More people taking dental vacations

Hit the beach and dentist chair in same trip to save

By Tara Evans - Executive Producer

(KEYE) A trip to the dentist hardly qualifies as a vacation-- but now, some people are traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to Mexico, Costa Rica or even India all to get dental work done.

It's all to save money on procedures like dentures, implants, surgeries, even root canals.

Kim Conley said she hopped on a plane to Mexico for her dental care. She needed three bone implants.

She said her husband videotaped the weeklong trip to Cancun. He recorded everything from the beach-side resort where they stayed to the dentist's office.

Conley said the chance to save thousands of dollars is the entire reason she decided to give it a try.

"I was quoted about $5,000 for what I had been quoted $18,000 for here," said Conley.

That kind of price difference is typical for some top dental destinations.
Patients Beyond Borders estimates American patients in Brazil save 20 to 30 percent.

In Mexico and Costa Rica, those numbers can double to 40 to 60 percent.

"It's been eight weeks since my procedures, and I feel like everything is good," said Conley.

But you do want to be careful. If you don't end up with a reputable dentist, you could really get burned.

Priscilla Hagle found that out that hard way.

"We were very selective about who we would go to in Mexico and we thought we had found one of the ones that would be very good," said Hagle. "But I had four root canals done in Mexico and i've lost three of those four teeth."

Hagle said any money she saved, she's now spent fixing those mistakes at home.

Bottom line-- if you're thinking about a dental vacation, you need to make sure to do your homework.

Some key things to check for, include: making sure your doctor has a U.S. board certification and even better, international accreditation.

Here are some websites that can help you determine if the dentist you want to use is legit: Florida Board of Dentistry, American Board of General Dentistry, and American Dental Association.

If you know the school your dentist graduated from, you can verify that information for a fee with the National Student Clearinghouse.

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