Molar City, Baja California. Molar City, Baja California.

Dental tourism in MX: there’s risk and reward

It comes down to finding a dentist who can do good work

Thousands of Americans and Canadians travel to Mexico every year to get dental work done for much less than it would cost them at home.


Some return home completely satisfied with the treatment they received and the money they saved but for others, the experience can be very different.

With that in mind, the Canadian television network CTV posed the question: how risky is dental tourism?

“The only real guarantee is that there are no guarantees,” a CTV newscaster said when introducing the story.

Dr. Vikram Grewal, a dentist from Kelowna, British Columbia, told CTV that he has seen both good and bad dental work that was completed in Mexico.

The unlucky ones who receive substandard care can end up having to pay much more in the long run, Grewal explained. He cited an example of one of his patients who flew to Mexico to get her teeth capped.

While on first inspection it appeared that the work had been completed successfully and to a high standard, looking more closely revealed otherwise.


“The glue that we use to bond to the tooth was not removed properly,” Grewal said.

The leftover grey cement will not only create an unsightly line at the top of the woman’s teeth but will also irritate her gums and make them recede, the dentist said.

Another dentist and spokesperson for the British Columbia Dental Association also said that he had seen dental work of varying quality that was completed in Mexico, but highlighted one case where the treatment a patient received was completely bungled.

“I had a patient who went to Mexico, had a root canal done, they’d actually done a root canal on the wrong tooth,” Dr. Bruce Ward said.

Again, the patient was left facing additional costs to deal with the original problem.

“What’s he going to do? Go back and demand his money back?” Ward questioned.

“Nobody is saying do not go because there are great dentists everywhere, it’s [a matter of] finding that dentist who can do good work,” he added.

Valerie Crooks, a health geographer at Simon Fraser University who specializes in medical tourism, said that going to Mexico for dental work is “a buyer beware scenario.”

But she also stressed that not all dental tourism ends in disaster, adding that attention focuses on horror stories when in fact many patients are more than satisfied with the care they receive.

For people considering going to Mexico for dental treatment, Crooks said, carrying out research beforehand is essential.

“If you’re going to be using a broker or a third party who’s going to be booking for you, understand who they are [and] what their interests are,” she said.

Crooks also recommended having a contingency plan in case something does go wrong.

Dr. Ward gave similar advice: “Get clear on what you need before you go, get a treatment plan and get a dentist to tell you that.”

One of the most popular places for patients seeking dental treatment south of the United States border is Los Algodones, Baja California, where there are more than 500 practicing dentists.

Research completed by a Simon Fraser University doctoral student found that the influx of medical tourists to the town nicknamed “Molar City” brought a lot of economic benefits but also contributed to exploitative working conditions and discriminatory practices for employees in dental clinics.

Source: CTV News (en)

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  • DreadFool

    “he seen both good and bad dental work that was completed in Mexico.” here’s what rhymes with _dental… gentle, mental, parental, rental, lentil, oriental, placental, judgmental, judgemental, accidental, elemental, incidental, regimental, occidental, fundamental, and governmental. Say ahhh.

    • Garry Montgomery

      Is that meant to be funny or a lesson in English poetry?

      • DreadFool

        I am delighted you can;t tell the difference.

        • Garry Montgomery

          Well, it wasn’t funny at all so I guess the other option is all there is. Or maybe it was pointless?

          • DreadFool

            as pointless as your compulsion to reply to poignant pointlessness

          • Garry Montgomery

            Such a wordsmith. Do you publish a lexicon? Your first comment was the most pointless one ever with no poignance whatsoever.

          • DreadFool

            does your retirement home offer off-line activities? ask around…

          • Garry Montgomery

            Actually no, so your dumb “comments” ruin everybody’s day . . .

          • DreadFool

            you speak for “everyone” orale, that sounds like the Garry from the Walmart pharmacy I read about on the Post Office SE BUSCA board

          • Garry Montgomery

            What a wanker! Your age-biased comment (probably a hate-crime) would seem to indicate that you’re also a racist, anti-semitic and probably a religious whacko as well. Your “eye of Horus” logo also seems to be a stretch in a pointless effort to display your superior intelligence.

          • DreadFool

            read your script old man, you fuggut _misogynist and narcissist and NRA freak, don;t go soft on me now

          • Garry Montgomery

            Wow! It doesn’t take much to get the eye of horus all bent out of shape . . . HA! the subject for discussion is dental tourism in Mexico. Please get back to the subject or shut the FUP

          • DreadFool

            My Highness is enjoying our vocabulary barter, I remember the slogan from good old Montgomery Ward (weird?) Talk Now, Think Later, something like that, enjoy your Benzodiazepine!

  • Excellent dental and medical care for good prices are readily available in Mexico. But you should get reliable recommendations before diving in. Border towns are the last place I would go.

    • Fester N Boyle

      But the border towns offer the best bartering over the street vendor dental implant prices. Toss in a root canal or two and get a better deal.

      • CensorSheep

        get a free extraction with a Rosarito time share

        • faithandhonor

          Pretty funny!

  • Suzanne Levison

    I consulted with 3 dental offices in Tijuana prior to finding the most wonderful cosmetic dental office. The best ever. Great people, job, and prices. I have rock star crowns at a fraction of the cost. No pain with root canals either

  • gil morency

    it’s the same thing in Canada or the USA, you have good ones and bad ones

  • John12345678910

    Our stories of bad dental are from Canada…..

  • Garry Montgomery

    Most of the dental work I had done in the U.S. had to be redone. Every job done in Mexico has been excellent. I guess I was lucky in Mexico and unlucky in the U.S.?

  • Emodi Kann

    This is the equivalent of “fake news.” It is mere propaganda designed to discourage travelers from going to Mexico and spending their money outside their native country; perhaps even leading them to contemplate relocating abroad as well! The deep state is utterly corrupt and tyranny is the norm in the US. I’d wager the worst providers in Mexico were probably educated in the US, and the chances of finding better care is infinitely better outside the US; especially if you are relegated to the death panel doctors allocated to treat Medicaid/Medicare patients. You don’t typically even get to see a medical doctor without an advanced condition—it’s all nurse practitioners instead; and the most recent graduates, like those in all areas/fields, are products of a dumbed down public education system. As a high school senior, my daughter (in AP courses) is being taught what I learned in seventh grade.

  • MortimerSnerd

    This is little more than propaganda generated by the professional dental cartels in Canada. 4/12 hours from Calgary on WestJet gets you to a sun destination and some excellent dentistry to boot. My dentist teaches advanced dentistry at the University of Guadalajara, he knows his stuff and his office has excellent equipment. He does a top notch job, and doesn’t rip you off. These self serving fat-cats are getting nervous.