Doctors, Physicians, Dentists in Costa Rica
Medical care in Costa Rica is generally quite good. Many doctors here were educated in the US and have returned to Costa Rica to practice. Many speak English quite well and can provide a very decent level of quality medical care.
Doctors associated with either CIMA or Clinica Biblica are more likely to speak English . Clearly this is important as even those of you who KNOW Spanish quite well may not have a clue as to what are all your body parts in Spanish. I speak Spanish moderately, but if I needed to say "spleen" or "gall bladder", I'd be in deep weeds. Also, when I really NEED care, I have little patience trying to communicate. I want to tell someone what hurts where, and get myself repaired!
Over the past several years however, a new market has grown that I refer to as "Medical Tourism". I use this term for the many people who come here to obtain dental and cosmetic surgery at astonishingly inexpensive compared to the USA.
Recently... actually in one week, I had both a live tooth AND an old crown crack. While amazingly, I was not in any pain, the cracked live tooth gave me worry as at any time, it could have become a much bigger problem.
I went to my dentist in San Jose for the repairs. Sadly, he also found a cavity. The work (full cleaning, x-rays (full set), the two new crowns and the cavity) were done in two appointments and my TOTAL bill was $180.00. I paid over double that amount when I was in the US for just the one crown that had cracked! My brother had bridgework done and 21 crowns and HIS bill was just under $800.00. In the US, his work may well have been $20,000 plus! By the way, one of our contributors, Chris Howard, kindly has submitted a chart of Spanish words for common parts of the mouth and their problems. Click here to see it.
Nip and Tuck
Cosmetic surgery is very expensive in the US, but, like dentistry, it is far less here. It is also a LOT more fun to 'recover' in Costa Rica than in Philadelphia in January.
Private hospitals look and smell very similar to good hospitals in the US. The public (CAJA) are crowded and long waits are frequent.
Medical Licensing in Costa Rica
All properly licensed physicians and Surgeons are members of the Colegio de Médicos y Cirujanos.
Orthodontists are member of La Academia Costarricense de Ortodoncia
The Psychologists are member of the Colegio Profesional de Psicólogos de Costa Rica
Dental surgeons are members of the Colegio de Cirujanos Dentistas Costa Rica
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Page last reviewed/revised: April 10, 2011