Near any US border town, tourists flock to cross into Mexico.
Are these adventurers heading south for a beach vacation? How about some adventure travel through the Baja?
A large percentage of these people are more likely crossing the border for cheaper dental care. And this trend is growing exponentially in recent years. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that US citizens spent $1.8 billion in 2015 on foreign healthcare, and a large portion of this is dental-related care.
Most notable, from our analysis, this is a quadrupling from even just 10 years prior, as the availability and ease of travel into other countries to receive care has never been easier.
As an example, one dentist we spoke with about how they manage patients who ask about dental care in foreign countries. He mentioned that the dentists in Mexico tend to be great, typically trained at good dental schools, but there is still a slight risk that it’s a scam. In other words, he said while he doesn’t officially recommend dental care in foreign countries, he says it is possible to find a reliable service provider.
He did note that the cost savings are obvious. That some procedures that can cost thousands in the United States will be less than $500 in some dental facilities in Mexico. Even with airfare and hotels, patients can save some money through these types of procedures.
Here is what you need to know before considering dental tourism for dental care:
- Check for credentials. Ask your potential dentist in a foreign country what medical school they attended. It would also be a good idea to ask and confirm that they are U.S. board certified. This means they received training from a U.S.-based dental program.
- Contact the dental office directly. If they don’t have someone answering phones who can communicate with you directly, or don’t get back to you in a timely manner if you reach out online, look for a different dental care provider.
- It is helpful to ask about the “worst case scenario.” It never huts to ask the dentist how things are handled if you are not satisfied with your care. Remember that you will have little recourse against their office, especially after you have most likely already paid.
- Cheap doesn’t mean best. Keep in mind that most dental care pricing is pretty standardized. If someone is quite a bit cheaper than the competition, that might be a bad sign.
- Read reviews, and be wary of fake sounding reviews. Check all the major sites that offer reviews on dental care in foreign countries. You’ll want to make sure there seem to be honest reviews across the board.
- If you’re feeling a little unsure about planning a dental vacation, search for a dental tourism company who specializes in this type of trip and care.
Dental care in Mexico and other countries can be a great option for those who can’t afford costly care in the US, but make sure you use the above helpful tips to ensure a safe trip across the border to get your teeth taken care of.