In This Guide
- Benefits of Traveling to Mexico for Dental Treatment
- Dental Treatments Available in Mexico
- Cost of Dental Implants in Mexico
- How Long Does it Take? How Many Visits are Required?
- What If I Have a Problem with My Dental Work?
- 7 Things to Know About Traveling to Mexico
For those living in the American Southwest, it is not uncommon to take a day trip across the border to Mexico for dental work, including advanced dental implant procedures. People coming from further afield often choose to combine their dental treatment with a Mexican vacation, taking the opportunity to recuperate on the beautiful beaches.
The close proximity of Mexico is definitely an attraction, but Mexico is also a favorite with Americans because most clinics have English-speaking medical staff. It is becoming an increasingly popular choice amongst Americans and Canadian nationals who are willing to travel to Mexico for dental and other medical care.
As the popularity of dental tourism has increased, so has the number of high-quality dental clinics. This is also partly due to the increase in the number of middle-class Mexicans able to afford private health care.
Accredited hospitals and clinics in Mexico are easily comparable with those in the United States, while prices can be drastically cheaper. These clinics employ highly trained dentists who are up-to-date with the latest or most recently approved treatments, as well as dental procedures that are tried and trusted.
Most Mexican dentists have trained in Mexico but will frequently travel to the U.S. for postgraduate or specialty training. Traveling to Mexico can be an inexpensive option, especially during the low season.
Benefits of Traveling to Mexico for Dental Treatment
There are multiple benefits in traveling to Mexico for dental treatment and which include:
- Treatment costs can be up to 70% cheaper which is particularly appealing for people without dental insurance
- Many dental clinics in Mexico will provide prices of treatments and procedures upfront
- There’s the possibility of visiting an interesting and vibrant country and being able to enjoy local attractions and restaurants while recuperating
- These dental clinics often rely heavily on dental tourism and referrals from satisfied customers, and they value their customers by providing a caring, personalized and attentive service
- Treatment is available when you need it, and often dental clinics are prepared to work to your schedule
Dental Treatments Available in Mexico
Although many people will travel to Mexico for dental implants, dental clinics are able to offer a comprehensive range of dental treatments. A combination of treatments is often needed to help restore dental health. The treatments listed below represent just a few of the options available to dental tourists.
Dental implants are an enormously popular option for people missing one or more teeth due to injury, decay or periodontal disease. They consist of a titanium post that is surgically inserted into the jawbone and which is strong enough to hold replacement teeth or even a bridge.
All-on-Four Dental Implants – Teeth in a Day
This is a popular solution for people currently wearing full dentures. Four dental implants are inserted into the jawbone, towards the front of the arch where the bone is thickest and strongest.
Read More: Complete Guide to Dentures
The implants are then used to support a new denture that will clip onto the dental implants so it is held securely in place. This option is particularly useful for replacing lower dentures as these can frequently become loose and ill-fitting after being worn for just a few years.
Another possibility is to use dental implants to support a permanent bridge of teeth that will be screwed in place and which can only be removed by a dentist. Patients typically receive their new teeth within 24 hours of implant surgery, so there is no fear of being left without teeth for an extended period of time.
Read More: All on 4 Dental Implants
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a procedure to remove the damaged nerve of a tooth which is contained in the pulp, right in the central part of the tooth. The pulp can become infected due to trauma or decay, or it can become inflamed and painful if a tooth receives a knock.
This treatment will remove the pulp and the dentist for thoroughly clean and disinfect the empty chamber before permanently filling and sealing it. Often a tooth that has received root canal therapy will be restored with a dental crown.
A bridge can fill in the gap left behind by a missing tooth or teeth in the same area of the mouth. It consists of two crowns that are fitted over the teeth adjacent to the gap. These teeth are called the abutment teeth and the crowns are attached to the replacement teeth that are custom-made to fill in the space left by the missing teeth.
Each of these teeth is called a pontic and a dental bridge can be made from a number of different materials. A bridge can be made from gold that is highly polished, or from a precious metal alloy that is covered up with porcelain.
The highest quality bridges are made from porcelain and do not contain any metal. A dental bridge can be supported by natural teeth, provided they are strong enough, or by dental implants.
Cost of Dental Implants in Mexico
The cost of this treatment may be up to 70% cheaper compared to similar treatments in the United States. Dental clinics are able to offer lower prices thanks to lower labor costs because the overall cost of living is cheaper. Education and training are cheaper and dentists have to pay less insurance, and there is less government intervention.
See our guide on how to save money on dental implants.
Costs You Will Need to Consider Include:
- Flights to Mexico and transportation to and from the clinic. A gallon of gas costs around $2.60, while 1 mile in a taxi costs an average of $0.65.
- Hotels or accommodation. Mexico has a huge range of accommodation available to suit everyone’s budget. You can stay in a budget hotel for as little as $10 a night, while even a five-star hotel could cost less than $100 a night.
- Food and drinks. The average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant is just $4, while a domestic beer will cost just $1. A meal in a mid-range restaurant costs approximately $20. Expect to pay higher prices in tourist resorts.
- Whether you need to take unpaid leave from work.
- Travel insurance
Average Costs of Dental Work in Mexico vs. United States (USD)
|Treatment||Average Cost in Mexico||Average Cost in US|
|Dental Implant (single)||$1200||$4000|
|Bone Graft (per CC)||$400||$1500|
|Dental Bridge (3 unit)||$800||$2000|
These figures will give you a rough idea of the type of savings to be made by traveling across the border, but it is important to realize costs can vary tremendously in both Mexico and the U.S. It can also depend on the type of materials/components used. Some dental clinics in both countries will use generic implant components, whereas others will use parts produced by one of the major implant manufacturers.
How Long Does it Take? How Many Visits to Mexico are Required?
Two appointments are required for dental implant treatment. Your implant will be placed during the first appointment. It must then be left to heal for 3-6 months. A temporary tooth can be provided during the healing period. After healing is complete, the abutment can be attached to the post and your permanent crown is placed and adjusted.
It is becoming increasingly common for dentists in Mexico and in the United States to use what are called “immediate load” dental implants. With this procedure, it’s possible to attach new teeth to the dental implant soon after surgery, without waiting several months for the implant post to heal. Sometimes these teeth are temporary and are designed to let you smile, talk and eat in relative comfort.
These teeth are replaced once the implant has had time to heal. However, the teeth attached to the dental implant will be the permanent teeth, completing the treatment. It all depends on the procedure used to replace your missing teeth.
What If I Have a Problem With My Dental Work?
When choosing your clinic in Mexico, look for one that will offer some form of guarantee or warranty in their contract. This should state that if you have a problem with your implant due to workmanship or materials, the cost of repairing or replacing the work will be covered.
Take the time to read the document thoroughly and to find out the length of the guarantee and whether it will include corrective treatment in your home country. Make sure you understand about any complications or situations that are excluded from this guarantee.
It is important to be aware that most dental clinics in Mexico will not pay for corrective treatment outside the clinic. If something goes wrong with your work, there’s a good chance you will have to return to Mexico to have it corrected under the terms of the guarantee.
7 Things to Know about Traveling to Mexico
1) Don’t Drink the Water
This is a common problem when traveling anywhere in the world, as drinking water in a new location can make you feel ill. In Mexico, make sure you stick to purchasing bottled water with an unbroken seal. Use bottled water to clean your teeth. Avoid ice in beverages as this could well be made from tap water.
2) Best Time to Visit?
Mexico is pleasant at any time of the year, but heat and humidity can vary so it’s worth checking the temperatures in the area you are due to visit. The weather systems in Mexico can be quite diverse, with the north experiencing cooler temperatures during the winter months, while the south, including the Yucatán Peninsula, tends to enjoy fairly constant temperatures right throughout the year. Both Mexican coasts are prone to hurricanes during the summer and fall months.
Peak tourist months tend to be December to February when the weather is slightly cooler. However, local and national holidays and festivals can mean it’s busier at other times of the year and you will need to book ahead for accommodation and for dental appointments.
3) The Cheapest Time to Visit Is from Late Spring to Early Fall
The low season in Mexico is from late spring to early fall, with Christmas and New Year being the most expensive times to visit. Prices tend to stay high during the winter as Mexico is an attractive location for travelers trying to escape the cold weather. After Easter, prices begin to fall. If you intend visiting coastal areas, avoid the hurricane season which runs from June through October.
4) What Payment Methods Are Accepted?
Most dental clinics in Mexico will accept US dollars and many will also accept credit/debit cards, checks, and traveler’s checks. It’s worth checking with your chosen clinic as to their preferred method of pavement, and often credit card payments will be subject to a 3-4% processing fee.
5) Tourist Visas
Nationals from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and the EU do not need tourist visas. However, it’s worth checking on your government’s website before you travel as these rules can change.
When you arrive in Mexico, you will need to fill out a Mexican government tourist card which must be stamped by Mexican immigration before you can enter the country. This allows you to stay for up to 180 days, although sometimes the immigration authorities will alter this to 15 or 30 days.
6) Border Wait Times
Wait times at the border crossings can be long, although some crossings now have dedicated medical tourist lanes helping to reduce these times. However, there is still likely to be a lengthy wait to re-enter the US. It’s worth being prepared for this with plenty of bottled water.
7) Is Mexico Safe to Visit?
Every year, millions of US citizens safely visit Mexico for tourism, business or to study. Approximately 150,000 citizens cross the border every day. The Mexican government has invested heavily in resources to protect people visiting major tourist destinations and there is no evidence of organized criminal groups targeting US visitors or residents based on nationality. Generally, tourist destinations and resorts in Mexico do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime experienced along major trafficking routes or in the border region.
What to Read Next
- Complete Guide to Dental Treatment Abroad
- How to Find a Dentist You Can Trust
- How to Save Money on Dental Implants – Low Cost Options
- Possible Dental Implant Problems & Causes of Failure