I just got back from Yucatan, Mexico where I had extensive repair work: crowns and root canals done. Specifically, in Cancun, on the far east of the country on the Caribbean, a major package holiday and tourist destination.
Lots of folk over Facebook & elsewhere wanted the skinny on this.
*It’s easy ahead of time using Mexican Dentist websites to know what various treatments will cost as they are clearly spelled out. Most people are aware and have been given estimates ‘at home’ for onerous things like root canal treatments, implants, crowns, veneers, and all the rest.
But you do need to clearly understand what these terms mean to be able to compare prices.
You could get a treatment Plan here then send it ahead for their estimate.
* Mexico is 30 to 75% cheaper than the USA or Western Europe
Simple fillings? that too.
- Gas: same price. Food: Less than half. Basic accommodation, less than a quarter. a/c Transport: Cheap ands good. City buses, very cheap, very noisy and a lot of fun.
* Costa Rica, India, Thailand and other places are also in the running- But I have not had teeth done there.
* Eastern Europe! I have had Implants done in Bosnia, Budapest and Warsaw and am happy with there results.. : ) But this is not about that.
* Los Algodones across the border from S. California has the most dentists and is easy to drive to near the Mexico/Arizona/California junction near Yuma, Arizona. – you can walk over the border, there are over 100 dentists in that one town and not much else , so you have LOTS of Dental choices.
It is WAY TOO HOT in the summer & pretty much shuts down from April onward.
* I was going to drive there this year again (2022) in my RV as I did before ‘The Pandemic’ but the fuel cost was double what it was.
The airfare to Cancun, 2500 miles away and 6h flying time beat it!
with some effort & adaptability it can be under $300 both ways
* Google maps showed me there are about 15 ‘dental tourism’ places around Cancun. less than Los Algodones- But you only need one dentist, the right one, after all. All the ideal ones seem to be in the ‘tourist’ zone in ‘Zona Hotelaria’ which looks to me like Miami in miniature.
Note that Mexicans typically DO NOT get root canals, veneers and whatever you are going there for- just fillings & extractions.
These places are geared up for ‘us’
And not just Americans go there. Western Europeans, too.
* The rest of everyday Mexico- Its food, jungles, ruins, beaches, cenotes, villages and people await you not far away.
* Staying in the Hotel Zone would be at least $100/night, so I stayed in ‘El Centro’ The actual City of Cancun, Pop: 850,000, a 60c /half-hr public bus ride away. Taxis are cheap but I am cheaper.
For $20/night I stayed in small 3 room apartment I rented by the week down town in the Big City- With WiFi, A/C, locked yard gate and own keys, great food nearby and plenty of street life, just the way I like it : )
* How? I used Booking.Com to initially find a place for a few nights and struck a deal with the landlady for a week at a time more, once dental timetable was settled.
* How Does One Find The Right Dentist?
A; Show Up. I did NOT book or call ahead. I mapped them all, CLICK HERE: (Note: Google Maps is far from perfect, zooming in and out makes various different practitioners come up!)
I walked past a few and stopped in at four. The 3rd one that got my attention that I will list was the only one with an attached tech lab and surgical, orthodontic, cosmetic and endodontics specialists all in the same office. They were (as they all are for that matter) Super clean, masked up to put us back home to shame and had a large portfolio of work done. What made me settle on the particular practice I did was, talking to the various patients in the air conditioned waiting area in different stages of repair that were totally happy with the progress, prognosis and treatments given- esp. the Price.
* PLUS the office was 5 minute’s walk from Playa Caracol a tourist and hotel beach with bars and lounge chairs. Not really my idea of a Mexican Visit but beats the hell out a boring recovery room.
5 minutes after many unpleasant drilling and banging procedures,
I am dozing in the sand. No margaritas as I don’t care for such things, but I could have had any such libations.
* I got my first appointment within 24 hrs and started treatment after some hairy decision making on my own part within 3 days.
I did tell them to use all possible hours to ‘get it all over with’ and they did, but this is not for everyone. Couple 6hr days in the Chair as I decided for once to proactively prevent further future damage rather than wait for things to go wrong THEN fix them as I had before. That was A LOT of work built up over 50 years : )
* I kept the Site to Last simply because there was a lot to understand to get the best options for my own case: Your Mileage may vary. Also- Cancun is now gearing up for Dental Tourism and not as well known as some destinations- yet- for this type of work.
http://www.denticscancun.com It has been in business for 8 years and hosts graduates of Mexican university system known as UNAM. They are also apparently members of the ADA- American Dental Association meaning their practices and techniques are in line with that organization.
* My Spanish is Okay, and couple young staff were called in couple times when procedures got too complex to afford language mistakes.
* The way I do things is not for everyone. I telecommute so kept right on ‘working’ from abroad and don’t have many time constraints. In fact, I bought a one way ticket and decided to keep going as long as stuff remained to be done, plus, left 5 days after the last treatment so I could come back for a followup if anything caused Problems.,
(There are none- yet.) This allowed me to visit and stay in beautiful Merida, about a 4 hr bus ride away and get over Hotel Zone Life and the rigors of Chair Life and too many lidocaine shots to count.
Never pick a dentist that does not use electronic X-rays:
Film X-Rays are Passe.
Reasons: the radiation is extremely low and the result show up instantly. When I was done they gave me copies on thumb drive of ALL the X-Rays they took as they were working.
– It’s not hard once you are in the office to talk to other patients, these were my real marketing gurus. Several guys reported they were as I ended up doing, getting a lifetime repair for years of trouble.
– I HATE the term: “I Have Done My Research:” like a few weeks of googling beats your 7 years of internship and study. But we should all learn some terms and recognize the difference between hype and reality at the very least.
– I DO rely on my instincts about hygiene, proffesionalism and competence. I could be gyped by conmen easily but not a whole office and staff, unlikely.
- Do not do what I did or follow what I said. YOu will have to use this as a starting point to make your own decisions– you are On YOu Own. your health and welfare are a big issue and I do not want to be responsible for them : )
Hope that Helped. Comments, corrections, kudos and clobbering Welcomed!
- Paule Castro