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***UPDATE!: I have returned home after my 2nd & final dental trip to Costa Rica. A wrap-up post will be coming soon. If You're A New Visitor Then Please Use The Archive Menu To The Right To Start At Post #1 (2013 Dec)***

Sunday, December 7, 2014

46: CHECK OUT SmilingAtLast.com!

Someone that I met over at the Topix forums when I first started my dental research, and who I now call "friend", has created a site with some very good and useful info on the subject. Check it out and feel free to ask him questions as he has quite a bit of knowledge in that noggin of his.

just click below and away you will go...but please come back ;)



Saturday, November 8, 2014

45: THE LAB OF LORENZO FAVINI!

So the audio in the video isn't the greatest and for that I do apologize. I could have spent a lot of time on editing and polishing this up but....well I just didn't. It is what it is, a basic tour of the clinic but mainly talking with the man...Mr. Favini.

Lorenzo Favini is from Italy who has found his way to Costa Rica and man I'm glad he did. He is the maker, the artist who created my new teeth and I will always be grateful for his talent and expertise. He is the only person in Costa Rica who uses the famed Zirkonzahn Prettau Zirconia. You can find more info on exactly what that is here: www.zirkonzahn.com

Some will say that, "zirconia is zirconia...it's all the same", but that is either the one's who have not done their research or who don't want you to consider Zirkonzahn because they don't work with it or offer it. It's the cream of the crop...the "Rolls-Royce" of zirconia based restorations.

The video is 24 minutes long so go grab something to drink, get comfortable and I hope you find it informative...




Mr. Favini's lab is a bit out of the city in a beautiful, lush and private setting. It's not like a regular business that you can just walk up to on a whims notice so I want to thank Mr. Favini for allowing me to come out to his place to meet him and see how he does his work. He was fantastic in answering my questions and it was an experience I'll never forget. THANK YOU LORENZO FAVINI!!!

Thanks for watching!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

44: WhatClinic.com - FOR GENERAL INFO ONLY!

This subject recently came up in the Topix forums and thought I would expand on it a bit here. WhatClinic is a site that people can go to and search for different types of medical clinics. I think it's a good place to get the basic information of a clinic such as what they offer, who the doctors are and to read some reviews. But DO NOT let the reviews you read be your deciding factor on what clinic to choose. You will hardly ever find a negative review on that site. The clinic gets the say as to what reviews are posted about them. The clinic pays WhatClinic.com to be on their site...sort of an advertisement.

Here is a report on WhatClinic that I found....

"At Whatclinic.com , go to "Add Your Clinic" in the upper right corner. It opens a page where doctors can sign up. Near the big yellow "Sign Up" button, select "Terms and Conditions". There, you will clearly find that Whatclinic.com is frequently paid by the doctors for listings under a number of schemes, though it does indicate there is some form of free account.

Now, the scam. Select any doctor, and attempt to make a review on that doctor. Try "Review This Clinic" towards the bottom of the page. On the subsequent page where you can fill in the review, there's a button all the way on the bottom of the review named "Review Policy". Click that.

The Whatclinic.com review policy clearly states that they are not a review site. All patient reviews are submitted to the clinic, and the review is only published if the clinic approves the review. It also stipulates that aggregate consumer ratings only include those ratings that meet their guidelines. Patients are forbidden from making a defamatory review, and no reports of criminal activity are permitted. 

The review policy states that if the clinic refuses to allow a patient review to be published, then that will be disclosed on the clinic's review page. OK, there are complaints at the Ripoff Report that Whatclinic.com refused to publish their negative review of Doctor Alberto Coto Calvo of San Juan, Costa Rica. Well, his review page is here: http://www.whatclinic.com/dentists/costa-rica... and you're a better person than I if you can spot where Whatclinic.com made the disclosure they promised in their policy.

My opinion time. There are a lot of marketing websites scattered all across the web that are no more than hype for services. They are paid by subscribers (doctors in this case) to make the advertisements appear like objective consumer ratings. Throwing out the reviews you don't like is far from objective. In my opinion, I consider words like lies, fraud, misrepresentation, scam, illegitimate, and don't use if you care about your health to be far more accurate. Don't use Whatclinic.com as a source for choosing a dentist."

source: http://bit.ly/1ze8faB

Another site that has something to say about WhatClinic: http://whatclinic.pissedconsumer.com

So again...it's an OK site to get the general info on a clinic but that's about it. You can be looking at a clinic on that site and be reading some good reviews and say to yourself, "wow...all positive reviews and nothing negative so it must be a great clinic". Well you don't see hardly any negative reviews because the clinic will not approve those to be posted. Some clinics who have a lot of positive reviews, say 30 or more, will allow a not so favorable review to be posted once or twice because they feel it makes the whole thing look more realistic. This is obviously all about $ for both the clinic and for the site WhatClinic.com

For your research be sure to be diligent, methodical, intelligent and dare I say a bit obsessive. It pays off.







Saturday, July 19, 2014

43: TEETH DREAMS



Before I went to Costa Rica to get my teeth fixed I use to have these teeth dreams from time to time. I would dream that my nasty teeth started to fall out of my mouth and render me toothless. I would wake up and realize I still had my teeth...my disgusting, chipped, stained and gaped teeth. I would then wish there was something I could do to get my teeth fixed. I have no doubt that I had these dreams because I was always so aware of how bad my teeth were and how it affected my life. It consumed my mind in wake and sleep.

Now that I have a brand new smile and I am no longer consumed with thoughts of bad teeth can you guess what happened to my teeth dreams? Gone? NOPE! They have altered only slightly. Now I dream that my new white and straight teeth fall out. I wake up feeling my teeth with my tongue and then being so happy that it was all just a dream.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

42: FIRST CLASS CONVERSATION WITH CONFIDENCE

During my trip home I had a layover in Dallas. Before they started boarding my flight home to Portland they announced that they had 2 first class seats available and the first 2 people who came up to the counter could upgrade for $100. As soon as I heard that announcement, I was up there as quick as my non-fit body could get me. The person who snatched up the other seat was a gentleman who was a tad older than me and who was also returning home after visiting family in Texarkana. We talked quite a bit and I told him about my dental journey to Costa Rica. During our conversation I suddenly noticed how I was not trying to hide my teeth as I was so used to doing all my life. I was talking, smiling and carrying on with confidence that I had never possessed before...it was very nice.

To this day I still continue to build my confidence but frankly it's coming naturally with little effort. Instead of avoiding conversations I now find myself wanting to join them. I knew this whole experience would result in a huge life change but it's still surprising in some ways to see how quickly and easily I'm making those changes.

For my regular and dedicated readers I apologize for going so long without any kind of update. Once I returned home I settled into the normal life of work and play. Everything is going great and I've had zero problems regarding the dental work I received from Dr. Prada in Costa Rica. I love my smile and I can't believe how much my new teeth feel natural. I still have planned a final wrap up post that should cover quite a bit and I'm currently starting to piece that together. Thank you for your patience and I'll get back to you soon.

Friday, May 30, 2014

41: TEETH!

OK I'm pretty tired and have to get up early in the A.M. for my flight so a quick post showing my final & permanent teeth. I'll do a more detailed post and a wrap-up post once I get home.

The Zirconia abutments...





The 3 bridges of ZirkonZahn Prettau Zirconia teeth...





                      (lighting not doing the teeth justice in above pics. Much whiter in person)

Isn't it amazing how different light and angles will make the teeth look slightly different such as the whiteness? Above they look kind of dingy and not very pleasing which is opposite of actual  appearance   I've also found the after the teeth were attached to the abutments and I took photos of them, sometimes it would look as if they were too wide/big and other times they looked perfect.


WARNING: NASTY BEFORE PHOTOS BELOW!






LAST CHANCE TO NOT LOOK...







SERIOUSLY...ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO SEE THIS?...









TODAY!

(labeled "front 1" - for reference to a comment below)


(note to self: take earbuds out when being photographed)

In the photo directly above see the small gap where there is no gum in front and behind the canine tooth? When Dr. Prada put the new teeth in yesterday, he said that the gum would drop a bit and fill in those places nicely, creating that little triangle of gum that is important for good aesthetics. Well I thought he meant a week or two but when I woke up this morning, those small gaps were filled in beautifully with gum and I'm not talking about BubbleYum gum. I was happy.


Remember how I was saying that the teeth can look different depending on the lighting, angle and such? Take a look at this next photo. It was the first one I sent out to family and close friends after getting my final teeth attached....


Now see how the front teeth here look bigger than the earlier photo that I labeled "front 1"? Also something else that someone from the forums brought up is that it doesn't seem in this photo that the center line of my front teeth line up exactly with my nose tip and my philtrum. (philtrum is the upper lip divot). But again when you look at photo "front 1", all looks fine. Well the "front 1" photo was taken head on...facing directly in front of me. The photo immediately above was taken by me with one hand and off to the side a bit and thus makes the center line look off. As far as the teeth looking wider in the above photo, I have noticed that when I take selfies with my cell phone (cellfies?) that it tends to distort things slightly. The main camera on the phone, the one that is on the back, takes great pics. But the smaller pixel camera above the display screen...well not so much. Have no idea if that is the cause, or if it's lighting or what but I do know they don't look that wide in person.

Well that is it for now. Off to bed soon and then after an entire day of flying I'll be back in my babies arms once again. Can't wait!

Thanks for reading and look for the next post towards the end of the weekend.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

40: Q&A WITH DR. VINICIO PRADA

I didn't have a dental appointment today but I did find myself at DDS Dental nonetheless. Dr. Prada was kind enough to find some time so that I could sit down with him and ask the standard questions plus one not so standard. But first let's see the clinics location and some photos of the clinic...


 (here is a more zoomed in map. North of DDS is Liza's, the place I stay while in CR - http://bit.ly/1ovvewZ)








Anything I say about DDS Dental is going to come across as biased since this is my clinic...and you would probably be right. But I'll give you the low down anyway. The new section of the clinic is of course incredibly modern and ultra-clean. It has the latest, greatest technology and gadgets and it beats any other clinic I've seen anywhere. Now the original section of the clinic is actually my favorite. I love the ultra modern decor look of the new section, but there is something about the original part that I really feel comfortable with. I really can't explain it but I think I'm starting to get dental geeky on you so let's move on to the interview. Oh be sure to stick around to the end of the video for a question that the doctor wasn't quite expecting...




I don't blame him for not answering that last question...I wouldn't have either if I was him. I'm not sure if you get a sense of this by watching the video but from the 1st day I met Dr. Prada in January, I noticed how comfortable he makes you feel. He realizes it's a big step for someone to travel to another country for medical purposes and his demeanor puts you at ease from the very start. Also when he starts to talk to you about dental procedures and what the best course of action is for your case, you realize right away that this guy is so incredibly knowledgeable. Then once he begins to work on you, you realize something else...how skilled he is. Even the way he administers novocaine has something very PRO about it. I have never once felt the needle! I'm not sure if it's the way he wiggles the lip back and forth quickly when the needle pierces the skin or what but it's pretty nice not having to worry about that even though it's a minor thing.

I researched for 8 months trying to pick a dentist. I would come home from work and spend at least 2 to 3 hours every single night, more hours on weekends, looking at every piece of information I could find. Wouldn't it have been awful if after all those hours, after all that time spent trying to find the perfect dentist for me, if I had came down here and ended up having an awful experience with a horrible dentist? But instead it was the opposite. Even my wife, who at first couldn't understand why I needed to research so much, now says that it has all paid off. I know for a fact that I found the perfect doctor for my case. Dr. Prada is not only the best dentist that I could have picked for my restoration but also one of the nicest individuals that I've ever met in my life.

Many thanks goes out to Dr. Prada for taking the time to do this interview.

DDS Dental: http://www.ddsdentalcr.com

Thanks for reading!