While in Yuma, Arizona we realized that “dental tourism” is much, much bigger than we thought. According to the Yuma visitor guide, there are over 600 dentists concentrated just a few blocks in the town of Los Alogodones! That’s correct, hundreds of dentists are within walking distance of the Mexican-United States border. Each day, thousands of Americans and Canadians cross the border for the town of Los Alogodones for dental work. They drive to the border, pay a parking fee, and walk across into Mexico. We are not talking about just cleanings and fillings, but folks are having same-day crowns, root canals, veneers, and even dental implants.
I had heard about the inexpensive dental work and bargain-priced pharmacies for several years now but did not realize the large impact until we talked with numerous people who are currently having work done in Mexico and their subsequent opinion about their care. Their positive experience is why they come to Yuma from all across the country.
Our friends spoke about the excellent care they received, the modern equipment, and the amazing prices that they were charged. One person was quoted $6000.00 USD for a dental implant at home and is getting one for $1400.00 in Los Alogodones. To a person, they thought that the equipment was newer and more sophisticated than their state-side practice. In one instance, they are using 3-D printers to create a temporary guide to line up the placement of their implant.
What really hit home with me was the couple that reported that their dentist in Los Alogodones was much more caring than their U.S. dentist, explaining in great detail what he was doing, and willing to take all the time needed to be sure they were happy with their experience.
There are other advantages too. Since there are so many dental professionals in this small town, the endodontist, the periodontist, and other specialists occupy the same buildings. We were told that if you need some additional professional evaluation, you can just “walk down the hall.” There is at least one dental office that also runs a hotel so you can spend the night, have breakfast, and return to the border in the morning when it is not as crowded! In fact, that is the only negative that we heard was about the time it takes to return across the border. There are so many “dental tourists” that the line coming back to the states can be multiple hours-long in the afternoon.
Unfortunately, I have had significant dental work over the years, with root canals, crowns, and an implant. I realize how expensive it can be even with U.S. dental insurance. What I did not realize was that thousands of Americans have decided that a visit to “Molar City” is the answer.