Compassionate Dentistry in San Jose, Costa Rica

Yeah, I know, a boring title, but I didn’t know what else to title it and still reflect how I feel about this clinic.  My dear phobic daughter Molly went thru 4 extractions and 4 implants earlier this week. She had to have IV sedation to do it due to her extreme anxiety.  Knowing she will have to come back here in 3-5 months for the crowns, I’ve been so worried about her being able to handle it. She can’t expect IV sedation for crown fittings, it’s just not going to work that way.

So, I spoke with one of the younger dentists at Dr. Cavallini’s office, Dr. Alvaro to see if Molly could come down (our hotel room is upstairs from the clinic) and just talk with him, no pressure, no dentistry, just talk.  Well, he did so much more than that.

Molly and I came into an exam room and she stood there while he took the time to show her instruments, explain to her what would be involved with a crown, let her hold instruments, asked her about her fears all with such remarkable kindness and calm, she was terrified. After about 10 minutes, he asked if she would like to have her teeth cleaned by one of the dental assistants (who was there the entire time) and my daughter agreed!  The assistant was also kind and patient and showed my daughter the paste, the cleaning pad for the drill and all in all, I am so very impressed.  My daughter left the office with a far different attitude and I’m sure a lot less weight on her shoulders.  Bravo to the wonderful professionals at this clinic, bravo…you’re the best!

So, we spent a day or so touring, went to La Paz Waterfall gardens and animal sanctuary.  Getting away from the clinic and San Jose does wonders for the psyche!  We went with a woman and her daughter from Virginia (the mom was also a dental patient) We hired a private driver for the day, which was a little less costly than taking an organized tour and definitely a lot of fun, we learned some unique spanish terms for the most ordinary things! La Paz is about a 90 minute drive from San Jose, dirt roads, hills, thru quaint towns and nestled in the rain forest.  A beautiful place to spend a day! It’s hard to say what we enjoyed the most.

First stop was the aviary, where we got up close and personal with toucans! It was amazing how the handler managed to hold a tiny piece of kibble in his mouth and the toucan was able to gently get the kibble with that long beak.  Best the handler try that, not us!

As you can see from the smiles, it was a nice reprieve from dental work!

La Paz Waterfall Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Costa Rica

The end of the day we found ourselves in the waterfall gardens, a beautiful walk through the rainforest and up close to the falls. The air was so fresh!  I usually have sinus problems, which always seems to go away in the Costa Rica Rain forest.

Tomorrow is our last day here. I plan to take my daughter to the Mercado Artesania in San Jose where she can see a lot of locally made items and maybe pick up a few things. I picked up a fabulous cutting board while there earlier this year, it’s something I use every day at home, I just love it.  Haggling at the mercado is expected, Tico’s do it all the time, so we will too. We won’t expect the merchants to give the stuff away but just like the Tico’s, we’ll enjoy the banter and everyone enjoys feeling like they got a great deal!

Busy day tomorrow, so for now, I’ll say Buenas noches.


6 thoughts on “Compassionate Dentistry in San Jose, Costa Rica

  1. Hi! My name is Emily. I found your blog from looking through the Topix forums on dental work in Costa Rica. It’s really fantastic and amazing to actually see pictures of people in CR for dental work and know that it can happen and be positive.

    I have been e-mailing Dr. Cavallini’s office for a few weeks. I’ve gotten a quote, and I’m saving the money myself. I need a bunch of fillings (altogether more feasible to get them done here before they progress), but after that I should have the money for one implant and one crown by March or April. I’m 22, and I’ll be saving the money and going there myself, so I really want to know that it’s worth it. I’d really like to have my self-esteem back for less than $7,000. It’s hard to make that kind of money as a barista. But would you say that it was worth it?

    I also wanted to know if your daughter had the immediate load implant or the delayed load? I’m guessing immediate? Dr. Cavallini said the delayed was preferable because it will be easier to floss, but, if I can save money and still have a great implant, that would be awesome. I really hope I’ll hear from you. Thanks so much for blogging about this! 🙂

    • Hi Emily, Thanks for checking in on my blog. My daughter had 4 extractions followed by delayed load implants in August 2012. She will be returning in January to get the work finished. I don’t know anything about delayed vs immediate load and flossing, they seem about the same to me (I have both types of implants). From what we were told it’s about the bone being able to osseointegrate with the implant. Sometimes the dentist will think an immediate load would work, but once they actually start the procedure, the ‘bone tells them’ that a delayed would be better (which was in my case). I guess a dentist who does enough implants can feel the difference in the tissue.

      That all said, I’m thinking you could have a delayed load done in the states for, quite possibly, less than $7000. Keep in mind the costs of flying, the cost of hotel and food when you do your comparison shopping. One major difference between the quotes we received stateside vs Dr.Cavallini’s office was the guarantee. The dentists in the states would not guarantee their work, Dr. Cavallini without hesitation guaranteed his, plus I actually spoke with someone who had made good on a guarantee. That says a lot! So, if you only need 1 implant and a crown, I would encourage you to shop around a bit and see what the actual prices in the States would be and ask about their guarantees. Also ask the dentist how many implant procedures they have done. My guess is either Dr. Cavallini or Dr Marco (his son) do 25-50 every day!

      So far, I am more than happy with the work I had done, and so is my daughter. If it weren’t for the flights, I’d be getting any and all of my dental work done in Costa Rica! My final numbers (for just me), 3 implants, a root canal and 9 crowns, less than $11K (that includes 3 RT flights, hotel and Dr’s). You just can’t beat that here in the states, not even close, so yes, it was WELL worth it!

      Thanks for writing! Hope I answered your questions. 🙂


  2. Hello Karen

    I also found your blog through the post on Topix. I am looking at dentists in Costa Rica for one implant plus crown and then a second crown on a different tooth. My cost from my US dentist was estimated at $5800 just for the implant and crown and an additional $2000 for the second crown. I was wondering if in your research you came across anything about Dr. Anglado or which other dentists you researched and considered before settling on Dr. Cavillo. I am in NE also (in MA) and the flights are pretty reasonable.


    • Hello Sanj,

      Thanks for your comment and question. I personally spoke with 2 dentists and had estimates from 3. I also spoke personally with 2 patients of Dr. Cavallini and emailed back and forth with countless patients from all 3 dentists (both on the topix boards and outside of the topix boards). It really boiled down to once I got there, would I be comfortable with my 1st choice and I was ready to move to the 2nd if I wasn’t. I was comfortable with Dr. Cavallini from the moment I arrived. I had also spoken with Dr. Mesa and I researched Anglada. All seemed to be fine, reputable dentists.Their costs were almost double of Dr. Cavallini. I have not had any problems with the work I had done (neither has my daughter, she had 4 implants and crowns) and my local dentist keeps telling me how impressed she is with the work. Go for it, you will not regret it! (Oh, and if you have dental insurance, you may find they cover part of the treatment, they did in my daughters case…same percentage of coverage that she would have had if she had the work here in the States).

      Happy New Year!

    • I don’t know if you ever had your work done. I researched cr dentists in depth including anglada and cavalinni and Mesa and obando. What I decided with cavalinni is they se med to have a lot of paid shills in the forums

      • Hi Bob, I have had my work done and my daughter also had her work done. Mine was 3 implants, 9 crowns and a root canal, my daughter had 4 implants. My work was completed by Cavallini over 2 years ago, my daughter 1.5 years ago. I would not hesitate to go back there. I don’t know anything about paid shills in the forums. I was never offered anything by the Cavallini’s other than quality dental work, which I received. I personally spoke with many patients of several dentists in CR before making my decision, both by phone and emails, so know they are real people. It could be that the shills are merely happy patients and now shills at all…the waiting rooms (3) were always full while I was there. Good luck with your decision. I’ve heard good things about all of the dentists you mentioned, so whichever you choose will probably be fine (and a lot cheaper than in the USA). Take care, thanks for stopping by! Karen

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