Center LineJuly 27, 2012
CLHS teachers launch program to match up patients, overseas dentists
By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer
CENTER LINE — After a trip to his dentist five years ago, retired Center Line High School teacher Richard Dziurda discovered he needed a bridge replacement.
The cost of the procedure — even with medical insurance — was more than he could afford. He hoped to set up a payment plan over several months that fit into his budget, but because that wasn’t possible, Dziurda shopped around.
When researching other dentists, the educator came upon an article about dental tourism, a method in which Americans travel to other countries to undergo dental work at a vastly lower rate.
“It talked about how much money you could save and how the quality of work was very good,” said Dziurda, who retired from CLHS in 2011.
After conducting hours of research that included countless emails to approximately 20 dentists in Costa Rica, Dziurda went to the Central American country to undergo the bridge replacement procedure he needed.
Wanting to help others in the same situation, Dziurda recruited CLHS teacher Jaime Bellos to launch www.mydentaltrip.com. Through the website, Dziurda and Bellos coordinate patients seeking dental work with dentists and dental surgeons in other countries. Though they are focusing on Costa Rica as they pilot their program, Dziurda and Bellos plan to add more countries at a later time.
When preparing for his procedure, Dziurda spent a lot of time looking for the right overseas dentist, along with booking a flight and hotel, and finding out what type of vacation-like activities were available.
“It was a pretty big process,” Bellos said.
Plus, it was not an easy decision for Dziurda to fly to a foreign country he hadn’t been to before to have his teeth worked on.
“It was complicated for me to make a good decision,” Dziurda said. “There were a lot of people reluctant to see me go. It ended up being a good experience for me.”
Taking all that into consideration, Dziurda and Bellos created a dental tourism website to make it convenient for people to find a dentist overseas.
“We put together many scenarios how to help people make this process easier and alleviate some of their worries,” Dziurda said.
The website has several steps. Those who log on are asked to become “members.” From there, a page will open up with a medical chart of a person’s teeth. Those seeking dentists can fill in the required medical portion by stating what kind of work they need done and their medical history.
There also is a page asking what country they want to visit and what type of activities and nightlife they prefer. From there, they input their dental X-rays. Then, the patient gets a quote of how much the procedure will cost. Dziurda and Bellos said the first proposal is free, and a fee will be charged for additional proposals.
With the United States’ economic downturn, dental tourism could be an option for someone without medical insurance or for anyone whose insurance might not cover the procedure. Even after flight and lodging fare, patients still save money, Dziurda and Bellos said.
“You could save 66 to 75 percent on dental costs,” Dziurda said.
According to the pair, Costa Rican dentists are highly qualified and offer many procedures.
“Implants are big, dentures, veneers, bone grafts,” Bellos said.
Dziurda and Bellos said it’s less expensive to have dental work done in a country like Costa Rica, because the cost of living is lower than in the United States. They also stressed that they are not trying to take business away from American dentists.
“This is for someone to get needed dental work done they can’t afford to get done at their present dentist,” Dziurda said. “A person is not going to travel to Costa Rica all the time. I don’t think American dentists should be worried about it.”
“They’re not going to stop going to their dentist after they get their work done,” Bellos said. “They’ll continue to go to their dentist to get maintenance done. It’s not a replacement. With heath care changing, this is another option.”
They also welcome pairing up patients with American dentists.
“We want to work with dentists here in the United States,” Bellos added.
“We’re really excited to see how this will blossom,” Dziurda said.
For more information on My Dental Trip, log onto www.myden taltrip.com.
- Last 7 Days
- Last 30 Days
- Missing woman found dead - West Bloomfield
- BHS Orchestra selected to perform at Carnegie Hall - Berkley
- All in the family - Clinton Township
- Christmas Wonderfest brings holiday wonder to Novi - Metro Detroit
- Premature birth rates decline in Michigan for sixth year - Metro Detroit
- Police seek help in fatal hit-and-run - Clinton Township
- Looking Back: 1920s Coolidge Highway - Berkley
- Shelby boy battles rare form of cancer - Shelby Township
- Lions Thanksgiving halftime show spotlights WLC band, cheer teams - Walled Lake
- Macomb Home Depot creates college scholarship in honor of deceased employee - Macomb Township
- East Detroit student dies following pool accident - Eastpointe
- Attorney dies in Harper Avenue crash - St. Clair Shores
- CVHS students to stage production of ‘Hairspray’ - Clinton Township
- Looking Back: Selinsky-Green Farmhouse c. 1898 - St. Clair Shores
- Sterling woman hurt in shooting - Sterling Heights
- Christmas comes to the Shores - St. Clair Shores
- County board considers regional water authority proposal - Macomb County
- Shelby boy battles rare form of cancer
- BHS Orchestra selected to perform at Carnegie Hall
- Lions Thanksgiving halftime show spotlights WLC band, cheer teams
- Macomb Home Depot creates college scholarship in honor of deceased employee
- Child prodigy becomes youngest artist exhibited at Park West Gallery
- All in the family
- Christmas Wonderfest brings holiday wonder to Novi