If dental tourism to Mexico is something you are interested in, here are the steps you need to take:
First you need to get online and look for a dentist’s website. Google the words: “dentist in Mexico”, or dentist in Tijuana”, or my favorite: “Samaritan Dental Tijuana”. You will find a number of dental websites of dentists in Tijuana, Mexico. Tijuana is the best place to go to because it is located just across the border from San Diego, CA, which is the largest US city on the Mexican border, and there is much easier access from the USA and a major airport. Flights into San Diego are much cheaper and more frequent then to El Paso, Texas.
After finding some Tijuana dentist’s websites, next compare the pricing. If they don’t list their prices right up front, beware, you may get a big surprise when you go! So skip over those websites. After you settle on a few dentists, then call them. If they can’t communicate adequately with you in English, skip them too. When you talk to the dental clinic they should be able to give you a rough estimate over the phone. If you have gone to your local dentist, you will know what you need done, and you will also find that in Mexico, the prices will be from 65% to 80% less than in the USA. If the person you talk to can’t give you an estimate, skip that clinic. Ask them if they guarantee their work, how long it takes to get the work done, and ask to give details as to how the procedures are done. The person who answers the phone is most probably not the dentist, but if the dentist has not properly trained them to answer your questions properly, then that should raise a red flag, so go on to the next one.
Make sure they offer good service. Price is not the only consideration. It is not worth it to get poor service, or no guarantee on the work, just to save a few bucks. It is important is to see how much the clinic is willing to help you plan your trip, help you with hotel accommodations and figure out transportation. These things aren’t something you can expect the dentist to pay for, but a good dental clinic will be conscientious to accommodate the patients with good service, and you will need their help if you are coming from afar.
Before you finalize your plans, ask the dentist for some referrals and for some before and after pictures. A good Mexico dentist will have plenty of patients who are excited about the good work the received, and they should be able to give you the contact information of a few of their recent patients. You can tell if the person they give you is really a patient by the way they respond to your questions, and you will be able to get a good feel for how well they were taken care off. If they aren’t ready to give you referrals, and some before and after pictures, then don’t go there.
The next stage is to plan your trip.
1.Time frame: The Mexican dental clinic will have helped you set a date and calculate needed time to do the work. Most work will take from 2 days, up to 8 days to complete, depending to what all you need to have done. It is good to plan one extra day, just in case of any complications. Think of your dental trip as a “dental vacation”. In the USA they drag out the dental work for weeks and even months, but in Mexico, they are used to people dedicating the time to getting the work done quickly, but it will still take the whole amount of time the dentists estimates to do a good job.
2.Travel. The main thing is getting to San Diego. Flights to San Diego are inexpensive. For example, round trip ticket from Orlando, Florida to San Diego will run about $240. Most dental clinics in Tijuana can help you to get to the border, and will even send someone to pick you up for a small fee. However, it is easy to get to the border from the Airport via public transportation. Ask at the airport information desk, and they will tell you where to catch the city shuttle bus, MTS 992, that will take you from the airport to downtown. Give the driver of the bus $5 and buy a day pass. Tell him you want to get off at the San Diego Trolley light rail station, (American Plaza). He’ll drop you off in front of the train station, and you will get on the Blue Line to San Ysidro/Tijuana. The train will take you clear to the border at the US Customs. There you will walk into Mexico, and take a taxi for $5, or call your clinic, and they will pick you up. Once in Tijuana, the Tijuana dental clinic can help you get around, or you can take a taxi anywhere for just a few bucks.
3.Dental tourism Mexico: Lodging in Tijuana. Your clinic can tell you where to go and help you make reservations. There are a lot of nice places in Tijuana that are secure, clean, and have reasonable rates. Costs run from $40 to $60, and there are no additional taxes added on. During your time off, when the lab work is being done, before the placing of your crowns or bridges, you will have a few days to check out the sights. Tijuana has a lot great restaurants and interesting shops for the tourists on Revolution Street. Also, there are very nice beaches in Playas, or Rosarita. There are shuttle buses in downtown that will take you there for $7. You can relax on the beach or go eat sea food.
The dentist that I recommend is Samaritan Dental in Tijuana, Mexico, located just South of San Diego, CA. For more information go to: http://www.GoodSamDental.org They are extremely honest, very capable, have very low prices, and they guarantee their work. The will also help facilitate your trip by helping with transportation needs, and hotel reservations.
About the author: Jim C. has lived in South America for many years, and traveled extensively in Mexico. He speaks Spanish fluently, and is and expert in cross-cultural communications. In other words, he knows his way around!