Mexico’s enduring popularity as a tourist destination has also seen a surge in the number of dental tourists arriving here. Taking advantage of affordable prices, quality care and amazing locations Mexico offers its visitors everything from tranquil mountains, historical archaeological sites, pretty old-world villages, modern cities and, of course, its stunning coastlines with breathtaking beaches and abundant marine life.
Historically, Mexico has a rich cultural heritage. Advanced ancient civilizations such as the Maya and the Aztec were here long before the first Europeans from Spain arrived in the 16th Century. Spain’s colonization lasted some 300 years before Mexico was granted independence in 1821. Following independence political and economic instability led to the Mexican Revolution in 1910, and the emergence of the existing political system in the 1917 Constitution.
Throughout the 20th century tourism has become one of Mexico’s largest industries. Mexico’s fusion of European and Meso-American cultures, its colonial cities, ancient ruins and beach resorts has enticed visitors to its unique attractions since Acapulco became a fashionable beach destination in the 1920s. The majority of visitors come from North America – a temperate climate, relatively short travel times and cheaper prices increasing Mexico’s attractiveness.
More recently, Mexico has been at the forefront of medical and dental tourism. Historically US nationals, particularly from the southern States, have traveled over the border into Mexico for discounted supplies, particularly pharmaceuticals. This has burgeoned into an industry and it is now commonplace for US and Canadian nationals to travel to Mexico for dental and medical care.
Bordered to the north by the United States of America and to the southeast by Belize and Guatemala it is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
For dental patients, flights throughout North America to Mexico’s popular cities and resorts, as well as the multiple crossing points along the US-Mexican border has made it a convenient and accessible destination.
Although affordability remains one of the main reasons for visiting a dentist in Mexico, many patients are realizing the advantages of traveling to Mexico for their dental work extend beyond this. Whereas in the past patients requiring necessary dental treatment had to find cheaper alternatives to high-cost dental treatments they could not afford to pay, nowadays the reasons are more complex.
While traveling to Mexico for essential treatment is still a valid reason, so too is traveling for cosmetic dentistry, traveling for better quality materials and traveling to enjoy a vacation.
Mexico has embraced dental tourism which has seen competition among dental clinics treating overseas patients increase. This is good news for patients who are now finding modern, state-of-the-art clinics springing up as dentists have upped their game in order to attract patients. Although back-street dentists still exist, the majority of dental clinics whose clientele are largely overseas patients provide superior quality services on a par with anything offered over the border in North America.
Patients, while still wanting cheaper dental costs, are now concerned with receiving good-quality care from an established clinic with expertly trained dentists. This information is not always easy to come by, which is why Dental Departures verification procedures is a major step forward in this research process.
A bonus from all of this is receiving expert dental care in some of the must-see tourist destinations in the world, still for less money than the cost of the procedure alone would cost at home:
- Average cost of a single dental crown in the US $1150; At a dentist in Mexico $300
- Average cost for root canal, build-up and crown in the US $2,094; At a dentist in Mexico $500
- Average cost of dental implant and permanent crown in Mexico $3,700; At a dentist in Mexico $1,500
(Image by: Kyle Simourd)
Depending on where and when you go Mexico has a variety of different types of accommodation suiting all budgets and tastes. Budget accommodation can be as little as $10 a night, with even 5* hotels at modest prices of less than $100 a night. By booking through Dental Departures you may be able to get free or discounted hotel rates, dependent upon the type or amount of dental treatment you have, as some of our clinics have deals with local hotels.
In the vast majority of tourist destinations, yes. Constant news reports, particularly in the US, give the impression that the drugs war has rendered most of Mexico unsafe. In fact, out of 2,500 municipalities (counties) fewer than 5% have been affected by the drugs war, and the US advisory has stated that, apart from Acapulco, all Mexico’s major tourist destination are safe. Most border towns are generally safe providing you don’t go looking for trouble, particularly at night. Thousands of dental patients travel to the border towns every year and experience no problems, and some towns, such as Algodones have reported no trouble at all.
At Dental Departures we can’t stress enough the importance of finding a reputable clinic to ensure your treatment will be as good as it is at home. Our checks ensure that our clinics meet high standards across the board, taking into account dentist qualifications and safety measures regarding hygiene and equipment in the clinics.
Many of our dentists are members of the American Dental Association which means they are subject to the same guidelines and codes of conduct that their American counterparts are.
Hygiene is a basic safety standard in any dental procedure, and while there is no single international body governing this, you will find a number of our clinics accredited to international schemes such as the Joint Commission Interntional (JCI).
Many myths surrounding dental treatment abroad are just that – with many clinics embracing new technologies and using top-notch materials that dentists at home use.
All of our dentists in Mexico provide guarantees or warranties for the work they carry out, as well as for any lab work. The overwhelming majority of our patients have an excellent and carefree experience, but very occasionally there may be a problem. Less than 0.01% of our patients who have booked an appointment through Dental Departures encounter any difficulties, but on these rare occurrences we see to it that any problem is put right.
(Image by: Graeme Churchard)
The majority of our dentists speak English very well as they are used to treating English-speaking patients, and many have trained in the US.
Although Mexico has the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world you may also hear other indigenous languages such as Nahuatl or Yukatek Maya, depending on what area of the country you are visiting. You may also here other languages spoken by immigrant populations established throughout the country, such as Mandarin, in Mexicali’s Chinese neighborhood.
Most dental clinics in Mexico accept US cash, with many also accepting personal checks, traveler’s checks and credit/debit cards. Check with each clinic as to their preferred methods of payment, noting that credit card payments are usually subject to a small processing fee of 3-4%.
Mexico can be visited at any time of the year. Weather systems vary depending on where you go, and it is a matter of personal preference as to how much heat or humidity you are comfortable with.
The country has one of the most diverse weather systems – the north experiencing cooler temperatures during the winter, and the south, including the Yucatan Peninsula, remaining fairly constant throughout the year. Both Mexican coasts are susceptible to hurricanes in the summer and fall.
The north, especially the border towns and Baja California are fairly dry thoughout most of the year, experiencing little rainfall. In the tropical areas toward the south there is more rainfall, with islands such as Cozumel experiencing high humidity due to the surrounding waters.
Peak tourist times tend to be December to February, as this is when the weather is generally slightly cooler. However, depending on where you go, both local and national festivals or holidays may mean it is busier and you would be well advised to book ahead for accommodation and dental appointments.
Generally it is not the easiest of places to get around in a wheelchair. While hotels in modern resorts are wheelchair-friendly with lifts or ramps once outside the confines of resorts the sidewalks may not be well-maintained.
Getting around in a taxi avoids this but be aware that in restaurants or bars you may encounter difficulties getting through narrow doorways to use, for example, the rest-rooms.
Many of our dentists do provide wheelchair accessible facilities and will arrange transport to and from your hotel to your appointment. Please contact us for further information and we will make sure we will get you to see one of our dentists.
If you are traveling to one of our dental clinics in the border towns you may experience long waits at some of the border crossings. While some have now initiated dedicated medical tourist lanes, reducing waits to around 20 minutes to get back into theUS, there is still a wait on the US side to clear customs. We would advise travelers to make sure they have plenty of bottled water with them to drink.
Of course no-one can predict weather conditions, but the weather varies depending on which area you visit, and so it is best to check the weather for your preferred destination will suit you during your visit.
Local anesthetic pain relief is standard and gas sedation (nitrous oxide) is not. If you require gas sedation it can be arranged in advance with some dental clinics, but as it requires the services of a licensed anesthesiologist an additional cost of $400-$600 will be incurred. Contact us if you think you will require this service, or if you need anxiety medication such as Valium, which will also have to be requested in advance of your appointment.
Mexico is one of 18 megadiverse countries of the world containing 10-12% of the world’s biodiversity. Sixty-seven national parks and a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites ensure Mexico is not just about beach resorts and tequila.
For dental patients wanting to experience a little more there are countless options to ensure you have the ideal vacation. From Puerto Vallarta’s lively art scene to Cancun’s enviable position for exploring the Yucatan Peninsula and Riviera Maya, and from Algodones’ border town ambience to Cabo’s nightlife to Mexicali’s modern city facilities Mexico’s personality is as diverse as its ecosystems.
Colonial towns such as Peubla, near Mexico City, or mountain villages such as Todos Santos near Cabo are lovely to stroll around in and sample international cuisine in first-rate restaurants. Mexico City has more than 150 museums and art galleries to lose yourself in for hours and for the energetic there is diving, snorkeling and other water-based activities in Mexico’s coastal resorts, world-class golf courses throughout the country and high-adrenaline activities including zip-wires and abseiling, amongst others.
Visitors can fly Mexico's major cities and tourist resorts including Cancun and Puerto Vallarta non-stop from around the globe.
For dental patients who are visiting the border towns there are a number of points of entry along the US border to get into Tijuana, Algodones and Mexicali where you can either drive through, or park and walk. There are usually plenty of taxis to take you to your destination once through into the Mexico side.
If you drive over the border please note your car insurance s not valid in Mexico and you will need to arrange separate cover. This is easy to do online and relatively cheap at around $10 a day. Alternatively you can park on the US side and walk over.
Nationals of the United States, Canada, the EU, Australia and New Zealandare among those who do not need visas to enter Mexico as tourists, although as the rules sometimes change it is wise to confirm on your government’s website before you go.
Every tourist must have a Mexican government tourist card which must be filled out and stamped by Mexican immigration before you enter the country. It allows tourists to stay up to 180 days but sometimes immigration will alter this to 15 or 30 days, unless you tell them you need longer.
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(Main image by: Russ Bowling)