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Posted Saturday, October 18, 2003
Dentists: Questions, Answers, Tips
Carl's Note: I'm going to start this off with a few older emails because the replies, especially from Art Jones (husband of a Mexican dentist in Mazatlan) are still quite useful. I also want to remind our readers that Lorena and I are not dentists, so if you have a specific question about dental work, costs, etc., please ask a real dentist, not us!
One more caveat: we've never met Art's wife and have yet to hear from anyone who has had dental work done by her. We provide this information as a service -- it is not a recommendation. If you do go to Mexico for dental work, please take a few minutes and let us know about your experience so we can pass it on to others.
From: "Nancy R. Vickery"
Hola, Carl and Lorena!
After getting an estimate for $2800+ for a bridge from my local dentist here in Colorado, my husband suggested I do a web search about dentists in Mexico since we travel there at least once a year (twice this year so far). Any suggestions? We tend to center around Puerto Vallarta and in late October we'll be driving the coast between Barra and San Blas for a week to explore a little. We will also be back next spring in late Feb into March for at least 3 or 4 weeks. I just don't know how to go about finding a dentist even though I know that many people from the US travel to Mexico specifically for dental work. I'm not asking for a referral or anything like that--just a starting point. I have limited patience with message boards and all the mindless chatter.
We value your book very much and refer to it constantly. My husband reads parts of it a couple times a year, especially when the snow flies around here and we're dreaming of beer on the beach and fish fresh from the boat. And your website is invaluable.
Carl adds: we forwarded Nancy's questions to Art Jones in Mazatlan and Robert and Deborah Foster in Puerto Vallarta. Their replies follow....
Date: Fri, 05 Oct 2001
I guess I,m the dental expert around here.Lorena gave me your adress. I,m married to a Mexican dentist, that makes me the expert. From my experience in Mexico ,dental cost run aprox. 1/3rd to 1/5th of what they cost in the states, sometimes even less. That,s if you go to a doctor who deals with Mexicans and he /she charges you the going Mexican rate. There are many fine dentist, doctors and all types of med-profs here.There are also , unfortunately, a lot of jokers who want nothing more than to get in your pocket and do less than spectacular work.The key , like with anything, is to know who,s what. If you would like to visit Mazatlan ,I,d be happy to introduce you to my wife . She could take a look and tell you , right away , what she can do and what it will cost . If If she is not equipped or trained to do it , she will refer you to the appropriate dentist. She specializes in restorative work and charges everybody the same.Please feel free to e-mailme anytime and I,ll do what I can to help, Art
Robert Foster replies:
Finding a dentist here is really not too different from finding a dentist in a strange city in the US. The local yellow pages are full of them. Plus, as you drive through town, or walk through any of the little shopping centers, you'll see dentist offices almost everywhere. (You can't swing a dead gato without hitting a dentist in Mexico.)
The offices here vary greatly. There are low-budget, basic-care dentists in the working-class neighborhoods. The offices are spartan, the equipment is minimal and old. Prices are a small fraction of what you're used to in the US, and the care is generally adequate. English may be spoken only minimally if at all.
On the other extreme are truly cutting edge, high-tech places in the gringo enclaves, such as the Marina. These Mexican dentists are almost as expensive as in the US, speak English, and offer all the latest bells and whistles.
There are plenty of offices in between these extremes. Usually, these are best found by just walking through the shopping areas. There is no subsitute for actually walking in the office, looking around, and chatting a bit with the personnel. This is really the only way to get a feel for the cleanliness, equipment, professionalism, etc.
Finally, don't confuse "old" with "unsanitary." Many of the cheaper places will give your unaccustomed eye a jolt. They look like an office from the 1950s. But, they may nonetheless be quite clean.
Robert Foster and Deborah Foster
My husband & I do not speak Spanish yet----we are 58 years. Very interested in Mexico for our retirement. do you have any vocational suggestion for me to continue work as a dental hygienist in Mexico? Do you have any clues on a company that I could sell dental products for in Mexico?
Maybe work for an American Co. and live in Mexico.
Sincerely, Sandra ( and Russ) Welker
Carl replies: Sandra, I'm sorry, but I think you might find it very difficult to work as a hygienist here. First of all, as a non-Mexican you'd have to establish residence and get a work permit. Second, and this is probably the toughest... there are lots of dentists in Mexico, and I imagine that their hygienist work for very low wages.
To: "Mexican dentist"
Hi there! Just wondering what the dentist charges for caps on molars. I have 4 to be done and will be in Mazatlan in Jan. '04 for 2 weeks. Coming from Canada. Thanks.
Carl replies: Leslie, we don't know what the dentist charges. To ask her yourself, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Bradly Norwood <email@example.com>
I enjoyed your website and am wondering about good dentistry for my wife, Linda.
Retired and we would love to be Mazatlan neighbors someday...I think my pension would go farther there. How are the rental rates???
Sincerely, Brad Norwood
Carl replies: You have mistaken Lorena for a dentist, a mistake you would not make twice if she had ever had the opportunity to explore your mouth with a pair of pliers!
Brad, I sympathize with your wife's condition but I'm afraid we do not have the resources to maintain a list of "top" dentists -- however, our advice is simple and should be effective: go to Baja and start asking other gringos there for recommendations, preferably residents who know their way around. If I were in your wife's shoes, that's what I would do myself.
To: Art Jones
Hello! we are looking for a dentist in MAzatlan, would you be able to help us in this area?
We are interested in knowing what your wife charges for a root canal for the 2 front teeth for a child of 8. male. Thank you very much
Carl: we await Art's reply....
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