Scoping Out The Best Dental Clinics In Mexico

It is crucial you know the reputation of the dental clinic you choose in Mexico.

In my blog, Dental Tourism In Mexico; I’m All For You Saving Money, I discuss the story that led me to become engaged in dental offices in Mexico. I highly recommend you spend the time needed to research dental offices in Mexico. Schedule your appointment only after you feel one hundred percent comfortable.

Follow These Tips To Find The Best Dental Clinics In Mexico

1.Know the reputation of the dental clinic through word of mouth from at least three patients or use a professional referral service (which do not charge fees) such as Beyond Borders Dental (BBD) or Dental Destinations. I personally can recommend BBD because of my first-hand involvement with them; they’re a family-owned business which spends quality time in the clinics they refer to and give individual attention to clients, yet have limited locations in Mexico. If you’re wanting more choices, Dental Destinations actually uses offices all over the world, including Mexico. I do have some contact with them and I’m under the impression they do site visits to the clinics they refer to but to what extent I don’t know. It’s up to you to pick the patients or the referral agency’s brains!!! Ask tons of questions, of which many are below.

2.Ask about the credentialing of the dentists. Many dentists are attached to universities and teach their trade or are well known in their field. Sometimes dental clinics at the border have several dentists working there and you will be surprised at how young many of them are. You may want to ask for a highly experienced dentist to treat you, more frequently referred to as the senior dentists. Also, know you will not find dental hygienists or assistants in Mexican clinics. Even though they have graduated from university, dentists do all the assisting and cleanings on their own.

3. Ask about the dental materials they use, for example the nobility of the metal in their crowns, or when appropriate,  what brand names they use, for example for implants. There are offices in Mexico that use the exact same Implant materials we use here in the US, such as Nobel Biocare or Straumann. You can ask them if they will be prepared to show you the official label from the company, which they usually adhere to your chart. The Mexican government puts a cap on the mark-up from manufacturers of medical, dental, and pharmaceutical companies to control the costs, but they are the same products used here.

4. You may also want to ask if they use digital x-rays, which they should!!! A modern office should be computerized and have email. You should be able to email them your U.S. treatment plans and digital x-rays, and they should do the same for you per your request.

5. It’s a very good sign when the clinic has an office manager that speaks English. They should be able to guide you through the entire process of crossing the border to their office or if they have a driver to pick you up, and all the necessities to make your visit a success. A reputable office will provide you with a staff member who can answer all of your questions and make you feel comfortable while you’re there. They should be able to explain the treatment plan and procedures with you as well.

6. Cleanliness is huge but you must not mistake it with simplicity. The offices I have experienced are extremely clean with the same autoclaves and sterilization techniques as the U.S.. You will see the same sterilization tubs of wipes you can find in operatories here. I have spent a lot of time in Mexico, and in general, from dental offices to restaurants, the bathrooms are some of the cleanest I have ever seen, anywhere, period. If the clinic is not clean, leave!!!

7. Ask about their warranties. Many offices guarantee their work and materials for 2-4 years.

8. Ask if the dental clinic can help process your dental insurance. It is a great sign if they are willing to help you and are advanced in doing so. Of course, you must first check with your insurance company about dental care coverage in Mexico.

The clinics in or near Mexico’s border towns are there to treat Americans, it is truly their intention. The dentists I have experienced in Mexico are authentic and genuine in their care for you and are much more heart centered than U.S. health care providers. They also tend to be more honest in their diagnosis, and in my experience, Mexican dentists can actually disagree with U.S. treatment plans which can be heavily over diagnosed, hence, turning work away. This saves you even more money!!

You may want to use caution in large border towns, such as Los Algodones, better known as “Molar City,” where the clinics are very competitive for your business. It’s extremely important you adhere to the above suggestions and I highly recommend a referral agency, as you could easily get swindled into an under-rated dental clinic in a place like Molar City. I hope this helps you to be the adventurer you are. Good luck!!

Dental Tourism in Mexico; I’m All For You Saving Money

Mexico can offer an affordable option for dental care with the same expertise as the U.S.

First, please know this blog is near and dear to my heart. The story I’m about to share was life-changing in my role as a dental hygienist. Perhaps it was the timing, after years of dental experience, I had witnessed too many patients who could not afford proper dental care. It was a pivotal time in my life where I concretized my values as a health care provider into one simple thought; a person’s accessibility to dental health is my priority. In a way, my awakening to dental tourism expanded me to the point of starting and inspired me to pass on my dental knowledge and wisdom, to serve you, the dental patient, first and foremost.

I work as a hygienist in a dental office in New Mexico, very close to the Mexico border. Throughout the years, I would occasionally have patients tell me about receiving dental work in Mexico. Sometimes the work was to standard, and other times inferior, much like dental work everywhere, not all dentist’s work is the same. Honestly, I had a naive attitude, much like the dentists I worked for, which was somewhat judgemental. We devalued the dental treatment and dental materials in Mexico as if they were inferior to the U.S. with disregard to the patient’s financial restraints.

Here’s my story:
I had started a job at a new dental office. A middle-aged patient, nicely dressed, came flying in a bit late because she was caught up at work. She sat in the chair and kept her hand over her mouth as she warned me she had a tooth missing. I assured her I’ve seen it all dentally and she was safe with me. She let out a small smile, and I could see her very front top tooth was missing. I was aghast, not at the sight of her missing tooth, but at how I realized the energy it took for her to hide it. I felt horrible. She went on to tell me she couldn’t afford a bridge or an implant as she didn’t have dental insurance.

She asked me if I had heard of Beyond Borders Dental and mentioned she was thinking of contacting them to receive her treatment in Mexico. I had no idea who they were, but something immediately shifted in me that day. This patient opened my heart and led me to a deep ongoing curiosity about dental health accessibility and the quality of dental care outside the U.S.. I knew one thing for sure, it was getting harder and harder for patients to pay for their care in this country, especially without insurance, gone were the days of dentist’s taking payments. When I went home that evening, I searched the web for Beyond Borders Dental and it proved to be eye- opening.

To make a long story short, I began to consult for BBD, helping them build their web pages on dental procedures and visiting dental offices in Mexico. I am confident to say there are dental offices in Mexico as advanced as any office in the U.S., offering the same dental expertise and techniques as well as technology and materials. For example, a reputable dental office in Mexico can use the same implant brands as anywhere in the world, such as Nobel Biocare or Straumann. The only two major differences in Mexico are, you will save 50-80% in treatment costs (there are many reasons for this), and the majority of dentists I have experienced are full of corazon (heart) which makes them a bit more genuine in diagnosing and treating you.

Receiving dental care in Mexico averages above half the cost in the U.S. as well as Canada (Canada’s publicly funded health care system excludes dental) because expenses are much lower. Dental training takes about 5 years in Mexico, with the last full year consisting of mandatory community service, making dental education very affordable, hence, dentists are not graduating with huge student loans as in North America.  The Mexican federal government controls the pricing of medical and dental devices imported into the country, which caps the profit margin, allowing them to use the same quality materials we use here. Then, there’s the obvious lower cost of living in Mexico along with the omission of the insurances and fees required for businesses in the U.S., all making dental treatment much less.

Dental tourism is not for everyone and only you know if you’re comfortable. See my blog, Scoping Out The Best Dental Clinics In Mexico. If you love your dentist, and can afford them, you don’t need to let go of this convenience. There are some areas in Mexico where there’s a dental office on every block, especially border towns,  and it’s crucial you know their reputation. Remember though, bad dental experiences as well as unexpected failures can happen anywhere, in any country, by the best dentists.  The one thing you do have control over is choosing an office you can afford, with the highest standards and most qualified dentists, all to your personal liking.

Flossing And Everything In Between; All The Ways To Clean

In between the teeth is a perfect place for bad bacteria to grow and cause harm.

Wherever bacteria can hide out in the gums it can become destructive. The areas I find bleeding with teeth cleanings is very predictable, in between and in the inside, where people are missing with their home care. I’m fully aware flossing has been removed from the federal dietary guidelines due to the lack of research. All that tells me is there was no incentive from any interested parties to secure corporate funding for flossing research, which could be based on manufacturer’s low priority floss sales, I don’t know, but it takes money to fund research.

You can ask any hygienist, any, and they will tell you how important it is to clean in between your teeth, with the majority insisting on flossing. Hygienists know where they can find plaque!!

On the other hand, I would like to be more specific about cleaning in between your teeth, and explore if you can get away with not flossing. The decay causing bacteria, Streptococcus Mutans, predominates in the primary dentition (baby teeth) until about the age of 25.

After the age of 25, the balance of the S. Mutans decrease as the potential for periodontal disease bacteria increases. This doesn’t mean either decay or gum disease will occur as other conditions must exist, however, it’s important to know what you’re preventing at what age. Obviously, a teenager with lots of plaque can have both decay and gingivitis, the years they are least motivated in the discipline of home care, but need it the most. Needless to say, to prevent decay in kids, it’s very important to floss in between the teeth, especially if the contacts are tight. See February: National Children’s Dental Health Month

If adults are suddenly getting lots of decay in between their teeth, whether around old fillings, or brand new cavities, there could be something much more going on than the need to floss. As one gets older, prevention of gum disease is the primary emphasis. Therefore, proper flossing technique is crucial to cleaning plaque from the gums.

The problem with flossers are it’s too easy to snap them between the teeth and pop them right back out without ever getting in the gums. The same snapping in and out can happen with string floss, and it’s too bad because it’s really like not flossing at all. If a patient says they’re flossing, and it appears they are, yet there’s still lots of plaque in the gums, I know they need a demonstration on technique. My thinking is, since they already are motivated to floss, they merely need encouragement on how to shape the floss along the teeth and into the gums. You also need to be sure you don’t hurt your gums in the way of floss tears which can permanently injure them. Some people really get flossing techniques down and for those who like to floss, keep flossing!!

One thing I know for sure, some people will not floss ( sometimes for good reason) and it could be futile to give the floss lecture. I do emphasize though, how brushing alone cannot remove all the plaque, not even the best battery brush users. Instead, there are so many tooth aids which can be offered to clean in between and it only takes a short conversation to figure out what might work. Perhaps, if things change down the road, at least I’ve helped a patient to start cleaning between their teeth, so if they need to floss, it’ll be easier. It’s really important to be honest with your hygienist about your home care so they may better understand what’s needed for improvement, or on the flip side, what you’re getting away with.

Every person is different and so are our mouths, therefore, everyone maintains a healthy status quo at their own unique level. For instance, I probably only floss at the most one to two times a week and I don’t have gum disease or adult decay…….shocking huh? I can think of tons of other patients that don’t daily floss while having a healthy mouth. My secret is I’m attached to Stimudents, but it takes lots of skill and experience to use these wood sticks (they break easily), and I don’t often recommend them to patients. I must pick my teeth with Stimudents at least two to three times a day. I say, whatever you find easier to use, you will use.

All The Ways To Clean In Between

Water Flossers (Water Pick) are great if you have a lot of dental work; crowns, implants, and bridges. I’ve noticed disciplined water floss users are rare though, but I really notice healthy gums when they do use it. You have to be willing to keep the water flosser out on the counter as the minute you put it away you run the risk of not taking it back out. Better yet though, they make portable hand-held water flossers which are easier to use, like the popular Waterpik brand.

Click on image to purchase Waterpik

Wood Toothpicks are really easy to use and work great. You can simply use the Forster brand round toothpicks or you can purchase wood picks made for dental picking. I was at my sister’s house the other day and tried her Auromere neem toothpicks and absolutely loved them. Wood is friendly to the environment as well.

Plastic Picks are not my first pick because the first time I saw a plastic flosser in a parking lot I wasn’t happy. Although, they work well, and I usually recommend the brush picks because they do a better job loosening the plaque.

Click on image to purchase Soft-Picks

Proxabrushes (Interdental brushes) have been around a long time and they’re great because if you keep them clean, they’re not as quickly disposable as other picks. The problem is the proxabrush may not fit between all of your teeth so they could be more site specific, for example in the molar areas, and sometimes, because of the metal they bend easily.

Click on image to purchase Proxabrushes

Stimudents are probably the oldest interdental aide and my personal favorite, but like flossing, there’s some technique involved as the wood breaks easily. I love them because they’re tapered like your teeth and can cover more surface area than toothpicks, but they’re getting harder and harder to find.

Click on image to purchase “My favorite,” Stimudents

Don’t worry if the plaque on your picks or sticks isn’t obvious because what matters is loosening the plaque out of the gums and away from the teeth. The key is, whatever you use to clean in between your teeth, much like brushing, you must be committed to it as a daily ritual. It’s obvious to me when someone is consistent with their home care routine, it shows in the health of their gums.

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