Dental Adventure

I may pay ten times more in the USA but I get a goody bag with a toothbrush, travel size tube of Crest, and small container of dental floss when I leave !
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Old 03-02-2018, 03:57 PM   #6
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You make me want to move to Peru (because of the description of the view from the dr's office, as well as the excellent, reasonably priced care you received !)
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Old 03-02-2018, 04:44 PM   #7
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Iím friends with two wealthy South Americans (Ecuador and Paraguay) who had their dental work done in Mexico. One in her 40s and the other in her 60s. At the time they thought the dentists were good but are spending 20-30k in the US for implants now. Just sayín. May you and your Sonsí Dental Adventure be all smiles!
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
This sounds great. I just need to figure out a cheap way to get to Peru.


It is walking distance if you have the time.
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:56 PM   #9
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Tempting offer after just spending $1,300 for a root canal but for me the Catch-22 is that I had the beginning of an abscess and getting on a plane to Peru could have been disastrous. How do I know this? I ignored similar twinges years ago, flew to Budapest, spent the first night in some of the worst pain I've ever endured (and I've been through childbirth) and ended up getting a tooth extracted in Budapest. It was badly abscessed and had already been root-canalled so there wasn't much else they could do. The good news: they did a nice job and it cost only $78, including the panoramic X-Ray.

I also find it reassuring that in the event of a bad outcome in the US I have access to a good legal system. I have great confidence in my dentist as well as the specialists to whom he refers me, but it's still good to know. If anything goes wrong with a medical or dental procedure outside the US, good luck with that.
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:16 PM   #10
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Tempting offer after just spending $1,300 for a root canal but for me the Catch-22 is that I had the beginning of an abscess and getting on a plane to Peru could have been disastrous. How do I know this? I ignored similar twinges years ago, flew to Budapest, spent the first night in some of the worst pain I've ever endured (and I've been through childbirth) and ended up getting a tooth extracted in Budapest. It was badly abscessed and had already been root-canalled so there wasn't much else they could do. The good news: they did a nice job and it cost only $78, including the panoramic X-Ray.

I also find it reassuring that in the event of a bad outcome in the US I have access to a good legal system. I have great confidence in my dentist as well as the specialists to whom he refers me, but it's still good to know. If anything goes wrong with a medical or dental procedure outside the US, good luck with that.
I'm awaiting my 4th appointment on a root canal. Granted I'm only traveling 120 miles round trip. I can't feel any pain when I bite directly on that tooth now. Sadly I thought the same thing the last two appointments.
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Old 03-03-2018, 06:54 AM   #11
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This sounds great. I just need to figure out a cheap way to get to Peru.
Don't know where you live but Ajijic Mexico (near Guadalajara) MIGHT not be too far. We saved over $5K and the GA hygienist has confirmed that the work done over there was excellent. YMMV.

It's worth noting that distance and travel costs are not the same thing.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:28 AM   #12
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Don't know where you live but Ajijic Mexico (near Guadalajara) MIGHT not be too far. We saved over $5K and the GA hygienist has confirmed that the work done over there was excellent. YMMV.



It's worth noting that distance and travel costs are not the same thing.


Thanks, I posted mostly in jest. I know that there are whole towns in Mexico that offer discounted dental work. Fortunately, my teeth are holding up.
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Old 03-03-2018, 09:48 AM   #13
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One of the reasons I stay with Humana Medicare Advantage is I get their dental program discount. I just had a root canal and crown done last month. Root canal was $830 and crown was $980.
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Old 03-03-2018, 10:42 AM   #14
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I've had dental checkups 2x per year for 50 years, all in the US in various states. That's a lot of dentists. I've experienced mostly competent, honest dentists (as best I could tell), but I've also had a few that were inept or unscrupulous. Last month my new dentist told me it appeared I'd had dental work done in a 3rd world country. So just because you're in the US, is no guarantee. Yes, there's legal recourse in the US, but are you going to prosecute a dentist who tells me I need 5 crowns at once? (it happened to me, and no, they were not needed). Or wants to do "special services" (like deep root planing), when it's clearly not needed (according to a second opinion). After dental work, should I get inspections by a second dentist, to make sure the dental work was of acceptable quality? It appears there's little oversight in the profession, and buyer beware. Maybe it's not such a risk to go to Mexico.
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Old 03-03-2018, 12:35 PM   #15
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You had an exam and cleaning done for $40 and you are getting a pan. x-ray for $30. At the dental school that I work at the very thorough exam is free, the routine cleaning is $30 ( $15 for srs.) and x-rays are either $10 ($5 for srs.) for 4 bitewings or $30 ($15 for srs.) for a full mouth series. If you needed a pan. x-ray it would be $20 ( $10 for srs.). You would not have both a full mouth series and pan. x-ray.
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Old 03-03-2018, 01:00 PM   #16
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For reference, our affordable dentist in the US is $150 for a very thorough cleaning, full panoramic x-rays, and exam. Total time is close to an hour since the hygienist is extremely thorough. We pay cash and get a decent discount. Regular visits are $99 and that includes the bitewing x-rays as required (usually 12 month intervals).

I like the guy because he's not overly aggressive on treatment. He's had several spots on my teeth on the watch list for 5+ years with very little advancement in decay.
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Old 04-26-2018, 11:01 AM   #17
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Here is an update.
I got busy and did not get back to the dentist last month. In the meantime it was determined that my 13 y/o was in need of braces. ( cost of braces and bi weekly care for 18 months, $806). I went back for my consult and treatment plan yesterday and had two complex filings (no pain, in and out in a jiffiy).
Below are the costs and results of my treatment.

3 simple fillings = $31.62
4 complex fillings= $81.86
2 molar extractions=$33.49
2 sets of sutures = $7.44

Total cost = $154.41
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