Tom, a 65-year-old retiree, reads a magazine in the waiting room of Dr. Perez’s office. This is his second trip down to Mexico to finish the dental work he needs. The initial treatments have all gone well, and Tom is really happy with the work so far.
The office is simple, not as elaborate as the dental offices he’s been to in the US, but the office is clean and the treatment rooms very professional. The staff is friendly and speaks English, and his experience in the dental chair is not unlike a typical visit to dentists in the US, except he’s in Puerto Palomas, Mexico, just south of Columbus, New Mexico.
What could make Tom travel multiple times to Palomas for dental services?
“My American dentist quoted me close to $20,000 for treatment. Down here it cost me only $2,000,” he says. “I was putting off treatment as long as I could because of the cost, and I just couldn’t put it off any longer. Soon it was going to compromise my health, not just my teeth.”
People had mentioned getting dental services in Mexico and that they had saved as much as 80% on dental work, but Tom was nervous about it. How is the quality of the work? Is it safe to go to Mexico for dental work? Why is it so inexpensive to have the same dental care done in Mexico?
But Tom has found what thousands of other Americans have found—good, quality care at tremendous savings.
In fact, a recent survey by Families USA, a Washington-based health advocacy group, showed that 90% of people getting dental services in Mexico found their treatment to be good or excellent. That matches surveys taken about dental satisfaction in the US. “I had six crowns and multiple fillings that needed to be taken care of. It took a few trips down here but with the money I saved, it was well worth my time,” says Tom.
The huge savings on dental care in Mexico is no reflection on the quality of service. A number of factors contribute to the reduced cost.
Because of the support of the Mexican government, dental education in a public dental institution is free or subsidized. In return, the graduating dentist provides a year of free dental community service. By contrast, US dentists leave school with $150,000 or more in loans to repay.
Dentists in Mexico are not required to have mandatory malpractice insurance, which is very expensive, and the society as a whole is not litigious in the way the US is. In addition, both labor and real estate, including rent, are much less expensive in Mexico.
The government also monitors and restricts excessive profits on medications and pharmaceutical products used in dentistry. And finally, the cost of living for dentists and their staff is considerably less expensive in Mexico.
So even though the savings are significant, there is no compromise on quality.
Dr. Perez is proud of his office, and the quality of equipment and procedures his office uses. Tom was given a full tour of the office where he met two other staff dentists, and then saw Dr. Perez’s lab where a full bridge was being fabricated.
He saw how every hand tool was packaged separately in its own plastic cover prior to use, and the autoclave Dr. Perez uses to sterilize all equipment. As a patient left the treatment room, he could see two technicians with cleaning supplies cleaning every surface used in the treatment.
Every year tens of thousands of people just like Tom, travel across the border to Mexico to save money on high-cost dental procedures.
In towns like Palomas Mexico, clinics are very accustomed to treating American patients, like Elizabeth, a 40-year old woman from Louisiana. When her dentist warned her about putting off dental care any longer, she was faced with a treatment plan that cost over $6000. When she priced the exact same work in Palomas, Mexico, a simple town of 5000 people just across the US border, the price for the same work was $1590.
Cost Saving Examples
Paul A. is an engineer from North Carolina. At age 65, he was fit and healthy, except that many of his crowns were breaking down. The badnews? A $22,000 proposal from his US dentist to correct the problems. Paul checked with a recommended dental clinic in Palomas and the quote was $2290, as savings of almost $20,000.
Tom explains how he found a clinic he could trust in Palomas. Like Elizabeth and Paul, he sent his dental treatment plan to Beyond Borders, a cross-border dental referral company. The company offers referral programs and transportation to bring people right to the clinics in Palomas, and makes sure that everything is taken care of for clients having their first experience getting dental care in Mexico.
Beyond Borders is a company whose principals knew firsthand about the savings that could be realized in Palomas, because they had been there themselves. President Terri Heeter says, “After saving over $6000 on four crowns, I knew I had to let as many people as possible know about the option to get safe, quality dental care in Palomas.”
I decided to use my 20 years of experience owning my own tour company to start a dental concierge service.” The company now makes several trips a week to Palomas from its service centers in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
After many visits and thorough exploration of the dental clinics in Palomas, they chose several high quality dental clinics to join the program. CEO Ralph Grosswald, who also has had dental services in Palomas, emphasized the company’s commitment to spreading the word. “Now we can get people to Palomas to great clinics with experienced dentists, and that is really fulfilling for us. No one should have to put off needed dental care because of the cost.”
Tom would agree. “I would never have been able to have my dental work done if I hadn’t discovered the clinics in Mexico. I would tell anyone needing dental work to find out about cross-border dental care, and get the dental work they need in Palomas.”