Art and Connie's 2008-2011 Adventures travel blog

In my previous blog, I mentioned that the border town of Algodones, Mexico is known for its inexpensive prescription drug prices, optical services and, of course, its dentists. Both of us needed to have our teeth cleaned so we decided to cross the border and have the work done there.

With a referral from one of the Boomers, we parked our truck in the large lot on the California side and walked into town. The four or five blocks of the town are jammed with drug stores, optical stores and dental offices. Most of the dental offices are small storefronts with someone standing outside the office trying to sell the services of the dental office. The dentist we chose was a small office with a couple of chairs and a large-screen TV showing the “E” Channel in Spanish. Dr. Gonzalez told us it would be just a minute. I volunteered to be the first since going to the dentist is not Art’s favorite thing to do. If my experience was bad, no way would Art sit in the chair!

Dr. Gonzalez spoke fluent English, asked if I had any heart problems and then, with her assistant, began cleaning my teeth using ultrasound equipment. The equipment she used looked old or perhaps second-hand. However, don’t equate “old” with “unsanitary” because it certainly wasn’t that way. The assistant manually controlled the water pressure for the ultrasound device. There was more water than I was use to and the assistant tried her best to suction it all up but I did wind up getting sprayed quite a bit. The doctor spent a lot a time cleaning my lower teeth where most of the plaque buildup occurs and did a cursory job on the upper teeth. Unlike the states, there was no bowl to rinse your mouth so the doctor provided a small cup to rinse my mouth and to spit into a suction cup. A quick polishing followed by flossing and I was done.

Compared to the negative experience we had in the States with our HMO dentist who was rough and in a big hurry, Dr. Gonzalez was better. Dr Gonzalez took her time and was less aggressive in her cleaning. Still, I don’t know that I would go back to her; I might try someone else.

What is really lacking in the process is a complete picture of my teeth. In the States, the normal procedure is to get X-rays, exam the teeth, do a cleaning and finally a consolation. Dr Gonzalez only provided a routine cleaning. I actually think I need a filling replaced but, again, I just wasn’t comfortable with having that done with this particular dentist.

I don’t know that I would go to Mexico again even for a routine cleaning but I am not sure. Perhaps when we’re in the area again, next time we’ll scope out the dentists more closely and look for a slightly more upscale office and make our decision then. Bottom line – you get what you pay for.

Have you used dentists in Mexico? What has been your experience? We’d love to hear from you.

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