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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LOS ALGODONES DENTISTS - Popular Dental Tourism Destination for Arizona Daytrippers by NPR




Los Algodones Mexico Dental Tourism by National Public Radio

Mexico's 2010 census counted fewer than 5,500 residents in Los Algodones, but more than 350 dentists ply their trade here, serving mostly Arizona patients seeking affordable procedures.

Sitting in a dentist's chair is hardly rates as a dental vacation. But every year, tens of thousands of people go to a tiny border town south of Yuma, Ariz., that has proclaimed itself the dental capital of Mexico.

Los Algodones is a virtual dental factory. Some 350 dentists work within a few blocks of downtown Algodones. Most patients come for major work.

"Oh boy, I had 22 crowns done, four root canals," says Brian Quade. He is still numb from the Novocain. His mouth is bloody. "Nine hours straight yesterday and then today they did a deep-cleaning scaling and tomorrow they're installing all the crowns."

What could possibly make those three, jaw-dropping days so appealing?

"It's $50,000 back home in the US and about $5,000 down here," he says.

It's inexpensive; it averages two-thirds less than in the U.S. And it's quick. There are so many dental labs in town, it only takes a day or two to make a crown, a bridge, even dentures.

A long line of patients sit in the hallway of the Sani Dental Group clinic opposite a long line of exam rooms. Miguel Ibarreche — known to patients as Dr. Mike — runs the clinic's diagnostic department. He looks in patient's mouths, tells them what they need to have done and how much it will cost. The most common procedures patients get done here are implants and crowns, Ibarreche says.

He says dentistry is cheap here for some obvious reasons — inexpensive labor and real estate. He also says dentists in Mexico don't need to charge as much because they don't graduate with a lot of student debt. The government subsidizes many dentists' education.

"When we go out of school we have to pay the government, but we do it by one year of free service in a government clinic and that's it," Ibarreche says.

There's also no high-priced mandatory malpractice insurance as there is in the U.S.

Edmund Hewlett, a spokesman for the American Dental Association and a professor at UCLA, says Mexico has good dentists. But he warns potential patients to make sure they're getting a good one. 

"A good Los Algodones dentist is any Board Certified Los Algodones dentist that has had several years of advanced specialist training for dental implants, crowns, veneers,  root canals, oral surgery, oral restorations etc."   -ed

"My best advice is to plan very carefully ... and know what you are signing up for. What are the standards that are in place, say for regulation of the dentists in that country. What sort of safety guidelines are in place in the offices?" he says.

There are still some hawkers in the street as you enter Los Algodones who try to lure patients in, but not like decades ago when dentists began marketing to U.S. and Canadian patients. These days there are companies online that arrange trips.

That's how Ron Colvin came to Los Algodones. "Somebody told me about dental tourism and then research on the Internet and more research on the Internet and then more research on the Internet," Colvin says.

Colvin picked his Los Algodones dentist based on hundreds of online reviews. He came from Indiana for dentures. He just had his teeth pulled, and he's happy with how it went.

Most people who travel to Los Algodones need a lot of dental work. That makes the town both a destination for dental tourism — and a reminder to floss and brush so you can avoid the place.

-end

2014 NPR



Photo: Cabo Surf Hotel  -  A Puerto Vallarta,  Cancun,  Guadalajara, Tijuana/San Diego or  Cabo dental vacation  will have roughly the same travel and lodging  expenses as Yuma/Los Algodones if you are flying in from outside Arizona.  
And the vacation part is priceless! 


"What foreign patients do not realize is that unless they are living in nearby Arizona  -  they can fly to Cabo, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta  or even  Tijuana/San Diego  and have a world-class dental vacation with airfares and hotel prices being roughly the same as getting to and staying in Los Algodones. 

Yuma and Los Algodones are not places one wants to write home about or enjoy a vacation in. 

Salud (Health) - the Mexican  health care ministry shut down about 20% of border town dental clinics several years ago. Many were being operated by non-dentists, non-present dentists, illegal unlicensed immigrants from Central America and even Mexican dental school dropouts.

Over 85% of  Los Algodones (and Mexican dentists overall) are only general dentists according to the Mexican Dental Association. 

Always search for a board certified dentist when having important dentistry in Mexico and you will be sure to get superior dentistry for the same price as a much less-skilled general dentist who is learning advanced dentistry by practicing on you!  -ed


Phoenix Editor 
Dental Tourism News


Websites that feature Board Certified Dentists in Los Algodones, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Tijuana and Cancun include:

Board Certified Mexico Dentist Association
About Mexican Dentists.com
Dental Tourism News 


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