My dentist adventure
I recently went on an adventure down to the Mexican border with my hubby where I had to cross ALONE to get a root canal! Was it worth the drive, the time away from home, the venture into unfamiliar territory? YES! 100 times yes. BUT only if you know certain things before hand.
I didn’t know beforehand that it would be worth it. I did tons of research and decided the risk was worth the amount of money we’d save. Now after experiencing it, I have a little wisdom to pass on to any who could use it 😉
Here are the main points of concern that most have when traveling over the border, and in finding a reputable dentist. I’ve also including a video of clips I took on the border crossing, the hotel and updates along the way for those more visual and audible folks out there.
1-WHY MEXICO? Well I don’t think it’s a secret that insurance in the United States is a little screwed up right now. There are many things i love about this country, there are so many incredible and wonderful things about it…unfortunately insurance is NOT one of them 🙁
2- COST: Prices vary on the location of the tooth in your mouth. I had a molar. My cost based on that are here; Everything was in pesos, but converted to USD
Root canal treatment-$204 | Crown-$180 | Post-$90
3-FINDING A DENTIST: After being over there I can say that would not just recommend any dentist. Get referrals from people you know, or choose a place with lots of reviews, preferable reviews from people in the states. And be sure that they are legit reviews not just a 5 star and no description, or super vague 5 star and “good dentist” get a place that has at least one detail of the office. I went to Border Dental CenterL I can’t say enough good things about them. They were fantastic. They have lots of reviews from Americans. The receptionists speak English (another thing I would look for if you are not fluent in Spanish), the reviews had pictures, and they had a free shuttle service, and they do take some American insurance. I don’t know a whole lot about this, because I just payed out of pocket not wanting to worry about the hassel. This office was located in Nuevo Laredo (near the Texas side of the Mexican border) so if that’s too far for you, there are some other dentists I found while searching that had shuttle services, like DayoDental in Los Algodones, and a site that helps you search Mexico dentists called Dental Departures.
4-SAFETY: Now it definitely doesn’t feel like you’re in the states. I read a lot that there are men with machine guns at the border and that it feels like a war zone. I wouldn’t say it felt like a war zone, yes there were men with machine guns checking vehicles as they crossed through, I didn’t feel unsafe, although I was cautious and made sure not to site see but to walk with purpose and not make eye contact.
5-WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING:
- Passport : Definitely the best form of identification. I heard that a drivers license works, but I’ve never put that to the test. Also you can still use an expired passport (in Nuevo Laredo anyway leaving Texas…not sure about other parts).
- Exact change to get back over the border to the US. There will be little walk through booths that take coins, there is one that takes quarters, and the rest take pesos. It is $.25 to cross back to the US, and $1.00 to go from US to Mexico (if you walk). If you take the shuttle it’s free to get into Mexico.
6-WHERE TO STAY: We stayed at the La Posada hotel on the Texas side of the border. It was the perfect location, literally around the corner from the bridge where you come back from Mexico. (Bridge #1 if you want to see it on a map) It was a AAA 4 Diamond hotel, but prices were similar to any other nice clean hotel because it’s so close to the border, and the food was incredible. It’s also directly across the street from the San Agustin plaza where the dentist shuttle picks you up.
7-HOW DOES THE SHUTTLE WORK?: The dentist has a shuttle driver. He drives an SUV. You call the office 30 minutes before your appt and he comes to get you. The first time the receptionist will ask for a description of yourself so their driver knows who to look for. Then you wait at the San Agustin plaza. He drives you over the border (bridge 2) directly to the dentist office. Since he has some sort of special pass (i’m assuming because he’s working for a business) we don’t have to pay. The first time we didn’t stop at all, the second day we were stopped briefly by an officer who just looked in the back windows to make sure we weren’t smuggling anything and that was it. Then when your appointment is over he drives you from the office to bride 1, where you pay a quarter and walk across. It’s about a 200 yard bridge, with it’s own canopy sidewalk, so you’re not in the open with all the cars crossing. The driver’s name is Juan. He’s super sweet. Spoke very, very little english, but we used google translate, or he was fine just not talking…I just like to make small conversation 😀
8-CLEANLINESS: The office and equipment was very clean, and honestly I didn’t feel like I was in another country. Obviously there were some aesthetic differences. There were no fluff and buff cosy office features like many offices in the states are, ie carpet, pictures, plants, leather sofas and throw pillows. But that’s ok. The dentists were confident in their work, very warm and friendly, would make an effort to always make sure I was ok and would do their best to describe everything that they were doing despite not speaking English very well.
9-HOW LONG: The root canal process is different for every dentist office, I found typically (including in the states) it’s a process over a span of 3-6 appointments. (I did find a pattern of the states requiring more appointments because they require a full appointment consultation, to take x-rays etc (which is even more $$$) Border Dental typically is a span of 3 appointments. (They also took a before and after x-ray of the tooth with no extra charge. Simply taking the after x-ray so he could visually explain everything that he did–so thoughtful ).
- First is the actual root canal treatment approx 90 minutes. Here they put a temporary filling in.
- Second The next day in my case, they put in the filler post, fit you for a crown if you’re not too swollen (in my case I was good to go) put on a temporary crown approx 2 hours.
- Third After a few days when the permanent crown is finished I go back to get it put on. I can’t go back down there for a few weeks though, but that’s all good, because the temporary crown is good for up to a month. Not sure how long it takes yet.
10-WHAT IF I DON’T SPEAK SPANISH?: I speak Portuguese so I understand Spanish fairly well and speak a little. (Very little!) So that made a more comfortable, but to be honest you would be fine even not knowing any. A few of the receptionists speak English perfectly, the dentists speak a little (they bring in an English speaker to explain what their going to do and to take any questions you have. But for the most part we communicated just fine, and there’s google translate lol. I used that a lot.
Juan the driver
Hope this was helpful my dears! Please leave any questions in the comments 😀0