Dental Costs

Today, I went to the most expensive dentist in Estelí. I didn't pick him because he is the most expensive nor am I sure he is but I know Ana thinks his prices are totally out of line. I actually met him one morning when I was walking my now ex-dog seven or eight years ago. He was standing in front of his office and said (in English) "That type of dog doesn't belong here".

Well, he was almost right. While you are more likely to find Samoyeds in Alaska or Siberia, Carlos was actually from Costa Rica. In any case, I liked his attitude and when I needed some dental work I went to him. He is a good dentist (by any standards) and the fact that he doesn't like to do unnecessary things (like X-rays) impresses me. He has also impressed some folks I sent to him including one person who does not speak Spanish.

In any case, I went there because I had broken one tooth (popcorn again) ages ago and had another where the tooth had disintegrated under a filling. I could see dollar signs for him. When I walked in I suggested that my mouth was a potential gold mine for him.

Well, I must have been thinking US prices. He did a cleaning and pretty much confirmed my assessment: two crowns. He explained the process which had no surprises: impression today, the nasty stuff on Monday with temporary crowns and the permanent ones 10 days later. The total cost would be $600.

I don't know what US prices are these days but about 10 years ago I had two crowns done in Costa Rica and the cost was almost $400 each. At that time, that was way less than US prices. So, while he is "way too expensive" by Ana's standards, I am only unhappy that I actually have to be there when this is happening.

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$ @ dentista...

$600 is actually quite a bit, all things considered. Almost double the cost in Honduras (my Hondu dentist is actually Nicaraguan, pre-Contras...) - I am told. My Hondu dentist, U.S. educated, covers 1-2 root canals and 1-2 crowns, for about $600+. One thing, always, to ask is: what happens, exactly, during the 10 day wait? Are they making the mold or sending it to the Philllipines - and if the latter, what,exactly, justifies the price??


The crowns are made in Managua. They are ceramic but apparently have a metal frame. We talked about this. He said he didn't recommend ceramic without the metal for molars.

I wasn't kidding when I said he was the most expesive in Estelí and I have been told by others there are many good dentists in Estelí. I Initially went to him because I had met him and he seemed real with an office that looked like a dentist's office instead of an ex-garage.

If I was regularly going to the dentist I probably would have done some price shopping but in 8+ years here my previous trips have been fixing one broken tooth, re-doing a couple of fillings and cleanings. Each of these trips has been in the $20 range.

Dentist next to Gran Via

I have gone to a couple of dentist's in Esteli. After my dentist in the US said I needed a root canal ($1100) I had it checked out by a dentist across from Hogar. He x-rayed said I didn't need a root canal ($10). He was the garage type of office. No english. The next time I went to the english speaking dentist next to Gran Via. I was told he was expensive.(FYL, I think you told me that) He fixed a chipped tooth for $25. I asked how much a root canal would be . He charges $125. So I can fly down and have a root canal and it still be cheaper than the US. It's been over 2 years and I still haven't needed that root canal

Rodolfo Badilla

That's the dentist I am talking about, between Banco ProCredit and La Gran Via.

From his business card, his email is and office number is 505-2713-2334.

My dentists here

...charged $150 for two porcelain inlay fillings, $150 for a subcontracted root canal (woman orthodontic surgeon from Leon), and $600 for a four tooth span fixed bridge. I think they were doing the higher end treatments.

Second time, repairing where a bit of tooth cracked away from one of the inlays was free and the amalgam filling for the other tooth was C$300 (I'd need rather upset with the idea that all my discretionary income for the month was going to evaporate and was very well pleased with the second bill.

Prices in the US for the work I had done would have been in the thousands for the bridge from what I could find on-line.

I suspect a dentist in the US would have done a root canal and crown for the back molar that one of my dentists repaired with the amalgam.

My dentists don't speak English and seem a bit uncomfortable working on patients whose Spanish isn't fluent. All questions about whether something is hurting or not or if bits are still rough are in Spanish as are all instructions about not eating for two hours after work was done. One of my friends tried to organize some dental tourism with them and was basically ignored until I asked about the email. They said they couldn't make an estimate unless she and her friend showed up, and they were unenthusiastic about the whole idea.

Rebecca Brown

2 weeks ago..

teethcleaning 250c..1 filling in a back molar..250c..broke a cap on a molar..a yr. ago..around a$100 to replace it