Medical Tourism: What To Do About Costly Dental Work

Published February 25, 2008

| FoxNews.com

by Lori Lundin

My husband Doug grew up in a very low income family in Washington State and didn't get much dental care. His teeth were also becoming very worn down as a result from grinding.

He finally decided he had to do something, so he went for a consultation with a dentist in New York.

The diagnoses: financially painful.

Doug would need a full mouth reconstruction, which would take about two years to complete and cost approximately $60,000.

However, if he didn't have his teeth fixed, they would continue to deteriorate and he would continue to have problems.

But we didn't have $60,000 to make it happen. I'd heard about medical tourism and started doing some online research. From there I found a book called "Patients Beyond Borders." It was an eye-opening experience. More and more people are traveling to places such as India, Thailand, Costa Rica and El Salvador to get health care.

There are companies that specialize in facilitating all sorts of medical treatments overseas. Not only are they getting great quality care and saving thousands of dollars, but they are making a vacation out of it.

And it's not just small stuff. Folks are going for heart surgery, plastic surgery, laparoscopic surgery, dental work, laser eye surgery...you name it. The book showed price comparisons and recommended the top medical tourism companies. After calling a few, I chose a company called Planet Hospital.

The founder, Rudy Rupak began the journey toward medical tourism after his wife became sick in Thailand. He was amazed at the quality of care, the compassionate treatment and how little it cost. After the initial phone call, we sent Doug's treatment plan and x-rays from the American dentist.

Rudy put us in touch with one dentist in Costa Rica and one in El Salvador. We immediately felt comfortable with Dr. Rafael Lorenzana, who was located in El Salvador.

We were given an estimate for $18,000. Even with airfare and hotel, we would be saving about $40,000. But knowing so little about the country, we also felt cautious. We called several people in the states who had gone to Dr. Lorenzana for similar procedures and they were thrilled. Not only did they rave about the care and the quality of work, but they loved the country.

We decided to go for it. Not only would Doug finally get his teeth fixed, but we would get a tropical vacation in the process.

Lori Lundin is a News Anchor/Reporter with Fox News Radio

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http://www.foxnews.com/health/2008/02/25/medical-tourism-costly-dental-work