Los Algondones is a quaint Mexican border town with a 4 square block city center chock-a-block full of options for the dental tourist. The local government has knocked itself out doing everything in its power to make the town a unique destination dedicated to dental tourism. Indeed with a population of 5,500 and 350 dentists - dentistry is the primary occupation of the town. It has received international media attention in recent years due to it being successfully marketed as "Mexico's Dental Tourism Mecca." The Tooth Fairy must be proud.
Los Algodones is located in northeastern Baja California, Mexico, 16 km (9.9 mi) west of Yuma, Arizona and about 200 miles by car from Phoenix. Yuma International airport (YUM) in Arizona receives flights from many US and Canadian cities.
It's the northernmost town in Mexico, and all of Latin America for that matter and each year tens of thousands of American and Canadian dental patients visit for sunshine, margaritas and root canals.
If gamboling about on foot in the summer (or most times of the year for that matter - bring an umbrella to carry for shade, a bottle of water, hat and sunglasses.
Dental patients need to be wary of street hustlers dressed in medical scrubs handing out clinic business cards and offering specials on dental treatments. These are the ones you want to AVOID the most. Most are representing non-certified dentists who prey on unsuspecting dental tourists in need of advanced dentistry such as endodontics, implantology, makeovers etc. procedures that non-certified general dentists are not properly trained for. These hustlers get paid commissions for reeling in patients.
Once a dusty border town with cattle wandering the streets, it was better known for its cantinas than much of anything else. Los Algodones was transformed into a dental tourism destination by a dentist turned mayor a couple decades ago. The town is now famous for providing inexpensive medical and dental care to people from the US and Canada and for offering warm Mexican hospitality from the mayor's office on down to your restaurant table waiter. Fiestas occur during the year with many during the Christmas season.
The popularity of both inexpensive prescriptions and medical care catering to Canadian and U.S. senior citizens has prompted a virtual explosion of pharmacies, optometrists and dental offices. Bring your prescriptions to be filled but only plan on returning with 90 days worth of meds to avoid problems with US customs on your return.
Average temperatures range from 55F in January to 92 in Aug. with recorded highs as much as 122. Obviously, one doesn't want to cross the border on foot to explore the town in the middle of summer. But people do. In the summer the line to cross back into the US is a cakewalk. In the winter it can be 1-2 hrs. Again - bring a bottle of water and umbrella for shade while in line waiting to return to the US.
If you are having a large dental treatment requiring a stay of several days to 2 weeks for larger treatment cases such as a complete oral rehabilitation - Rocky Point and San Carlos on the Sea of Cortez are a several hours away by car and offer upscale lodging and many resort activities plus charter boat fishing. Some Los Algodones clinics have connections with local hotels that offer discounts for patients.
Yuma Arizona just across the border from Los Algodones is the largest city in Arizona outside the metro areas of Phoenix and Tucson. Although summers are hot, the town experiences a wonderfully temperate winter climate with average temperatures in the low 70's, making it a popular destination for northern "snowbirds."
Activities in and around Yuma are plenty and varied. There are six golf courses, museums and historic parks, three casinos, many clubs and restaurants, malls, theaters and outdoor activities that range from fishing, tubing, and boating on the Colorado River. In comparison - little Los Algodones rolls up its sidewalks at night.
Your dental vacation in Los Algodones will be an easy cross-border, cultural experience where you can get quality dental care at affordable prices. Just be sure the dentist you select is properly trained and certified for the procedures you require.
Dental Specialists in Mexico. Understand that any non-certified general dentist in Mexico can call themself a "Specialist." This would be illegal north of the border. Find a dentist who is a graduate of a nationally recognized postgraduate specialist college and is certified in the procedures you require. If you just need a cleaning, filling, whitening or normal extractions, any general dentist in Mexico can do these procedures. That's what they are trained to do. Not implants. Not cosmetic dental makeovers. But they'd love to have a chance to work on you.
Don't go for the cheapest crown prices - or you may get low quality crudely made crowns that are too large, too thin, wrong shade, low quality crown stock or adhesives. There's a reason the price is so low and it’s usually a combination of low quality inexpensive materials and non-certified dentists learning advanced dentistry at the patient's expense.
Bargain price unbranded dental implants last 4-6 years vs. branded ones which last 15 years to a lifetime. Low cost implants can and do fail causing infections and you have to have the work done over. There is no savings when you have to pay twice. For the best dental implants - insist on a certified oral surgeon or prosthodontist - avoid non-certified dentists who attended quickie implant seminars. Implants are surgery and to learn surgery properly a dentist has to attend an additional 3-4 years of specialist college. Not a 2 hour seminar at dental convention.
Board Certified Dentists in Mexico are the very best as they have studied for and passed the written, oral and demonstrative board exams for their specialty after graduating from a specialist college. It's like having a lawyer who passed the bar exam vs. one who didn't.
Certified dentists typically cost the same as far-less trained non-certified general dentists in Mexico. So you can afford the best in Mexico.
TIP: Don't shop dental prices in Mexico. If you do - you will definitely find the lowest price. And you may be sorry later you did.
REMEMBER - Once you cross the border you are already saving 50-75% on your dental work. You don't need to shop prices in Mexico - Shop quality instead. You can trust a board certified specialist dentist to do your work right and get it right the first time. As for all the non-certified dentists (about 85-90%) - don't gamble with your teeth and health. Las Vegas is for gambling.
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