Bargain dental care in Mexico is a popular topic among full-time RVers. So, when one of my full-timer friends took the plunge, I wanted to get Mexico dental care FAQs answers from someone whose opinion I respect. I wanted to know if Mexican dentists are just as good as American dentists?
Dental Care in Mexico FAQs for Newbies
Full-timer Dave Jenkins from Portland, Oregon recently took a road trip to Algodones, Mexico for a teeth cleaning and a bridge. Here’s what he told me about dental care in Mexico and his two visits south of the border.
1. How Did you Find a Dentist in Mexico?
My wife did some research on the dental town of Algodones, Mexico, which is a short walk across the border. I watched a few videos of other well-reviewed dentists in Algadones, and decided to schedule a cleaning for her and myself to check it out and see if it felt OK. I scheduled the appointment via chat on the dentist’s website and they answered my questions clearly in English via chat and confirmed our appointment.
2. What was your Visit like?
The office was on par with any I have visited in the US. It was $30 US for each of our cleanings, which were thorough and effective. So, I asked Dr. Rafael a few questions about a bridge. He answered my questions in fluent English and gave me pricing. Additionally, after about an hour and a half, I left with two temporary crowns and an appointment for two days later for the bridge. I am happy with the results.
3. What did you Save by Going to a Mexican dentist?
I paid $1,700 total. This included cleaning, impressions, and a zirconium three-tooth bridge. What’s more is when I had insurance while working full time, the bid was around $3,000 for my part for a metal (mercury/tin) and porcelain bridge.
4. If Someone is Thinking of Getting Dental Work done in Mexico, what Should they do?
Research. Spend a couple of days reading blogs, view YouTube visit videos, and read review sites for the different dentists recommended. Furthermore, bring a list of your US bids/procedures with you, along with specific materials. so you are comparing apples to apples.
Schedule a low risk procedure like cleaning, or a simple filling for your first visit. If, for any reason, once you get back and you don’t feel right, either check another dentist office in Algodones or just stick with one in the US.
Ask plenty of questions. Remember they are familiar with gun-shy Americans and Canadians coming in with fear in their eyes. Check for yourself and don’t buy the hype. Just because the doctors are working in Mexico, it doesn’t mean back-alley education or low standards. Many have training in the US, but operate in Mexico for good reasons. Even ask them why. But, if you don’t feel it’s right, don’t do it as dental care is quite important and your gut is smart. Most of all, once your gut tells you “this feels right” give it a try.
5. Are you Convinced?
Finally, I was glad to see my friends return from Mexico unharmed and happy about their procedures. As a result, am I convinced that cheap dental care in Mexico is a good idea? Maybe a little more. Although it’s not enough to make me try it this year, it’s nice to know that sometimes you really can believe things you read on the internet.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.
As a dentist involved in dental education for 20 years, specifically the training of internationally trained dentists seeking licensure in the US, I personally would look for someone with advanced training completed in the US (specialty or general services).
Dental school training varies widely around the world and may even vary within a specific country given the dental school attended. US dental schools and advanced training programs are required to meet rigorous educational criteria set forth by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and I would hope the practitioner would continue those standards in their private practice, wherever that may be in the US or around the world.
There are excellent dentists trained in the US and elsewhere around the world that adhere to the highest standards. Unfortunately, the flip side of this coin is also true.
Do your research. Ask questions. Look for credentials (licensure, advanced degrees). Seek recommendations from a dental school, dental society or governing board of dentistry in the region. Find out with whom other dentists seek care for themselves and their families. Request to see a photographic portfolio of similar work completed by that dentist. Research complaints or claims brought forth by the governing body. This kind of information is readily available on dentists licensed and practicing in the US, you should try to seek this same information wherever you seek care. Due diligence is needed on your part.
Steve Fennell says
Thanks very much for your professional insight, Robbie
Janis Morrison says
I have just retired from the dental field after 34 years as a certified dental assistant and receptionist.
In my years working with a periodontist I can’t count the number of times that we had to remove teeth or implants because of shoddy work from Mexico. As a consumer you can not know what is good and bad work until it fails. The materials that they use for their lab work – crowns and bridges – are far less superior to what we are currently using. In the States and Canada we do not use tin/mercury in any lab work of any kind.
As the person above states – do you due diligence and seek this persons papers of where they were trained – some such as in Algadones are dentists and Dr’s who could not get a license in the States or Canada. I have visited Algadones out of curiosity and would not have any work done myself.
Rene Agredano - The Full Timing Nomad says
Thanks for your feedback Janis, it helps having a professional point of view.