Dental treatments are not cheap in the USA and many seek dentists south of the border to reduce costs. Operating in Mexico is much cheaper and many dentists have very affordable services, often charging less than half the normal price. Dental tourism is a major industry, especially in the border zone.
Here’s how it all works and what level of service you can expect.
Do Your Research First
While many border towns have dental offices setup for tourism, visitors should still do research in advance. Just like anywhere, some providers are better than others. Check the reviews, do some discovery research online and look for any opportunity to talk with someone who has been and can deliver referrals and experiences.
Referrals from a trusted source are certainly your best bet. It also helps to check the education credentials of the dentist. Many are actually schooled and trained in the United States but operate their practices in Mexico.
Los Algodones is a major destination for dental tourism but Tijuana, Mexicali, Nogales and most border towns have at least a few dental offices. Again, you can head to Cabo, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta and other tourist destinations while finding good options. Just do your research and find an English speaker.
How’s Your Spanish?
Communicating medical needs, pricing and details is difficult if you don’t speak Spanish. Some dentists are only Spanish speakers and it’s best to choose a bi-lingual dentist if your Spanish skills are not adequate.
A large number of dentists in Mexico (at least near the border) are bi-lingual because they serve a large number of clients from the United States. Call ahead and ask to ensure you have a bi-lingual dentist. Many will also list this on their website and it’s a common thing shared in reviews.
Getting Across the Mexico Border
Depending on your chosen location, a few options exist. Some folks will fly to Cabo, Mexico City or another location and combine their dental trip with a vacation. Not a bad way to go about things but most resort towns are not set up for dental tourism specifically.
That means most people walk or drive across the border for their visit. Basic cleanings and procedures that only take an hour or two are easy candidates for the walking method. Secure parking lots on the US side of the border in places like Los Algodones are designed specifically for this foot traffic.
Park, walk through the turnstiles and go straight to the dentist for your appointment. When finished, walk back across and go home. You will need a passport to do this but most people will not even bother with stamps and FMM visas on these short border zone trips. We do however recommend getting the FMM. It’s free for short visits and only takes a few minutes.
Planning to Stay in Mexico? More intensive dental procedures may call for an overnight visit to recover. Of course, you can still walk back across the border to stay at a hotel in the US but there are plenty of options right in Mexico.
Consider driving across the border and find a hotel near your dental office with secure parking. Check-in, park your car then walk to the appointment or take an Uber. Schedule a ride back to the hotel as well. Take the day to rest and recover and drive back across when you are ready the next day.
Driving a short distance in Mexico is easy and the only extra thing you’ll need is a daily Mexican car insurance policy.
Dental Implants in Mexico
Anything done in the US or Canada can also be done in Mexico. That means expensive implant procedures can save thousands of dollars per visit. The cost savings make sense if you have a great dentist in Mexico. You can get veneers in Tijuana or a root canal in Los Algodones. Anything is possible with the prolific dental tourism in Mexico..