Four years ago while visiting Costa Rica, my wife and I went to Enrique Parra Dental Care in Liberia, Costa Rica. We saw an advertisement for ZOOM teeth whitening in the Tico Times, and took the opportunity to meet Dr. Parra and his staff.
We did not know at the time, but this first visit was the beginning of an ongoing relationship which we developed with Dr. Parra. In a previous article on this website I documented our experience in 2008 and again in 2009.
In January 2012, we returned to Liberia for extensive cosmetic dentistry. The article below summarizes our treatments spread over the month.
Introduction & Motivation for Treatments
When you reach your 50’s and 60’s you begin to realize the importance of maintaining the integrity and appearance of your teeth. It’s not that younger people don’t take care of their teeth or need treatment. It’s a case of our teeth being like the rest of our bodies; the process of aging causes wear and tear, and often deterioration. Often people put off dental work, but we have found that trips to Costa Rica provide good motivation to get that necessary work done.
The explosion of health related information over the Internet has challenged many of the ‘old school’ attitudes towards what constitutes well being and good health.
People are waking up to the fact that the overall health starts with the mouth, what you put into it and how you take care of it. As Dr. Mark Breiner, DDS states in his book " Whole Body Dentistry," disease begins in the mouth and teeth which are diseased can create all kinds of problems in the body.
The new information available includes bold facts about the dangers of amalgam fillings, for example, and the toxicity of having amalgam (50% mercury) fillings in one’s mouth. The mercury laden amalgam fillings have been linked to over 200 negative symptoms, including diseases like MS, Crohn’s Disease and Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Russell Blaylock has written extensively about mercury toxicity in the body.
The topic of amalgam fillings is one for a separate article, but remember that mercury is the 2nd most dangerous, non-radioactive element on the planet, so we want to be as far away from this material as we can. Having mercury in your mouth is a recipe for disaster, as I have experienced over the last 20 years of my life.
So, like hundreds of thousands of other people around the world, my wife and I started with the removal of our amalgam fillings following the strict protocols designed to prevent a toxic overload to our systems.
Getting to Liberia, Costa Rica
Liberia is located in the province of Guanacaste, which is in the north-west region of Costa Rica only 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean, and only 15 minutes from the Daniel Oduber Airport. This international airport has recently added a new terminal building, and the region is becoming more popular and busier.
Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments with Dr. Parra
In my case, with all of my upper teeth amalgam-free, I opted for a completely new look comprised of the following treatments:
- A permanent bridge comprised of 3 teeth at the upper front of my mouth, made of a new, metal- free material called “zirconia” This new, environmentally safe material is said to be stronger than metal and will not react as metals do with the saliva in your mouth, which add to body toxicity levels.
- 4 porcelain crowns
- 3 porcelain veneers
I should point out that all crowns and veneers made of porcelain are crafted on-site in Dr. Parra’s dental lab. A full time technician designs these prostheses (i.e.veneers, crowns) and is available for consultation with Dr. Parra during the treatment.
When it was time to install the dental prostheses the technician was called upon to make fine adjustments for the proper fitting and bite for my teeth. However, the work was expertly done so there were very few adjustments to be made.
In my wife’s case, she opted for the following treatments.
- 6 porcelain veneers and 1 porcelain crown on the upper teeth
- 1 permanent bridge(zirconia) on her lower, left side
Results of Treatment & Quality of Work
Price is always an important consideration for everyone, but at the end of the day, it’s the quality of the work that is most important. You want your teeth to feel good and look good.
But first, cosmetic dentistry is mostly about improving one’s appearance, and feeling comfortable to smile. In the pictures below you will see the results of his work.
We are very satisfied with the results of our treatments and have no hesitation in recommending Dr. Parra to people in North America and around the world. We have had a Canadian dentist praise his previous work for the level of perfection attained.
Dr. Parra will guarantee your satisfaction and he constantly strives for perfection in everything he does. Since the crowns, veneers and some bridges are constructed on site, the lab is never far away if work needs to be altered, or in rare cases, when a new impression needs to be taken.
He will ‘put’ a smile on your face, and that is what you will take with you when you leave Costa Rica.
Cost of Treatments
Undeniably, the reasonable cost of dental treatments is the key motivating factor in attracting what are known as ‘dental tourists’ to Costa Rica.
Coming from a small city in Canada, crowns are in the $1,000 range, and likely much more in cities and in the United States. One of our relatives recently got her teeth cleaned and had to cough up $175! The prices have escalated so much that it has caused people to put off treatments.
As of January, 2012 the cost of porcelain veneers and crowns, including complete installation and materials was $370 U.S. each.
There is no sales tax on dental treatments in Costa Rica, so compared to Ontario; we saved an additional 13.5% on our treatments.
Rest assured that you will save at least 60% of the same treatment costs in North America, without any sacrifice in quality. Since the work is individualized because of the presence of the on-site laboratory, you can actually expect the quality of Dr. Parra’s work to exceed what you would receive at home.
You may have seen in newspaper ads that the money you save on dental treatments in Costa Rica will actually pay for your holiday here. After having treatments in this country on 3 separate occasions I would have to say that this is entirely accurate.
In our own case, we have calculated that for both my wife’s treatments and mine, we saved a whopping $8000!
Accommodations in Liberia
There are several hotels near Enrique Parra Dental Care. These are indicated on Dr. Parra’s website, as well as instructions to get to the clinic.
For inquiries or additional questions about our experience please feel free to email Kevin at email@example.com