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  • Dental tourism? Anybody done it?

    I have dental insurance, but dental insurance really sucks and doesn't really cover anything useful. My partner is on my insurance and would like to get about $15,000 worth of cosmetic dentistry. Meanwhile, I had some crowns done a little more than a year ago for the price of a small car and since then I cannot chew my food or close my mouth properly. I'm hesitant to spend any more money to fix it. It suddenly popped into my head that lots of people travel to get elective surgeries, I wonder if they do it for dentistry. I think we could go to as close as Tijuana for decent dentistry, making this a fairly easy thing to do.

    Has anyone here done any dental tourism? Was your experience good?
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

  • #2
    No experience personally, but I suspect you could find a reputable clinic in Tijuana. Another possible option would be a dental school here.
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    • #3
      I had a root canal and crown done here in Cairo a couple of years ago. Top notch work, no pain. Latest dental appliances and x-ray technology. Cost me about $250, figured it would be closer to a couple of thousand in the US. I work over here so it only cost me a trip to Cairo to get it done.

      If you have major dental work to be done, you could likely get it done here much cheaper, and get a good vacation out of it in the process.

      PM me if you want a phone number of a dentist, I know a bunch of doctors in Cairo and could likely hook you up.
      Randal
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      • #4
        Hubby travels to China frequently for work and has talked about the possibility of getting dental work (the bigger stuff) done over there for mere fractions of what it would cost here. We have minimal dental insurance, and it's not part of Canada's universal health care...

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        • #5
          Rio Dental Prices - Dentists in Mexico

          A friend told me that a friend of his recommended this organization. He and his wife like to combine it with little vacations. I have no personal experience with them, but I'd use it on this recommendation.
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          • #6
            Cool, thank you. The prices are much better. I'm sure the quality is the same or better. I've gotten nothing but bad dentistry in the US even though I've gotten it in La Jolla and Santa Barbara, two hoity-toity rich people places.
            Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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            • #7
              My SIL is a meth addict. All her teeth rotted out. Local dentists said , 'money up front'. Her 'boyfriend' drove her to Tijuana, met with a dentist who had her drink a half a bottle of tequila, gave her some pills, and pulled ALL of her teeth. 3 days later, they drove back to the US.

              Long story short, her mouth became so infected she almost died. Luckily the emergency rooms in the US don't require payment or insurance from drug-addicted, destitute people. They patched her up and after year of seeing her I offered to pay for false teeth. I worked a deal with a US dentist, I paid him--he did the work. Of course this didn't go over too well with SIL as she thought I should just give her the money and she would pay the dentist--she felt degraded, poor thing.

              Anyway--if you go the Tijuana route, buyer beware!

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              • #8
                China, Malaysia, India, etc have good medical hospitals so they probably have good dental surgical also. Here dentists always want to crown a bad tooth first. Crowns have a life of about 20 years, they you have to do it again. I don't let them do that anymore. A good oral surgeon can take out all your bad teeth in an amazingly short time with IV anesthetics and put in implants. After the swelling goes down (a few days) a dentist can make you a temporary plate. Then in 6 months you return and the dentist and his lab have all new teeth (permanent forever) to put on the implants.

                This does involve 2 trips. That's the down side. The up side is it's forever. And the surgeon can rebuild your jaw at the same time if necessary.
                "When the search for truth is confused with political advocacy, the pursuit of knowledge is reduced to the quest for power." - Alston Chase

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                • #9
                  China, Malaysia, India, etc have good medical hospitals so they probably have good dental surgical also. Here dentists always want to crown a bad tooth first. Crowns have a life of about 20 years, they you have to do it again. I don't let them do that anymore. A good oral surgeon can take out all your bad teeth in an amazingly short time with IV anesthetics and put in implants. After the swelling goes down (a few days) a dentist can make you a temporary plate. Then in 6 months you return and the dentist and his lab have all new teeth (permanent forever) to put on the implants.
                  Yeah...my crowns lasted like 5 years.

                  I've looked into doing the extraction/implant (I need 3) in the US and it runs $7500 to $10,000 a tooth. I've places that will do all at once in the $50k-$100k range. How do you get estimates from overseas?

                  Dental work in the US is getting so expensive. I had an extraction like 10 years ago. $125. I got an estimate for an extraction a year ago. $100 for the estimate. Then it was $1200 to pull the tooth with $800 of that sedation. They won't do it without sedation. Back when it was $125 I just got novocaine. Then I had 3 wisdom teeth done with a combo of valium and novocaine.

                  I know dentists need to make a living, but dang. I mean, I'm middle class, not too many money woes and can't afford proper dental treatment. Where do they find customers?

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                  • #10
                    I'm pretty sure I'd make better choices in dentists than a meth addict would.

                    Yeah, the dental thing is a racket. I think they make the most money from cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentists and lasik eye doctors are everywhere.
                    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                      I have dental insurance, but dental insurance really sucks and doesn't really cover anything useful. My partner is on my insurance and would like to get about $15,000 worth of cosmetic dentistry. Meanwhile, I had some crowns done a little more than a year ago for the price of a small car and since then I cannot chew my food or close my mouth properly. I'm hesitant to spend any more money to fix it. It suddenly popped into my head that lots of people travel to get elective surgeries, I wonder if they do it for dentistry. I think we could go to as close as Tijuana for decent dentistry, making this a fairly easy thing to do.

                      Has anyone here done any dental tourism? Was your experience good?
                      What interests you?

                      I can tell you all the information, because it's my day job. I have information for all countries, Mexico, Turkey, Croatia, etc.

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                      • #12
                        My mother in-law had a great experience with dental tourism to Mexico. She visited a dentist in Cancun Mexico. With just 3 crowns and 1 root canal she saved enough to pay for her entire holiday and still had money left over compared to the cost in Edmonton (Canada). She used a dental referral service that helps Canadians find good, reliable dentists in Mexico. She was very happy as they don't charge for the service.

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                        • #13
                          Thailand is good for medical tourism including dental, and is popular with Australians for cosmetic surgery. I had lasik eye surgery at the international hospital Bumrungrad.

                          I gather from tripadvisor forums that major dental work is probably a third (if that) of the cost of having it done in Australia. My lasik was less than a third of the cost. I had a three week holiday as well and even with airfares and accommodation on top of the surgery cost it was still cheaper than having lasik done in Australia. Four years on...eyes still going great.
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                          • #14
                            hey SBhikes - did you & boyfriend do this? FWIW, my friend lives in Jamaica and raves about the dental services there. So much that when she has visitors, she gets them cleaning appts. as a gift - hilarious, right? But she says its a big destination for vacationing professionals from around the world and they organize retreats and seminars to coincide with these trips--and perform these w/ newest equipment/techniques. They use the sonic descaler (instead of the lovely scraping method) and while I pay an arm and a leg to get that done here, I think it was around $50 USD there.

                            She also has a retreat at her home, in the hills outside Ocho Rios

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                            • #15
                              Here in Canada, dental tourism is what they call going to Mexico to see the dentist (although I suppose a person could go to Jamaica or other places too). My mother-in-law was concerned about whether a dentist in Mexico would be regulated and have good qualifications like they do in Canada. That's why she went through a dental tourism company. I think they're based in Edmonton. I'll see if I can find out the name. Apparently they really made it easy and put her mind at ease.

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