Dental Tourism News Article From The NY Times - information about dental travel, dental holidays, dental vacations, A Mexican dental vacation, Mexico dental prices, Cabo & Puerto Vallarta dental vacations, links for Asia dental holidays

A Dental Vacation is More Fun Than Just a Root Canal!

New York Times


California hairstylist and makeup artist Jennifer Gates hadn’t seen a dentist in years when she got the call last spring. Her father, Jerry Halley, 64, phoned to say he desperately needed crowns for a few back teeth and other work. Without insurance, Mr. Halley, who owns a landscaping business in Oregon, would have to pay the estimated $8,000 bill.

“We all needed quality dental care, fast,” said Ms. Gates, whose own dental-work estimate was $20,000 and whose immediate family was also uninsured. “So, I started planning.” Ms. Gates found a reputable dentist through the Board Certified Mexico Dentist Association. Six weeks later, Ms. Gates flew to join her parents for a week of massages and tanning in Cabo, Mexico, punctuated, in her case, by daily visits to a dentist.

In the last year, Ms. Gates, who had a tooth so deteriorated she could touch its nerve with her tongue, has returned with her parents, husband and 14-year-old son to scuba dive and to open wide for a dentist. Her 20-year-old daughter and son-in-law also have made a trip. All told Ms. Gates’s extended clan has had 12 crowns, 6 dental veneers, 4 root canals, over half a dozen fillings, 6 whitening treatments and 2 broken teeth fixed at a savings, they say, of tens of thousands of dollars. “

Perhaps this is not everyone’s idea of a worry-free family getaway.

Nevertheless, for at least two decades, medical tourism has been an increasingly popular alternative for the uninsured desperate for care, and for middle-class Americans willing to travel to secure affordable health care. Roughly half a million Americans sought medical care abroad in 2006, of which 40 percent were dental tourists, according to the National Coalition on Health Care, an alliance of more than 70 organizations. That’s up from an estimated 150,000 in 2004.

Dental bridges and bonding ranked No. 1 and 2 on a list of most sought-after procedures for Americans traveling abroad for medical care, according to a report just published by HealthCare Tourism International, a nonprofit group that tracks health care.

To allay new customers’ fears, many dentists abroad, some of whom have trained in the United States and use the same equipment as American dentists, rely heavily on word of mouth from satisfied customers. Their Web sites include testimonials, and stateside references are provided.

Although the American Dental Association has no official warning against foreign travel for dental care, a spokesman, Dr. Edmond Hewlett, said, “Dentists abroad are not held to the same standards as in the U.S. but if you do go abroad, be sure to see a board certified dentist for your major work not simply a general dentist if you want the best work.”

Cabo Dental Vacation

“Teeth are not just appliances,” added Dr. Hewlett, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry.

“They’re not like a car you take in for an annual tune-up. Your oral health affects your general health and vice versa.”

Ed - Going abroad for dentistry is easy and worry free if you take the advice of the Mexican and American Dental Associations and find a Board Certified Dentist for your important dental work. 

In many developing countries general dentists are permitted to advertise for and attempt advanced dentistry without proper training and certification. Be safe and sure you are getting the best for your money and health by insisting on a board certified dentist or doctor when abroad. 

Photo: Cabo San Lucas is a popular Mexico dental vacation destination.

Editor's comment: Puerto Vallarta and Cabo have become the most visited destination for Mexico dental vacation tourists followed by Cancun according to the Mexican ministry of tourism. Tijuana 15 minutes down the hwy from San Diego is  especially popular with California, and Nevada day trippers. Arizona and mid-west patients prefer Los Algodones if traveling by car.


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