What if I told you that you could get a dental implant for $1,500 instead of the going rate in California of $3,500 or more? Would that perk up your ears?
The catch: You have to travel to Mexico to get the great rates.
Going to Mexico for dental work isn’t new. The cost of getting a dental education, paying employees and renting real estate are all much cheaper in Mexico than in California and the rest of the U.S. But in recent years, Mexican dentists have set up shop along the U.S.-Mexico border, creating villages you could call “Implant Island” or “Crown Cove.”
For instance, there’s Los Algodones, just across the border from Yuma, AZ, known to dental tourists as “Molar City.” It’s home to 350 dental practices, plus five dental labs to crank out the crowns, implants and other dental appliances being inserted into the mouths of budget-conscious Americans. Americans literally park their cars along the border and cross into Mexico by walking through a chain link tunnel. You can check it out in this article from Business Insider.
While the rates for dental work are much lower, there are other considerations, starting with the obvious: Will you get care that is as good as in the U.S.? The answer is yes, with the caveat that you need to do your research before making an appointment – just as I hope you do before you make an appointment for medical services in the U.S.
The other consideration is getting there: It’s a 3-hour drive from either San Diego or Phoenix, or you can fly directly into Yuma. If it’s implants you need, that’s normally going to require more than one visit, multiplying the travel costs.
So getting dental work in Mexico isn’t for everyone, though even adding in travel costs, it’s likely to cost you less than the $31,000 estimate one of my clients recently got from a Bay Area dentist for multiple implants. She’s going to bite the bullet and get the work done here, because she’s not able to travel to Mexico for personal reasons. She called to inquire about getting a dental policy that covers implants, and guess what, there really aren’t any, because insurance companies don’t want to pay the five-figure prices either. Even if you can get coverage, it will likely only cover a fraction of the cost, and only through their in-network dentists.
Here are some more resources if you want to learn more:
FAQ about dental implants written by a San Francisco dentist
Article about going to Mexico for dental work, written by a U.S.-based dentist