Total State-of-the-Art Dental Care Under One Roof
For years, people from developing countries in South America and elsewhere have traveled to the United States to get state-of-the-art dental care. However, good dental care in the U.S. has become so expensive that even people with insurance cannot afford it. Among them are older Americans who for years had wanted to get their teeth straightened or repair other problems affecting the jawbones or muscles but never had the money for it. So now, many Americans are going abroad for cosmetic dentistry or for Maxillofacial Orthopedics to correct chewing or breathing problems. This trend of traveling overseas for elective dentistry at drastically reduced costs is called Dental Tourism.
Ecuador has become a popular destination for expats and tourists to come to for affordable, quality dental care. They are not just coming to the major cities of Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. Even smaller towns like Cotopaxi are seeing a larger number of foreign dental patients.
Cuenca-born orthodontist, Dr. Fabian Polo Barzallo of the Orthodontics Clinic, has treated about 100 satisfied expats and tourists over the past two years. Some of these patients returned to their home countries when treatment was completed. Many of his expat patients who live in Cuenca continue to come to his clinic for their routine dental care. This often includes having their teeth regularly whitened because they can afford it now. Dr. Polo has so much repeat and new business that he has expanded his clinic to better service patients.
"All of my patients are happy when they leave," Dr. Polo says very proudly.
This is important because when you go to another country for dental or medical care, you do not want to be treated differently or charged more money for care just because you are an expat.
Many expats come to Dr. Polo for one of two things. First is for cosmetic dentistry. While the patients tell him they just want to look better, he is more concerned with improving the function of their teeth as well.
Unfortunately, expats also come to him to fix costly problems created by other local dentists. In those cases, the expats had been told that they needed particular work done on their teeth or mouth. After paying other dentists a lot of money for that work, many expats went home and had more problems just trying to chew their food.
Dr. Polo admits that these experiences are common among expats in Cuenca. He promises that he will never do that to any patient. The fact that many expat and Ecuadorian patients continue coming to his clinic after their initial work is completed is a testament to his professional integrity. Virtually all of Dr. Polo's new patients are referrals.
He wants his clinic to be a place where expats can feel confident that they will not be exploited or charged "Gringo prices.” If Dr. Polo cannot do a procedure or treatment that you need, he will send you to another specialist that he knows will treat you fairly.
Dr. Polo is a certified specialist in both Orthodontics and Maxillofacial Orthopedics. He studied in Mexico City and later trained with practitioners from the U.S. to complete the Master's Series in American Orthodontics. That qualifies him to make clear braces that are far less noticeable than the more common metal ones.
Braces are no longer considered to be just for children and teenagers. Today, more adults are coming to Dr. Polo for braces because they also want their teeth to be perfect. This is true for both the expats and Ecuadorians. He now treats patients of all ages, and about 30% of all his patients are adults including expats.
Dr. Polo sees orthodontics as architecture for teeth. He loves the details of making people's teeth perfect.
"My happiest days are when patients take their braces off and see their perfect teeth," says Dr. Polo.
The two-story Orthodontics Clinic uses all modern equipment with state-of-the-art technology. This enables Dr. Polo and his associates to provide expats with the same level of treatment that they would get in the United States, but at one-third of the cost. For example, in the U.S. it can cost up to $7,000 for braces and other progressive treatments. Here, the total cost is about $3,000. Dr. Polo charges the same prices and gives the same discounts to expats as to Ecuadorians.
In the U.S., the clear or less visible braces cost about $1,600. Dr. Polo charges only $400 for them.
The clinic accepts incremental monthly payments for services from all patients. Payments can be made in cash, or with U.S. credit and debit cards.
Dr. Polo has been practicing general dentistry for 26 years. He has specialized in orthodontics for 18 years. His Orthodontics Clinic has been at its current location on Av. Paucarbamba and Tomillos since 2002.
There are four dentists at the clinic including three general dentists. Dr. Fabian Polo is the only orthodontist, and he performs the Maxillofacial Orthopedic procedures. With four doctors in the house, the Orthodontics Clinic provides all dental services under one roof except x-rays. Your doctor will give you a prescription or referral to have x-rays taken elsewhere.
If going to the dentist has always been a painful experience for you, the Orthodontics Clinic is one of only a few dental practices in Cuenca that use Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas). The University of Minnesota has certified this practice in the use of Nitrous Oxide. The machine that the clinic uses for the Laughing Gas was brought back from the United States.
At the Orthodontics Clinic, all general dentistry for adults and children, plus Pediatric Maxillofacial Orthopedic procedures are done on the first floor. All orthodontics, adult Maxillofacial Orthopedics, and other dental surgeries are performed on the second floor that was added two years ago.
This full-service clinic also has an on-site laboratory for making many of the products necessary for personalized patient care. One exception is the metal braces because they are uniform and are imported from the U.S., Mexico, and Germany. The clinic's lab does make retainers for the braces as well as cosmetic tooth veneers. They also produce all products that Dr. Polo uses in Maxillofacial Orthopedic procedures.
Dr. Polo himself speaks only some English. However, don't worry because another dentist speaks English very well. The English-speaking dentist usually treats the expat patients. If you need to see Dr. Polo, then the English-speaking doctor works with him to interpret for you.
Finally, Dr. Fabian Polo promises personalized service at the clinic. He wants all expats to feel like his friends so they will always leave feeling satisfied with the care they have received.
- Orthodontics Clinic Specialties
- Adult and Pediatric General Dentistry
- Adult and Pediatric Orthodontics
- Cosmetic Dentistry including whitening teeth and veneers
- Adult and Pediatric General Dental Surgery including extractions
- Adult and Pediatric Maxillofacial Orthopedics for jaw bones or muscles
Location: Av. Paucarbamba 5-124 and Tomillos
Tel: 07-409-5839 or 07-281-0683
Clinic Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon, 3:00 to 7:00 p.m., Saturday 8:30 to 11:00 a.m.