Reader Question: I need dental implants to replace several of my teeth. My insurance of course will not pay fr this, and the price quotes that I am getting in the US are insane. Like $20K and up. I have been reading about the possibility of getting my dental work done in Mexico, and maybe making a fishing trip out of it. Can you give me any suggestions?
~Daniel in Idaho
Manny's Answer: Well, I completely understand your desire to try to save money on medical care. We've written several blog posts about this in the past. I personally have never had dental implants done in Mexico, but our family has had several medical procedures done in Mexico, including dental work.
My wife and I have both had many medical services done in Mexico (including dental work for ourselves and our children) and we’ve been happy overall with the service as well as price. For example, our most recent dental emergency was for our youngest son, who experienced a cracked molar. We visited orthodontist who ordered x-rays the same day.
The full-mouth x-ray cost less than $20, and a metal crown cost less than $100. Everything was finished in about a week and cost less than $150. The doctor believed the crack was caused by biting something hard (perhaps a piece of animal bone or a rock in food) and he suggested a metal crown to protect the tooth from further damage and also protect the nerve. Our son didn't feel any actual pain yet, but the tooth was visibly cracked and he was getting sensitive to hot and cold foods, like hot chocolate and ice cream.
The crown was applied and the doctor told us that he would lose the tooth in 3-4 years when his adult molars started to come in. In the meantime, he would be able to eat normally and without pain.
Compare this to the cost of the metal crown in California (which I had to have done several years before moving out of the state) which cost our family over $1,000 USD, all of which had to be paid out of pocket because our insurance did not cover dental work.
Now, we don't ever plan to go back to California for any reason, (much less for obscenely expensive medical care). But I was giving you an example of our own experience with U.S. medical care.
My most recent medical visit was in Guanajuato Mexico, for blood work (my cholesterol is a bit on the high side). The blood testing cost about $36 USD and the prescription for cholesterol medication was less than $10 at the local pharmacy. That was it, the actual consultation with the doctor was only around $10, as well. The full cost of the blood work, prescription, and office visit is less than I would've paid for a single office visit co-pay in the United States.
My personal take is that, if you are planning a trip to Mexico anyway, it's worth it to get an appointment and an estimate for whatever elective surgery (either dental, cosmetic, or otherwise) that you might be considering.
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Just a middle-class dad and mom with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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