Sunday, January 16, 2011

Canadians Flocking to Mexico for Dentistry

Dr. Bernardo Magana at his cosmetic/general dentistry clinic in Los Algodones, Mexico.

I guess the Canadians are trying to get a deal like Americans have been doing for years.
When Bernardo Magana arrived in Los Algodones as a young dentist in 1969, he was the only dentist in town. Today this sun-drenched community of 4,000, just across the border from Yuma, Arizona, has what is likely the highest density of dentists in the world. There are more than 200 dental clinics in town and their nearly wall-to-wall billboards and barkers colourfully promote their services.

People flock to the town — nicknamed Molar City — from all across Canada and the United States for one reason only: The dental services are significantly cheaper than in their hometowns.
Well, good luck with travel to Mexico with all of the crime. You may indeed receive cheaper dentistry but end up a statistic.

Crime in Mexico, including drug cartel sponsored beheadings has significantly increased since I wrote this piece in 2009 but the same advice goes.

Flap warns folks to be careful and scrutinize these dental offices. Here are suggestions:
  • Pay a visit: Ideally, take time to visit the dentist in his or her office before committing to a procedure. Check to see whether the staff speaks English and make sure the dentist follows infection-control guidelines —clean surgical gloves, mask and sterilized equipment. Interview the dentist and ask for photos of similar procedures performed.
  • Check it out: If possible, check out the dentist’s stated credentials. U.S. educational degrees can be verified with the institution. Also, make sure the dentist is certified by the Mexican Dental Association. The group has a registry (in Spanish) at
  • Don’t be cheap: Don’t necessarily go for the cheapest deal. You often get just what you pay for.
  • See a U.S. dentist first: Go see a U.S. dentist for an initial consultation. It will save time once in Mexico because you will know exactly what treatment you need. In Mexico, obtain a plan for treatment in writing.
  • Ask around: The best resources are often the other patients. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with other tourists in Mexico and ask about their experiences, positive or negative. Those evaluations generally are more honest than an anonymous Internet review.
I have seen the "GOOD, BAD and UGLY"from Mexican dentistry.

Notwithstanding the quality, training and cleanliness issues, building a relationship with your local American dentist may PREVENT major dental problems in the first place.

And, remember: you get what you pay for.......

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