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Bad dental experience in Costa Rica

All about cosmetic dentistry, veneers, tooth whitening, crowns, bonding, bridges, orthodontics, and more.

Re: Bad dental experience in Costa Rica Prisma Dental

Postby cherlynns3 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:40 pm

I went to Prisma for a new lower arch to have shorter crowns made on the advise of my dentist here in the state and an upper over denture remade. They had done work for me in the past so I was so shocked with this outcome and how they have mistreated me.

First, the crowns are exactly the same height as what I came in there with. In less than a three weeks, four of the crowns have sheared/flaked off. (dentists here in the states say they look like acrylic provisional crowns and are not polished). They are taking on stains and I'm not a coffee or tea drinker. The night guard that was made for me had a whole in it the day I got it and the day I left).

The Hader bar over denture has no stability so it rocks and pops when I eat. Dentists here said the yellow clips were reamed out and that it needs to be rebased because of the poor fit to my upper palate. I repeatedly told them about this while there and Dr. Cordero insisted it was not a problem and would resolve itself.

The 6 front teeth in this over denture are very translucent They look so fake and plastic. I embarrassed to meet anyone or speak or smile in public because of this.

Since I left, I wrote them repeatedly and said I would return for corrections but they have ignored me completely. I then asked them to refund me the cost of the Hader bar and the bad crowns. No response to that either. $12,000 worth of work that will have to be redone. They used to do good work. Not any longer. At the least, they should have been willing to correct their work. This has been a horrible experience. There's more but these are the main points.

I also note that they charged me more than the prices quoted here, as well. I cannot recommend them for any work. For photos, emails or other documentation please feel free to contact me at cherlynns3@gmail.com
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Re: Bad dental experience in Costa Rica

Postby trlwd2 » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:07 pm

mkm1212 wrote:Dental work in Costa Rica....

If you are contemplating going to Costa Rica for inexpensive dental work...think again. The old adage, “ you get what you pay for” is so very true in my experience. The overriding reason I am writing this review is to hopefully help anyone thinking of having dental work done in that country, not make the same mistakes I did. After reading numerous reviews both pro and con concerning various dentists in Costa Rica, I chose Dr Telma Rubenstein et al of Prisma Dental. BIG MISTAKE. I was impressed with their internet advertisements featuring their “state of the art” lab etc. As it turned out, the lab with its latest technologically advanced equipment, was only as good as its technicians and materials used. I was also impressed with some of the glowing endorsements that I later found out were written by people that had a vested interest in Prisma Dental. One wrote a book about it. Another glowing endorsement was by a person I communicated with via emails. She turned out to be a extremely close friend of Dr Rubenstein and her husband Dr Cordero. When I questioned her about a bad review I had read about Dr Rubenstein and Prisma Dental, she stated that it was from a disgruntled employee. I should have questioned their reasons for their endorsements more thoroughly.

On arrival at Prisma Dental, I met with Dr Telma Rubenstein. We discussed what work needed to be done and the charges for the procedures. Dr Rubenstein was pleasant enough on my initial contact. All that changed when she began working on my teeth. I found that she had a terrible “ bedside manner” and was very pushy and rude. She is a driven woman who I later found out works twelve to fourteen hours a day. She had me sitting in the dental chair for hours on end without a break, hanging the saliva suction device inside my cheek even when not needed.
When I would remove it, she would rudely replace it, resulting in painful blisters inside my mouth. As you would expect, this work ethic makes for ideal conditions for mistakes to take place. When all work was completed I was happy with the outcome and believed that all that I went through was worth it. I asked for an itemized bill. Gloriana, the office clerk told me it was not ready but gave me a total amount due. I paid the bill and prior to returning to the States, again requested an itemized copy of the bill. Gloriana stated she would email it to me.

Less than a month later my crowns began to break. Upon notifying Dr Rubenstein of the problem, she became very irritated and attempted to blame me for the breakage. She ultimately agreed to fix the problem but would not pay for my return airfare ($916). To her credit she took care of lodging and food.

Dr Rubenstein examined my broken crowns and consulted with her husband Dr Cordero in my presence. He informed her that the reason for the breakage of the crowns was due to them being made too thin. This second visit turned into a real nightmare. Dr Rubenstein hurried through the repairs and was very irritated, stating that she had angry paying clients waiting for her services. I returned home this time with heavier, off color crowns that looked like Chiclet gum pieces. I also now have several very sensitive teeth due to her excessive grinding in trying to fix the bite problem. One week after returning home I suffered another broken crown. I now question the quality of the lab work and materials used to make my crowns. The bite problem is still ongoing and causing pain when eating.
Again, prior to leaving this second time I requested the itemized bill from the first visit. Gloriana stated she would email it. I finally received the bill and found several added and excessive charges.
On a final note the last mistake I made was not getting a breakdown of charges in written form before having any work done. I have learned a valuable lesson and hope others thinking about going to Prisma Dental will take my experience into consideration.


I'm the US patient coordinator that mkm1212 contacted about going down to CR for dental work. I worked with her for months answering as many questions as possible that she had about plastic surgery and dental work, both of which she was planning on having done. She started with the dental. She told me she had a terrible auto immune disease and that she didn't have the money, but then later said she was so eager to go take care of her teeth that she headed down to Costa Rica and Prisma Dental. I highly recommend Prisma Dental to all our plastic surgery patients. They are my dentists, and my husband's and daughter's. I go to Prisma because our experiences with them over the years have been wonderful. That's why I recommend them. That's the only reason. I work for a plastic surgeon in Costa Rica. That is my main job. I recommend Prisma as a courtesy when I'm asked if I know any good dentists in Costa Rica. So I recommend my family dentists.

MKM1212 kept in touch with me the whole time she was down in Costa Rica and when she returned she wrote me a glowing email about how amazing the dentists were at Prisma Dental. She also sent me photos of her standing with her "new best friend" Dr. Telma Rubinstein. She was all smiles…beautiful smiles.

Then, after a short while I got a message from her that a few of her crowns broke and she was furious. At the time I didn't understand what could have happened. They've been my dentists for 17 years and they've done crowns on me and not one has ever even chipped much less broken just days after they installed them in my mouth.

I later found out that MKM1212 is a grinder (she told me this in an email "I'm a terrible grinder") and that she lost the night guard that Prisma made for her in the Prisma Dental lab that is on their premises. Because she didn't wear her night guard which is very important for night grinders who have crowns done, as crowns are porcelain and porcelain is breakable. They told her how important it was to wear the night guard they made for her.

They told her she needed to wear it every single night so as not to break the beautiful work they had done in her mouth….the work she initially raved about telling me they are the greatest dentists and people in the world.

Before long, she was writing me hysterical emails and said she wants to go back to Costa Rica and wants them to redo HER BROKEN CROWN for no charge. I talked to them (the Doctors) and of course they were pretty distressed. Mostly because they figured out that the only reason her crown broke was because she was clearly not wearing her night guard every night.

Even though the "breakage”was this woman's fault, still I talked to Dra. Telma and asked her if there's anything she can do to help MKM1212. So Dra.Telma said that if she can pay her own way down to Costa Rica, she can stay AT THEIR HOME and redo whatever crowns were broken for no charge, but only if she promised to wear her night guard because it didn't pay to go through all the work again only for them to break again. They're like that, amazingly generous with people.

Anyway, I convinced them to just pay to put her up at a reasonably priced B&B and they did. And instead of thanking them, she angrily insisted that they pay her entire bill at the end, including all her meals that she charged to her room. They paid it. Now, mind you, her complaints and insistence that they pay for her entire trip and do all the work again for free was truly unfounded since the blame for the breakage of ONLY one crown that was chipped out of about 10 that they had done was her own fault. But I asked them to please help her out and they did it for me.

As a side note, Dr. Telma Rubinstein called this woman's dentist in the states at the beginning of her first appointment and he told her "Good luck with this one" after sharing nightmare stories of this patient.

They didn't let it get to them, but when she came down there the second time and acted like they owed her, they saw exactly what her US dentist meant. She was beyond rude and disrespectful and angry and hostile with them. In addition, she was suddenly writing me angry hostile accusatory emails. Nasty as can be. I have about 100 emails that went back and forth over the many months I answered her daily emails. She seemed like a lonely and troubled woman, however I should have gone with my better judgment and not booked her at all.

Trust me, I've definitely learned a lesson from this experience. Next time I go with my gut about a patient I feel will be trouble with a capital "T". I do want to say that with regard to Prisma Dental Clinic and Drs. Rubinstein and Cordero, they are for me and my family, the best dentists we've ever been to and they will continue to be our dentists as long as they are in business. Believe me, if they were bad dentists, my husband and daughter and I would not let them come near our teeth!!! They are excellent and dedicated dentists and they have a million happy patients who are grateful to them for giving them back their lives by giving them beautiful smiles that make them feel confident and happy.
It's too bad every happy patient doesn't take the time to go to these websites to rave about Prisma like they do to me after they come home. I suggest that they do it, but they never do. It's the people who want to feel powerful because they can go onto these websites and really hurt other people under a fake identity, who are the first ones to post their slanderous insults against good people.

If you saw mkm1212’s emails after she came back from Costa Rica the first time, she couldn't stop raving and ranting about how amazing they are. About how loving and talented they are as dentists and people. I have all the emails in her file.

I wish I could post those so you can see what I'm talking about.

Bottom line…I truly believe she was so angry with HERSELF for ruining her beautiful new crown by not wearing her night guard and she couldn't handle the responsibility of it and therefore decided to lay all the blame on Drs. Rubinstein and Cordero Period.

In my humble opinion, people should take reviews like hers with a grain of salt. They are specifically designed to discredit someone's good name….anonymously…which is a sin all by itself. But it's being done in order to blame these doctors instead of accepting the blame herself. So in closing, I hope the readers of this woman's post don't end up sitting in an inferior dentist's chair because you were scared away by this review of a person whose agenda is to discredit and hurt the reputation of excellent dentists with a great track record who've been producing beautiful smiles for their patients for more than 25 years.
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Re: Bad dental experience in Costa Rica

Postby estherlamb13 » Tue May 20, 2014 8:18 am

I actually had a really pleasant visit to Prisma Dental. Dr. Cordero and Dr. Rubinstein were both terrific!

My case has included challenging repairs, restorations, bridgework and dental implants – all with great results. Dr. Cordero is a considerate and meticulous oral surgeon who takes great pride in his workmanship. I believe he is equally concerned with my dental health and my appearance. He has a great staff at Prisma Dental who is friendly and competent.

I was initially apprehensive about coming down, I didn’t really know what to expect after reading all the reviews and finding Prisma Dental quiet controversial. However, I was just so impressed from the moment I walked in, my doubts disappeared.

The team at Prisma Dental was accommodating and ensured I was comfortable at all times. There is also an on-site lab where I was able to see and track the progress of my work at all times.

I know I made the right choice going down to Costa Rica and getting my dental work done at Prisma, it was both affordable and highly professional. I would recommend Prisma Dental in a hear beat.
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Re: Bad dental experience in Costa Rica

Postby sinatra3 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:14 pm

Re: MKM 1212 Bad Dental Experience in Costa Rica

My trip to Prisma Dental in 2012 was wonderful. Before my travels, I wrote to Dr.Telma Rubenstein explaining what was going on with my mouth and my concerns traveling by myself to Costa Rica. She called me and I immediatly knew that I found the right dentist. She also assured me that I would be well taken care of, and what a true statement!
My mouth was totally reconstucted and yes I did sit in the dental chair for hours, but everyone made me feel very comfortable, and I wouldn't trade that for anything .I knew that there was alot of work to be done, but they were also working on my schedule.The work that Dr. Rubenstein and Dr. Cordero accomplished is beautiful. Since then, I have been back twice for a checkup and cleaning. I have had friends ask me why I was going back to Costa Rica for just a cleaning and checkup. I tell them that my dentist is there and I wouldn't trust my mouth to anyone else. I have seen the pride that they take in their work, and because of the this I have friends that will be joining me next year. I feel as if Dr. Rubenstein and Dr. Cordero are part of my family. Thank you so much is making be believe that I can have a beautiful smile.
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Re: Bad dental experience in Costa Rica

Postby experio » Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:16 pm

I am just beginning to research who/where to go for dental implant/crown/bridge work I need to get done and was seeing so many postings on the web and it is impossible to distinguish honest truth from fake postings. So, when I came across this one web site I seriously thought it looked "official" and "legitimate" perhaps set up by Costa Rica for promoting its Dental Tourism industry to inform dental tourists and I just had such a horrible experience that I am shaken up even before I plan my trip.

I am referring to http://www.costaricandental.com.
I completed the contact form to have someone contact me and was pleased when a "Bob" called me and began to "spill" out lot of information and "We will take care of everything" repeated. When I asked him a few times to pause and answer my questions, he kept referring to "the dentist" and when I asked if he was providing general information or representing a specific dentist(s), he immediately told me that they cannot serve me and told me to go somewhere else. When I called again, Bob was rude and told me that they cannot help me. All because I was trying to find out the facts whether they represented someone before I sent any details.

BEWARE OF COSTARICANDENTAL.COM !!!!! with a Atlanta based number.

I am sure there are other similar scams. This is big business as there is almost no dental coverage here in US and dental costs are very high. It is very difficult to sift through truthful feedback and reviews and "sponsored" content online.

Consumers/Patients Beware! I am so glad that "Bob" was immediately rude to me so I learnt the bait so quickly. Now I am a bit sad but wiser.
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Re: Bad dental experience in Costa Rica

Postby augdev » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:01 pm

I just had my dental treatment with Dr. Alejandro Mora Lasso and Dr. Andres Fernandez, in Dental Cosmetics Costa Rica.

The work so far was great, very little discomfort for 7 implants and 11 extractions. Now have my temporary bridge and will return in 6 months for my 3 segment bottom bridges. At that time I will also have the top done, again 7 implants and 10 extractions.

I will keep this forum updates with my results and opinions.

I would recommend both of these Doctors to all my friends for implant work.

My work was done in June 2015.

Augustine J. Cannata
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Re: Bad dental experience in Costa Rica

Postby nickluck711 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:08 am

Dr Mario Garitas,
Made me an ill fitting bridge from his in house CAD CAM machine. He does not send out his bridges, crowns inlays or onlays to a professional out-house laboratory. He makes all his teeth in house with a cheap CAD CAM machine. Within 3 days a crown came undone. Within 3 months 2 inlays cracked and one onlay fell out. The 4 span bridge he made in house that covered my front four teeth was short and ill fitting. I was embarrassed to smile. I had to go and get the bridge drilled out and replaced because I was so uncomfortable and embarrassing. He ignored me the whole time I was there. I paid over $12K and will never be back.

Dr Obando at Nova Dental in Escazu replace and fixed all the mistakes the Garita office screwed up. I wish I would've went to Nova Dental in the first place! He save my mouth.

Dominic
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Re: Bad dental experience in Costa Rica

Postby csr122460 » Tue May 17, 2016 8:17 am

My advice to you is to trust those horror stories that you've heard. I live in C:R. and know a lot of people, including myself who have been scammed and suffered because of these con artists. You'll most likely pay a lot more then thay promise or even guaantee you in writing and then have to have the dental work re-done in the U.S.. You usually get what you pay for but in CR., you'll get far less than you pay for trying to get it done for less. You'll end up paying more and it might take months or probably years to straigten out !

I won't name names because I don't want anyone to think that I'm just angry at some dentist in C.R. So I have no motive other than to just warn people about ALL C.R. dentists. Please don't trust these other reviews either, theey are usually writen by someone at the dentist's office,, and B.S..
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Re: Bad dental experience in Costa Rica

Postby quikkit@sbcglobal.net » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:59 am

I too had 2 very bad dentists in Costa Rica.

Thought I had done my research and found a good dentist in Dr Barquero and later Dr Mario Garita. NOT SO. I now know that the procedures and materials used were very substandard. Actually - like out of the dark ages. Teeth were extremely rough and abrasive. I literally had to use sandpaper to polish them enough so that I could just live with them they abrated the inside of my mouth and tongue so badly. And they did not seem to have any understanding whatsoever of what I meant when I said they were "rough" and "abrasive". I could literally file my finger nails on the teeth!! That's how rough they were. Barquero was so bad I later changed to Garita thinking he would be better. Not SO.

Garita did an "all on 4" for my upper teeth. One of the implants was only 1/2 in the bone for it's entire length! One other was in a bone graft that failed and he had to do a rush second/corrective surgery on the second trip. The screw in one of the other 2 actually broke off inside the implant! NO way to get it out or replace it. Implant had to be replaced here in the US. Took him 2 weeks to make really crappy teeth that he called "permanent" teeth. My US surgeon that is correcting all the damage done in CR did all the surgery and produced and installed beautiful, smooth, polished and COMFORTABLE teeth all in the same day, top AND bottom.

Don't be blinded by the cheap prices. When you go to CR you get off the plane naked. You have absolutely NO protection or guarantees. The dental college there teaches the students how to scam the tourists and put on a good SHOW to get your money and get you in the chair. After that it becomes a "GOTCHA". Shop for a GOOD dental surgeon at a reasonable price close to home. Do not do the Clear Choice - one day thing you may see on TV. It's almost as bad as CR and the highest price of all. Good all on 4 is available here in Dallas for 35 - $40,000. Finance it if you have to. But don't go to outside the country. There is too much pain, expense, and risk involved. The surgeon that does the work should OWN it after the fact and be responsible to you. Once the Costa Ricans have your money things go downhill real fast. They know it costs a lot to travel and stay down there. The everyday living costs are higher than here for a tourist. One trip is one thing. Repeated return trips for "corrections" is quite another. And they know they can drag out their work so you just can't justify the returns. They kept me there for 2 weeks to make teeth that my US guy made in one day (and MUCH better). It's just a scam all the way around. Don't do it.
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Re: Bad dental experience in Costa Rica

Postby blackgoldwhite » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:22 am

quikkit@sbcglobal.net- I am sorry you haven't been happy with treatment. There are various ways to pick a clinic abroad as doing yr own research, seeking recommendations from friends and family, etc . But it might be safer to use the services of egdentalimplantsfrieds that provides you with a list of clinics that best suit your needs.
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