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 askmyhygienist.com 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.

Author: Cari

Cari has been a practicing dental hygienist for over 30 years. She received her degree with honors and was selected for a rare internship at Eastman Dental School, Rochester, NY. She then went on to receive a BS in Social Work from Nazareth College, cum laude. She has practiced in a variety of offices in Santa Fe for almost 25 years, with dental hygiene experience that has spanned from public health to holistic private practice, to specializing in dental phobic patients. Her commitment to research with a life-long desire to learn is combined with her genuine drive to provide patients with a whole health knowledge base. Cari also brings her experience as a published writer to her role as an oral health blogger. She has written blogs and web pages for Beyond Borders Dental in her role as Director of Dental Relations and Education.

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