Medellin, A Cosmetic Dentistry Mecca
Dental services in Medellin are on a par with top Western practices, but at a fraction of the cost. With the increasing costs of medical procedures in North America and Europe, South America is becoming a popular option among medical tourists looking for cheaper yet equally reliable healthcare.
Medical tourism was identified and has become a leading attraction for both American and European health travelers.
Customers who take advantage of medical services in Medellin avail of the opportunity to explore a new culture; wonderful weather and exotic location both before and after procedures have been carried out. Medellin is considered to be one of the best of Colombia’s hospitals and specialty medical centers. Dentists in Colombia are trained to the highest level, with international requirements ensuring that their medical skills and knowledge meet global standards.
Following is an excerp from the World Bank report, entitled: Prospects for Health Tourism Exports for the English Speaking Caribbean.
“Due to Colombia’s relatively low costs and high quality, private health services have been highly attractive … Private health services in Colombia have comparative advantages over the Caribbean due to the low costs of medical and paramedical personnel, the availability of high technology equipment, and facilities which in some cases have good international reputations. Moreover, modern hospital administrative systems and quality assurance programs are being developed to make these services more attractive to the US market.”
Cosmetic dentistry is the field of dentistry that focuses on improving the appearance of the mouth (teeth and gums), unlike traditional dentistry which focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases.
People seek cosmetic dentistry for a variety of reasons. The truth is, most people would like their teeth to be straighter, whiter, and pleasing to the eye when they smile. Many people who feel that their smile is unattractive, will rarely smile or cover their mouth with their hand whenever they laugh. This could also negatively influence their self esteem which can impact both personal and professional relationships. Others just want to look younger and they want to hide the signs of aging on their teeth (such as yellowish color and worn tooth edges).
Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Cosmetic dentistry procedures currently in use include:
- Teeth Whitening – Teeth whitening is perhaps the most commonly recommended cosmetic dentistry procedure. Teeth are often stained from smoking, food, drink (coffee, tea, or red wine), or poor oral hygiene. Bleaching the teeth can enhance the appearance of your smile.
Composite Bonding: Chipped, broken, discolored or decayed teeth may be repaired or have their appearance corrected using a procedure called composite bonding. A dental composite material with the look of enamel and dentin is applied into the cavity or onto the surface of a tooth, where it is then sculpted into shape, contoured and hardened with a high-intensity light. The result is a restoration that blends invisibly with the remainder of the surrounding tooth structure and the rest of your natural teeth to create a healthy, bright smile.
Inlays/Onlays: Also known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays made from porcelain or composite materials are a long-lasting yet cosmetic way to provide a “filling” to teeth with tooth decay or similar structural damage. Whereas dental fillings are molded into place within the mouth during a dental visit, inlays and onlays are created in a dental laboratory before being fitted and adhesively bonded into place by your dentist.
- Dental Veneers- Plastic or porcelain laminates, bonded to the surface of a tooth to replace chips and cracks, will improve a worn appearance or severe tooth discoloration. Veneers may also be recommended if you have gaps in your teeth or if you have not had success with teeth whitening.
- Gum Lift, is a cosmetic dental procedure that raises and sculpts the gum line. The procedure involves reshaping the tissue and/or underlying bones to create the appearance of longer or more symmetrical teeth.
Enamel Shaping removes parts of the contouring enamel to improve the appearance of the tooth. It may be used to correct a very small chip. The removed enamel is irreplaceable, and may sometimes expose Dentin. It is also known as enameloplasty, odontoplasty, recontouring, reshaping and stripping.
- Full Ceramic Crowns - A crown, also called a cap, is a custom-made restoration that repairs and strengthens a tooth that has fractured, has a large cavity, has an old filling that has failed, or has had root canal therapy. Fabricated of all-porcelain for strength, endurance and appearance, a crown completely covers the tooth, restoring and protecting. Crowns can also be used for cosmetic purposes, enhancing the appearance of a tooth that is discolored or an unusual shape.
- Smile Makeovers: Smile makeovers involve a comprehensive assessment of your smile esthetics in order to improve its overall appearance. Typically one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as dental veneers, dental implants, gingival sculpting and teeth whitening, will be required for several teeth in both the upper and lower arches in order to achieve the look you want.
- Full Mouth Reconstruction: While consulting with you about a smile makeover to primarily improve the esthetic appearance of your smile, your dentist may discover that there is a need to provide necessary treatment to correct functional problems with your bite, muscles, teeth and bone structure. If you need full mouth reconstruction, the materials available today make it possible for your dentist to provide you with durable, functional and clinically sound treatments that also look natural.
- Dental Implants - Dental implants are artificial tooth root replacements that are used as a part of prosthetic dentistry in order to compensate for tooth loss. Often the result is not only an enhanced smile, but also a more youthful appearance, since missing teeth cause the face to collapse, making you look older.
Many different tools are available today to help you and the specialists visualize what can be done before actually performing anything on your mouth.
With the aid of computers and advanced software programs, pictures of the patients mouth can be altered, for example: do a gum lift, reshape tooth anatomy, repair chipped or broken teeth. This helps to decide what can be achieved and make sure the patient likes it.
The wax up of cast models is also a very useful tool for the patient and especially for the dentist.
Using state of the art computer programs as NobelGuide® from Nobel Biocare permits a tridimensional reconstruction of a CT scan and actually perform a surgery on the computer before is even done on the real patient. This helps to reduce chair time for the surgery, gives more precision and in many cases permits doing a flapless surgery (with out incisions).
Medellin’s Leading English Speaking Cosmetic Dentist: Dr. Juan Carlos Mejía Escalante
Dr. Mejia graduated as a dentist from CES University, a well recognized private school in Medellin. He later got a postgraduate degree in Dental Care for the Adult Patient from the University of Antioquia, one of the oldest and most prestigious public Universities in Colombia. Immediately after graduation he started teaching as a professor on the dental faculty of the University of Antioquia and taught there for over ten years.
He also got a degree in surgical and prosthetic management of dental implants from the University of El Bosque.
He has actively taken many courses of continuing education programs to be on top of the latest advances in the dental field specially Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry.
On the past several years, he has mainly devoted his practice to providing dental care for the health tourism/foreign visitor patient and has perfected the logistics of this practice.
He has assembled a team of the most noted dental specialists in Medellin in the various fields of dentistry to make sure the best possible service is deliver in the different areas of dentistry.
Juan Carlos Mejía Escalante
ARTICA, Clínica Odontológica
Palms Avenue, Oficina 330
Vía Las Palmas km. 3 (Carulla Las Palmas)
Teléfono: (57) 4- 448 48 47
Celular: (57) 312 258 34 36
Medellín – Colombia