Long story short
I have procrastinated for years with my dental problems, had much of the molars in both right, left, upper and lower missing for a long time. You get used to it, but sooner or later your front teeth are getting crushed and then it gets to you that it’s not sustainable. My front teeth were ground visibly over years, only now, after successful restoration I realize how much of a damage there was. At the time I’m writing this, it’s been a full year since my dental restoration was completed, I couldn’t be happier about my teeth now and I’m delighted to share the story.
Clearly there are many options available when it comes to dental restoration. I knew what I wanted: something solid and durable, something which will solve functional problems for good, fix my bite and also would have excellent cosmetic qualities with an overall feel as close as possible to the natural teeth. When I started to shop around for dentist, I knew already that I want no shortcuts, I want implants, and I don’t want any metal crowns and such but rather more natural looking Zirconium/porcelain crowns. I realized it would be expensive but I didn’t want to compromise. Some estimations I was receiving from dentists were riddled with shortcuts – less implants, more pontics. I made up my mind: considering the size of investment, I need to focus on the long term benefit so I dismissed any pontics whatsoever, crowns had to be all supported by implants where necessary, and it would have to be a complete mouth restoration.
Removal of one failing implant, one sinus lift with bone graft, two new implants and 32 crowns
Long story short, I went with the dentist I used to go to before. I knew he didn’t have much practice in implants but he was willing to take the challenge and at the time it sounded like a good idea to me. That was a big mistake, I should have done more research and look for someone who is capable, not just someone I’m used to deal with. But oh well, I totally trusted the guy, he had put in 9 implants in one session and I was supposed to come back in 6 months for a second stage of restoration. I sensed trouble immediately as soon as I’ve seen the panoramic X-ray after implants placement. I’m not a doctor, but some things are very obvious and I’ve seen enough X-rays to know: most all my implants were placed in the wrong position. Crowded, slanted in all kinds of awkward angles, two almost crossing the adjacent teeth roots. One implant in the upper jaw caused me pain where it shouldn’t have had, then got loose and failed within 2 weeks. In a couple months another one got infected and X-ray showed there’s not much bone around it. In hindsight I needed a sinus lift and a longer implant, but the dentist didn’t explain my options and lo and behold, I was standing to lose the second implant. It was then that I realized I need to find a good, capable dentist who would be able to take over and complete the job.
Switch to Costa Rica and to Dr. Mario Garita
Frustrated, but determined I started doing research I should have done before and finally switched to Costa Rica as the destination where I would be completing my restoration. It surprised me how many Americans and Canadians go down there for complex dental restorations. I’ve found a doctor whose profile looked impressive: US medical education, distinguished DDS specializing in implants, with years of experience, thousands of implants placed and primarily North American clientele. The website I’ve found out Dr. Mario through had prices published, so it was easy for me to compare US dentists’ estimates I had with what it would be if I’d done it in Costa Rica. And for larger projects like mine, they offer a $500 rebate towards the airfare. Altogether, I’ve saved $25,000.
At that point I was much more careful and detailed from the very moment I sent my X-rays and requirements to Dr. Mario. Response came very fast, addressing all of my questions and giving me a number of options along with a very detailed treatment plan along with cost estimation. Then I got a call from Dr. Mario himself and he walked me through the proposed treatment plan and answered all of my questions in a very clear manner. I had a few concerns, but he didn’t hesitate to acknowledge that he knows exactly what to do in order to deliver according to my requirements. My 3rd party implants, – a system which he doesn’t even use, – wasn’t a problem for Dr. Mario. He was ready to work with whatever was there in my mouth and do the job. Now it’s been a year since the project was completed and I can tell Dr. Mario has delivered on his promise.
My treatment plan included removal of one failing implant, one sinus lift with bone graft, two new implants and 32 crowns. Dr. Mario and his team laid out a plan for my 2 week stay in Costa Rica: I was going to spend quite a few hours in dentist chair, but then again I had ample time between the appointments to explore the country. It was my first time in Costa Rica and besides receiving first class dental care, I have had a blast of a vacation, traveling around the tropical countryside and enjoying the beautiful weather. Everything went just perfect, all of it.
2 week stay in Costa Rica with ample time between the appointments to explore the country
After a day of getting all teeth prepped, another day for bone graft surgery, new implants placement, taking impressions and receiving a mouthful of temporary dentures, I was prepared to be exhausted and miserable. But instead, I ended up driving for 6 hours the very next day, without any problem, and enjoying it to the fullest. I have to say also how much I enjoyed meeting new people – who also were visiting Costa Rica for dental treatment at Dr. Mario’s clinic – from United States, Canada, even Australia.
After returning from road trip, I have received my permanent crowns (except just one, which would have to be attached to the new implant in 6 months. I was very particular about how I want my teeth look like, so I studied the “smile catalog” and pointed out specific design I wanted, it was so much fun. Besides the shape, picking the tone was also totally up to me. However creative I could be, I still paid close attention to what Dr. Mario was suggesting. His remarkable sense of style is something that makes him stand out as a first class cosmetic restoration dentist. And his down to earth demeanor makes it very comfortable to trust him completely. I absolutely loved my new smile.
After a short 6 months or so, I went back to Costa Rica for the final touch and a final crown. The implants were all perfectly integrated; the final crown placement was a breeze. The project was finally completed and now a year later I still can’t stop smiling.
I got a lot of compliments about my teeth from people who knew me when I got back. All the crowns look so natural; the bite feels so comfortable that I’m forgetting about implants. What I will never forget is my doctor, Dr. Mario, and his dedication to help people like me.