Sunday, January 10, 2016

More About Mexican Dentistry

I choose to write more on this topic because I see there is a lot of interest in it.  Many of the other RV bloggers have also written about their experiences, and I highly recommend reading their input and checking out reviews before making any decisions for yourself about your own situation.

Starting as a teenager, going to the dentist was a regular part of my life. When reviewing my most recent x-rays, the dentist and I noted that I had only one tooth that had not been crowned, had a root canal, or was pulled to make way for a bridge. 

It seems, like everyone in my family, I have lousy teeth. I have always tried to take care of them, brushing regularly, and seeing dentists twice a year and at the first sign of any problems. I sometimes wonder if my brain has been partially fried by all of the x-rays I have had over the years!

I am the youngest in my family, and I two of my siblings have false teeth.  

I feel I have made a firm stand against getting dentures. It has been very expensive, and disappointing when my American made bridges or crowns have failed. A few years ago I spent over $3000 for a three tooth bridge, only to have it break in a couple of years, it had to be replaced with a five tooth bridge (only $5500). The dentist gave me a price break because I was retired. I have to say, this bridge seems  to be OK.  For now.

How much worse can Mexican Dentistry be for me? Will my new crowns hold up over time? Maybe, maybe not, but I am willing to give it a go. 

One of the crowns I just had replaced is on a molar that I have had trouble with for years. It has had a root canal and a crown, but always bothered me just a little. My American dentist checked it several times over the years and wanted to send me to a specialist if it got worse. He felt there was nothing he could do for it. I know it has only been a day since my crowns were put on, but this is the first time in seven years that that tooth has been quiet. I hope it lasts!

We chose Sani Dental in Los Algodones. We have seen both good and bad reviews, and except for the long waits in the waiting room, have been satisfied with their work, cleanliness, and cost. 

While writing this, I thought of another advantage for us as full time RVers. With my dentist in the States, I would have to make an appointment, weeks in advance, unless it was an emergency, get the preliminary work done, make another appointment for when the lab work was complete, sometimes a couple of weeks, and come back for the final work. When you travel the way we do, this just doesn't work. 

I have been able to get cleaning appointments by planning ahead, and a couple of times we had dental emergencies that we only had to wait a week or so to get in for treatment. We have found many small town dentists and doctors have offices in more than one town and it is not easy to get in as a traveler.  In Mexico, although we generally do make an appointment, the system is loose, you will be seen, and getting a crown or bridge only takes three or four days. 

Would I get a knee or hip replacement in Mexico? Probably not.  If my insurance didn't cover it, I would go to Thailand or Dubai.

[From Craig] I looked up Merikay's Zirconia crowns on Wikipedia.  The article said they are a good investment for both appearance and durability.  It finished with this sentence: "Zirconium crowns cost around $200 in India, $450 in Hungary and $550 in Mexico".  Which makes me wonder why they chose those three countries.  It's also an interesting data point for someone who needs most or all of their crowns replaced.


  1. I too have always had dental problems....I don't think I have a tooth that has not been worked on in one form or another and like you I have spent a fortune trying to avoid far it has worked. I had a dentist for 25 years who I loved and trusted....some people are just made to be dentists and he was one...often when I was getting ready for some major work I wished he was a plastic surgeon along with dentistry. Anyway, he finally retired and I knew I was in for a major upheaval and it was. From a new dentist I had a three tooth bridge done that later turned into a four tooth bridge and two root canals and it was never right. So I know where you are coming from. I totally understand your point of what do I have to lose...and if I had enough nerve maybe I would try it. My main concern is not the work itself but the sterilization of equipment...if they don't have the minimum of auto-clave then I could not do it.

    1. I admit I worry a bit about that as well, and the next time I go I will ask to see their sterilization set up. The first time we went I only had a cleaning. I observed my technician wore a mask and gloves and all the touch surfaces had that blue replaceable sticky tape on them. When Craig had laser periodontal work done he was given antibiotics, as was I when they did the post insert for my implant. I saw the implant post bing removed from a sealed bag. I have talked (in the waiting area) to many patients who have gone to Sani Dental many times over the years. Of course these are the people who have not had problems. Those who probably don't go back! Happy to say the "bad" tooth that was crowned is still painless! Hope it stays that way.


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