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The Boston Globe



Adventures in medical tourism

Putting my money where my mouth is on a trip to Costa Rica.

NOT LONG AGO I came down with a toothache. This thing hurt like someone was jamming a screwdriver between my tooth and my gum. I would have paid any price, made any promise, confessed any crime just to make the pain go away. My dentist told me I needed a root canal and crown, which would cost $2,350. And my three existing crowns needed to be replaced, too, because they were nearing the end of their 10-year life expectancy. This would cost about another $3,600. Did I mention that I don’t have dental insurance?

I shopped around a bit, but my dentist turned out to be about average price-wise, so there was no relief there. While surfing the Internet I came across the idea of going abroad for dental work. The general term you see is “medical tourism,” a moniker I admit I don’t like. “Honey, I’ll meet you on the beach as soon as I have my gallbladder removed.” Let’s face it, it can’t be that much fun.

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