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Although Agua Prieta isn’t a tourist destination in the same sense as some other well-known Mexican locations, it has always been popular for Americans to visit as a shopping destination. More recently, US and Canadian visitors have been coming here for dental treatment, attracted by its convenient location and affordable prices.
Agua Prieta is placed just across from Douglas, Arizona in the United States on the US-Mexico border. Originally settled by Chiricahua Apache Indians it was founded toward the end of the 19th century when workers from the nearby mining companies moved in. With a population of around 80,000 it is one of the largest communities in Sonora, but nowadays the principle economic activities are manufacturing, commerce and agriculture.
As one of the two border crossings from Arizona to the Rio Sonora region Agua Prieta is the gateway to a myriad of changing scenery. The Rio Sonora route winds its way through old Mexican towns, colonial architecture, scenic landscapes and other attractions, offering a fascinating glimpse of old Mexico. For dental patients wanting to explore the countryside after their treatment, Agua Prieta is a great place to start.
Agua Prieta is in the state of Sonora, northwest Mexico. The nearest international airport is at Tucson, Arizona, a little over 100 miles away. Major interstates and highways, including the I-10, US-191 and the AZ-80 make it an easily accessible and scenic road trip for patients wishing to drive.
Modern dental clinics in Mexico are far removed from the image of ill-qualified dentists working in unhygienic backstreet clinics with out-dated equipment. In fact, the growth of medical and dental tourism throughout Mexico has seen an increase in modern, state-of-the-art facilities, equipped with the latest in technology and dentists who are as knowledgeable in their areas of expertise as any of their counterparts over the border.
The dentists we work with in Agua Prieta are no exception, being highly skilled and well-qualified – and a quick check on our website will confirm Agua Prieta dentists who are members, amongst other things, of the American Dental Association, the American Prosthodontics Society and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.
Just because dental patients are looking for cheaper prices than they get at home, they do not expect a compromise on the quality of their treatment. And nor should they. Thanks to cross-border training, and widespread travel, patients are able to get high-standards of dental care in Agua Prieta for a fraction of the prices they pay at home:
- Average cost of a single dental crown in the US $1,200; At a dentist in Agua Prieta $250
- Average cost of root canal, post and crown in the US $2,200; At a dentist in Agua Prieta $500
- Average cost of dental implant and crown in the US $3,900; At a dentist in Agua Prieta $1,100
(Image by: Artotem)
There are a variety of accommodation options in town, including very reasonably priced hotels for less than $50 a night. Further accommodation choices are available in Douglas, on the US side of the border. From here you can drive or walk over the crossing where you can get a taxi to your dentist’s office or catch the free shuttle which some of our clinics provide.
The gap between the reality and the perception of Mexico in relation to crime has been closing as visitor numbers for Mexico in 2012 reached record levels. While it is still the number one foreign destination for US travelers, accounting for 58%, there is a marked increase in visitors from South America and across Europe.
The reality is that while there are isolated pockets of problem areas affected by drug-related violence in Mexico there are still vast swathes of this enormous country that are no less safe to visit than anywhere else in the world.
The border towns have had a particularly bad press, but the US travel advisory has issued no warnings for Agua Prieta or plenty of the other border towns. While this means that travellers to these areas are generally safe you should still exercise common-sense precautions, as you should do in any unfamiliar environment, to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable visit. For example, try to stick to the main roads; do not drive at night; be careful with your alcohol intake, etc.
Providing you choose a good dentist then yes, the quality of your care will be just as good as you would receive at home. We must emphasise that it is important you find a qualified and trustworthy dentist as, unfortunately, there are good and bad dentists wherever you go in the world. Doing your research is the most important part of the process – and often the most difficult.
At Dental Departures we have streamlined this process, having already pre-checked and vetted our dentists, visited the clinics and generally made certain for ourselves that standards are high. We consistently monitor feedback from our patients - and you can see their real reviews for yourself on our website – and pride ourselves on delivering an honest and reliable service that our patients can trust.
Our clinics offer a high-quality service, delivered with the best tools-of-the-trade and high-grade materials, ensuring you will have a good experience, hopefully surpassing your expectations.
All of our clinics provide guarantees and warranties on the work your dentist carries out AND on any lab materials. You will have to check each clinic’s particular details but some offer long warranties of 5 years and over, which is way above and beyond what your dentist at home would usually offer.
Although you are assured of receiving treatment from a quality-checked dentist, very occasionally things may go awry as no-one can guarantee 100% the outcome of dental and medical procedures. In these circumstances we will be on hand to help and would urge you to contact us in the first instance so that we can get the ball rolling and get your problem resolved as speedily as possible.
Our dental clinics have dentists and staff who speak both English and Spanish, so you will have no communication problems. While knowing the odd foreign phrase always goes down well when visiting a foreign country it is not necessary to get by in Agua Prieta. Many US residents visit regularly for shopping and so English is widely spoken and understood throughout the town.
Most dental offices prefer US cash. However, many also accept debit/credit cards, personal and travellers checks, but you will need to check with your preferred dental office. Please note that some credit card transactions may be subject to a handling fee of 3-4%.
It is unlikely that your dentist in Agua Prieta will be able to bill your insurance company directly. However, your insurance company may reimburse you for your treatment costs when you have returned home. You will have to check with your insurance company before you book an appointment if you are eligible for out-of-network costs and if you are make sure to get the appropriate forms and documentation before you travel. Your dentist will provide assistance on how to fill in the forms after your treatment.
The northern region of the state of Sonora is a desert environment featuring high plains and rustic scenery. As you would expect the climate is dry and very hot throughout summer and the early autumn months. During the rest of the year it is temperate with weather similar to its US neighbour, Arizona.
The border crossing at Douglas-Agua Prieta is open 24 hours a day, but there are a lot of people who use it and so it gets busy at peak times. Also during holiday times and festivals it gets busier so you will be just as well to check before you leave. If you are driving we recommend you have plenty of bottled water, in case of delays.
Our dentists are open all year round and so you may visit at any time of the year that suits you.
Throughout Mexico handicapped accessibility is a rather hit and miss affair. While a lot of hotels are wheelchair-friendly getting around outside the hotels may not be so easy. Many sidewalks lack wheelchair accessible ramps and can be steep – if there are sidewalks at all. Some bars and restaurants may seem to be wheelchair friendly, until you want to use the rest room – and you find steps or a doorway too narrow to fit a wheelchair through. If you have someone with you it should be easier to manage.
A lot of our dental clinics are wheelchair-friendly and many provide pick-up or shuttle services from the border or your hotel. Let us know and we will do our best to get you along to see one of our dentists.
Agua Prieta is not a resort town, although it is a popular. As it is a manufacturing town there are a few factories drawing in workers from all over Mexico. Along with shoppers coming over from the US it can get very busy, which means the border crossing wait times to get back over to the US side can be a couple of hours.
Dental patients should be aware that gas sedation (nitrous oxide) is not offered as standard in Mexico, like it is in the US and Canada. For any patients requiring this it is offered as a specialist service by some clinics, but will need to be booked in advance by arrangement either with Dental Departures or your dental clinic. An anesthetist will need to be arranged to administer the sedation and this usually incurs an additional charge of around $400-$600. Obviously local anesthetic is available and offered as standard. For patients who require anxiety medication, such as Valium, you will need to pre-book this in advance too.
Agua Prieta is generally a safe town to visit, but just as you would be cautious at night in any unfamiliar town the same applies here.
The Sonora desert landscape, historical landmarks, friendly people and warm sunshine all year round offer snowbirds traveling south to escape the weather a good reason to visit.
The town is rich in native American history and was the location of a famous battle in the early 1900s between Pancho Villa and the Mexican authorities.
Nowadays it is famed for its shopping. Its craftsmen are skilled in leather goods such as saddles and boots – with many horse and cattlemen coming here for their high quality goods. Mexican pottery, jewelry and blankets are also handcrafted here and are big draws.
Outdoor activities including bird-watching, hiking, 4-wheeling, or just relaxing by your hotel pool offer plenty of options as does driving through miles of desert landscapes filled with saguaro cactus. For road-trips the Rio Sonora route down to Hermosillo and the Pan American Highway offer drives through stunning landscapes and historic towns and villages, with the nearby Fort Huachucha and the Old Buffalo Soldiers trail attracting thousands of visitors every year.
Take the I-10 and turn off on the AZ-80 or the US-191.
Alternatively, type in the address of the border crossing in Google Maps or Map Quest to get directions:
2836 E Highway 80
Your US insurance will not cover you for driving in Mexico and at least 3rd party insurance is now a requirement for driving in Mexico. You can arrange this online from as little as $10 a day.
The nearest international airport is Tuscson, Arizona, at 115 miles away. It is around a 2 hour drive on the I-10 and the AZ-80 or US-191 from there.
- Tuscson International Airport, Arizona, US 115 miles, 2 hours
- Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport, Arizona, US 230 miles, 4 hours
- Hermosillo, Mexico, 235 miles, 4 hours
- Magdalena, Mexico 117 miles, 2 hours
- Santa Ana, Mexico 130 miles, 2.5 hours
- Puerto Penasco, Mexico 330, 6 hours
Book an appointment with Dental Departures online for your Agua Prieta dentist. Compare our prices, read real patient reviews, view clinic photos and discover our exclusive discounts. You can also phone our free phone number, send us an e-mail or talk to us via our online chat. We're always happy to hear from you - so get in touch and get your dental problems sorted today.
(Main Image by: Joe Parks)