Americans Travel Abroad for Dental Work
If you don’t know someone who has sought medical or dental care outside the U.S., you may soon be in the minority. Over 750,000 people have chosen health care outside the U.S., and that number continues to increase at a rate of about 20% a year. Initially, overseas health services were primarily addressing rising medical costs, but dental care abroad is now catching up to medical care.
Several factors are driving this trend:
- There is a lack of satisfactory dental coverage with dental insurance
- The cost of dental services is continuing to rise
- There are now affordable options easily accessed outside the U.S.
Despite growing insurance coverage for medical conditions and prescriptions, dental coverage lags far behind. Outside of company dental treatment plans, most dental insurance has high deductibles and modest coverage — if a procedure is covered at all.
Over $115 billion is spent on dental care annually, and about 45% of that is out-of-pocket expenses. That means Americans are spending over $50 billion a year on dental services.
In addition, dental insurance plans often have a restricted wait period of up to a year before coverage is in effect. If someone considers dental insurance because a dental problem has arisen, it is a long time before any benefit can be used.
Rising Costs for Dental Care
The cost of dental care continues to increase faster than the rate of inflation and faster than wage increases. The combination of flat wage growth and the aging of the U.S. population has complicated the dental care picture, and has left millions of people delaying the dental services they need.
In fact, about 36% of people needing dental care — more than one person in every three — are putting off dental care because of the cost.
Putting off dental services is more of a problem than just enduring a little pain. Delaying needed dental treatment can have serious health consequences. Periodontists (inflammation around the teeth and gums) has been linked to numerous debilitating health conditions, from diabetes and lung disease to osteoporosis, stroke, and heart attacks.
In fact, people with inflammation of the gums are 40% more likely to have a chronic health condition. In the extreme, people who lose their teeth live ten years less on average than those that don’t, according to Charles Mayo, MD.
Affordable Dental Work Options Outside the U.S.
Americans are discovering that affordable, quality dental services are available at clinics in cross-border locations such as Mexico, Costa Rica, and even Thailand. By far the easiest and most cost effective choice for dental work is Mexico since it is closer and less expensive to travel to than most other dental locations outside the U.S.
Studies have reported that the level of satisfaction for dental care in Mexico matches that of the U.S., and with cost savings that can be in the thousands of dollars if extensive work is needed, the expense of travel and lodging is hardly a factor.
Over the last twenty years, Americans have been saving up to 75% on dental services in Mexico. See an example of the tremendous cost savings below:
For instance, in border towns in northern Mexico where Americans have been getting dental work for decades, a crown that might cost from $1000 to $1200 in the U.S. starts around $425. An All-on-4 permanent denture procedure that could cost $24,000 (per arch) in the U.S. costs about $12,000 (per arch) in Mexico.
But to take advantage of the cost savings and still receive good quality dental services, it is important to know where to go and which clinics have a history of satisfied patients. Here is a simple checklist:
- Go to a location known to be safe and accommodating to Americans. We recommend a few border towns in northern Mexico over cities such as Tijuana. Tijuana has more issues with crime and are more difficult to cross the border.
- Make sure the clinic you choose has a good track record of satisfaction, and that the dentists and staff speak English. Also, make sure the dentist is properly credentialed and that he or she displays their license prominently in the office.
- Use a dental referral agency or a dental referral service. These agencies have built their business on evaluating and recommending dental clinics with good reputations and a history of satisfied patients. A reputable dental referral agency should continuously monitor the results of the dental care and are alert to infractions that could impact the licensing of a particular clinic. A dental referral service can actually help you with scheduling, lodging, and transportation, and often has relationships with local dentists that can save you even more money. Most importantly, they are an excellent resource for everything you need to know about getting dental services in Mexico.
Dental Referral Services
If you have any concerns about the logistics of getting dental care in Mexico, a dental referral service can take all of the worry out of getting affordable, quality cross-border dental care. This new category of service goes beyond just referring patients to dental clinics in Mexico, and can help with every part of your experience.
Today, many dental clinics in Mexico have a long history of servicing Americans, and have proven that good dental services at a significant cost savings are available to U.S. citizens. Putting off needed dental care because of the cost? It isn’t necessary anymore, as many Americans have already discovered.
To find out more about how you can get affordable, high-quality dental care in Mexico, call us today at (505) 738-7770 or click this link to send us your inquiry and we’ll get back to you.