Dental Tourism is a relatively new phrase coined to identify the rise in individuals leaving their own community to travel elsewhere to receive dental services. This industry has grown a lot in Mexico as US citizens have flocked to Mexico seeking dental help. The US vs. Mexico sounds like a rematch of a soccer (fútbol) game from a couple of years ago. But today we are talking about something more than a competition of athleticism on an open field between two team vying to be victorious and prove who’s the best. No, we are talking about dentistry, that age old profession that has evolved from the rudimentary procedures of 7000 BC to the more complex procedures of providing implants of today; and with this discussion of dentistry we are going to evaluate the dental services of the United States of America to its neighbor to the south, Mexico. Is there really a difference or is the service you get there the same as here, just cheaper?
Well, first things first; Why would anybody choose to go to Mexico to receive dental services? The answer is quite simple, cost. The cost of dentistry in Mexico is dramatically different compared to costs in the United States. We are talking 66% in most cases if not more. A procedure that you might pay $1400 for here will cost you about $265 there. I bet you are now thinking to yourself that that should be a no-brainer, why wouldn’t everyone go to Mexico for dental work? While cost is a deciding factor for many people, there are other things to take into consideration as well.
The US State Department recently upgraded its travel advisory status for Mexico identifying five Mexican states as “Do not travel to”, due to crime. The rest of the states in Mexico are either lower levels of “do not travel”, “exercise extreme caution” or “reconsider travel”. Border states are on the “do not travel” list therefore you would have to go deeper into Mexico to find a state that is at least “reconsider travel” or “exercise extreme caution”, this means you either drive through the heart of crime country or you fly over it. Guess what if you choose the later, you just wiped out your savings in going to Mexico. So while deciding cost you need to look at the all the costs, not just the cost of dental services, but travel and accommodations if that should be needed.
The next thing that you must consider is the training of the dentist providing the dental services. You know that they went through their 4 years of school and then the one year of civil service and then started practicing dentistry. In most cases they are very proficient at the basic services like cleanings, and other general dental care. When you start getting more advanced, although they provide one stop shops, you can’t always expect them to be proficient. For example, let’s look at implants, since Dream Dental specializes in implants. A dentist in Mexico might see one or two implant cases during their training, and then never see one again until you show up saying that you need an implant. Are you willing to trust someone without experience to do something as important as provide you with an implant? Then since their services are provided at a cost-effective price point, they are known to rush procedures causing complications and failure. If you return home and experience the failure, what will you do then? You would have to deal with the issue until you are able to make it back down to hopefully get it fixed, or to have them tell you that they can’t help you. That is unacceptable in my book.
In closing, although a very viable part of the tourism industry, dental tourism isn’t always what it appears to be on the surface. There are some things more important than cost, like personal safety and quality. I could go on for a while longer on some other reasons why you should not choose Mexico as your destination choice for dental services, but I think that I’ve proven my point with just these two. Always keep in mind that when deciding on where to get your dental implants, consider the experience of the team providing them for you and the care that you will receive. When you do that we hope to see you here at the Dream Dental Implant Center.