Should I Get My Dental Work in Mexico?
Is dental work in Mexico really that cheap?
Dental work is the United States is very expensive. So is the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs – but that’s another story worthy of an article or two!
A prime example of the high cost of dentistry in the U.S. became evident to me when I recently went to the dentist. I had a toothache which - because of my vast experience with such matters - I was 90 per cent certain would require a root canal. (Tooth pain, while pushing on the upper portion of the tooth, almost always means a root canal or extraction will be required.)
When I got to the dentist, they took an X-ray and the dentist examined my teeth for five to 10 minutes – and sure enough he told me I needed a root canal. Duh, I could have told him that! The dentist charged me $200 for this visit alone, and the subsequent root canal procedure, after multiple visits over a three-month period for an abscess that needed much treatment, cost another $1,500 or so. Ouch, that hurts like heck in the wallet!
Who can afford to pay so much for dental work – not me, that’s for sure! If you have dental insurance, you may be able to afford it; otherwise, pull out your credit card and swipe away (assuming you have one to swipe).
Next time, maybe I'll go to Mexico to have some of the aforementioned work done. Perhaps I'll become a so-called dental tourist, and perhaps you should too. Perhaps.
Internet Web sites advertise savings from 60 to 75 per cent when you get dental work in Mexico, and the payment chart I’ve included in this article seems to indicate that this is indeed the case. Check it out, and you may be amazed.
These sites offer numerous testimonials from people who have saved thousands of dollars by having their dental work done in Mexico, particularly Tijuana, which has numerous places where one can get this work done. The cynic in me keeps me from believing testimonials, but if even half of them are true, the savings could be significant indeed.
For example, this fellow named Malcolm, who went to a Tijuana dentist, got 27 porcelain crowns, two root canals and four wisdom teeth extractions, which cost him under $7,000. This is truly an astonishingly low amount of money for so much restorative work. Supposedly Malcolm had gotten a quote for the same treatment in the U.S. that would have cost him $40,000. I can certainly believe the latter part of this tale!
But what if something goes wrong at one of these south-of-the-border dental joints?
Getting cheap porcelain crowns and getting ones that last a long time without chipping or fracturing and needing to be replaced is another matter. Making such ceramic crowns, which have to be baked, takes a great deal of skill. Therefore, if the workers in the dental laboratory who made Malcolm’s crowns didn’t do a good job, Malcolm could, quite frankly, end up with a mouthful of crap. For the most part, be very careful when getting crowns and implants, because they’re so easy to screw up if the dentist and/or lab people don’t know what the hell they’re doing!
Many of these Mexican dentists advertise that their work is guaranteed, that is, they’ll fix whatever they screw up for free. Again, the skeptic in me says, Oh yeah, prove it? Unfortunately, the experience with every dentist will be different, and you’ll just have to wait until you get into such a situation before you can find out what your options are. Remember, all of this will take place in a foreign country, which many people consider part of the third world!
Also keep in mind that drug cartels operate throughout Mexico. There is a particularly violent and murderous one in Juarez. So wherever you go in Mexico, be careful! (And wear a flak jacket? You tell me.) For more information about violence in Mexico, please click on this link.
For information regarding the “myths and facts” of getting dental work in Mexico, coming from a source in Mexico, please click on another link.
A Plethora of Border Towns
It seems if you want a Mexican dentist, simply go to one of many border towns. The border between the US and Mexico is nearly 2,000 miles long and throughout much of this hot, dusty expanse are numerous pairs of border towns - San Diego and Tijuana, El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Brownsville and Matamoros, just to name a few. (In Texas, these border towns are adjacent to the Rio Grande River.) Interestingly, in many border towns, the Mexican counterpart has scores of dental offices. In Nogales, near Canal Street, there are so many dentists the street could be renamed Root Canal Street!
Anyway, I read some testimonials regarding dental work in Mexico. Some people think they spent their money wisely while others didn’t. Moreover, American dentists have a particular point of view and it’s generally not favorable, and Mexican dentists have theirs as well, of course. So do some research and make up your own mind.
Also keep in mind that if you don’t live close to Mexico, you’ll have to pay for travel, hotels, meals and other expenses. By the time you pay for all of those extras you might not save much money. I live in Sacramento, California, so it wouldn’t make much sense for me to go to Mexico unless I need lots of work done. And if the work turned out to be shoddy, I’d have to go all the way back and haggle with the dentist, and taking dentists to small claims court in Mexico may be impractical if not impossible.
Whatever you decide, good luck on your quest for cheap, if not cheaper, dental work.
P.S. If you’ve had some dental work in Mexico, please leave a message in the comments section of this article. I’m sure everyone would love to hear from you. Even if you don't have a comment to leave, please read what others have left.
© 2010 Kelley Marks