I met Jeff Schult as I meet many people these days: on the Internet.
Some link aggregation site pointed to an article he had written about having his teeth fixed by going to a dentist in Costa Rica(!). The original article was published in Northeast, the Sunday magazine of the Hartford Courant, on May 23, 2004. It has since been reprinted permanently on the Net by Jeff.
Since that time, Jeff has gone on to become an expert in the field of medical tourism. He’s written an entire book about it, called Beauty from Afar. He’s become the Go-To Guy regularly interviewed about the topic.
I’d heard of people traveling to different parts of the world to have surgical procedures done. But this has grown immensely over the years as skills and technology overseas have become world-class. And, at least until the greased slide downward of the American Dollar, have had costs that are (were?) just a fraction of domestic prices.
In Britain, people are pulling their own teeth because of too few National Health Service dentists. While those British who can afford it, fly elsewhere for budget restorative dentistry. Americans have also traveled to Mexico for dentistry. The New York Times did a lengthy article about the concept of dental vacations. And Jeff, as mentioned earlier, went to Costa Rica.
I just today sent Jeff a link to my post about lead in made-in-China dental prosthetics. He emailed me back that he’d already seen it and posted about it on the blog of his Costa Rican dentist!
That was a revelation. I didn’t know his dentist had a blog. In fact, it’s been a long, long time since I visited his dentist’s website. The site has become very impressive. In fact, I found a listing for a procedure I’d never heard of:
Sinus Lift: A surgical procedure where the wall of the sinus is lifted to create space for implants in the future. This produce is performed in conjunction with the bone graft procedure.
(I had root canal on a top tooth. It was painless. Until a week later when all pain hell broke loose. It was only then that the dentist told me my sinus rested right on top of the tooth!)
Jeff has started a blog and also has a MySpace page (where, dammit, he has lots and lots of women Friends, I note jealously!).
Every few months, since 2004 or so, I’ve emailed Jeff to ask about how his teeth are holding up. So far there have been no problems. Four years and still going strong. If that’s not a solid recommendation (and for dental cowards like me, reassurance), I don’t know what is.
Need extensive dental work done? Think outside the