When most people think about going to the dentist, they don’t envision pristine beaches with clear, blue water, drinks served in coconuts or palm trees swaying in a gentle breeze. But your trip to the dentist could look just like that if you choose to take a dental holiday in Mexico.
Mexico is fast becoming a well-known destination for dental tourism, due to a combination of low prices and quality care, exacerbated by extremely high health care prices in the neighboring United States. If you’re looking to save money on dental care and get a vacation out of the deal, Mexico might just be the destination for you. Read on to learn what you need to know about dental tourism in Mexico.
Just about any dental procedure can be done quickly and cheaply in Mexico, but these are some of the most popular:
- Dental implants
- Ceramic crowns
Read on for average costs, procedure times and more for these popular procedures in Mexico.
Dental costs in Mexico average two-thirds lower than in the US, although prices can vary quite a bit depending on the clinic you choose. Most procedures can be done cheaply, but still at a high quality of care.
|Dental treatment||Cost in Mexican pesos (MXN)|
|Dental implants||22,000-24,000 MXN per tooth (including abutment and crown)|
|Bridgework||4,500-9,500 MXN per standard, 3-tooth bridge|
|Ceramic crowns||2,800-3,800 MXN per tooth|
|Dentures||3,800-5,800 MXN for a full set|
|Veneers||750-7,200 MXN per tooth, depending on type|
Dental implants are metal frames that can be surgically placed into the jawbone underneath your gum. Once an implant is placed, dentists can use it to mount and secure replacement teeth. Implants are for people who have lost teeth and who want a replacement tooth option that’s more secure than dentures or a bridge.
|What types of implants exist?||What’s the average cost of the implant?||How long will the implants last?||Will my insurance cover some of it?||How long does the treatment take?|
|Single tooth implant (including abutment and standard crown)||22,000-24,000 MXN per tooth||If well taken care of, dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss.||Most insurance carriers typically cover less than 10% of the fees for implants.||1-2 hours for the procedure, and 3-6 months to fully heal.|
|All-On-Four||82,000-134,000 MXN||If well taken care of, dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss.||Most insurance carriers typically cover less than 10% of the fees for implants||2.5 hours per arch for the procedure, 3-6 months to fully heal.|
|All-On-Six||137,000-161,000 MXN||If well taken care of, dental implants are a permanent solution to tooth loss.||Most insurance carriers typically cover less than 10% of the fees for implants||2.5 hours per arch for the procedure, 3-6 months to fully heal.|
Bridges literally “bridge the gap” left by a missing tooth or teeth. They’re less extensive and invasive than implants and are secured to existing teeth. Bridges are for people who are missing one or a small number of teeth and want to restore the look of a full set of teeth or get back the ability to chew and speak normally.
|What types of bridges exist?||What’s the average cost of the bridge?||How long will the bridge last?||Will my insurance cover some of it?||How long does the treatment take?|
|Maryland bridge||5,700-8,000 MXN||With good oral hygiene, bridges can last 5-15 years or even longer.||Some travel insurance plans will cover a small portion of dental work, check your individual plan to be sure. Expect to pay out-of-pocket after the procedure.||At least two visits, each visit lasting 1-2 hours.|
|PFM bridge||9,000-11,300 MXN||With good oral hygiene, bridges can last 5-15 years or even longer.||Some travel insurance plans will cover a small portion of dental work, check your individual plan to be sure. Expect to pay out-of-pocket after the procedure.||At least two visits, each visit lasting 1-2 hours.|
|3-unit bridge||8,000-9,200 MXN||With good oral hygiene, bridges can last 5-15 years or even longer.||Some travel insurance plans will cover a small portion of dental work, check your individual plan to be sure. Expect to pay out-of-pocket after the procedure.||At least two visits, each visit lasting 1-2 hours.|
A crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that can be placed over a tooth that’s chipped, cracked, discolored or otherwise damaged to make it look normal again. While crowns can be made out of many different materials including steel, gold, platinum, resin and more, ceramic crowns tend to be the most expensive because they look the most like natural teeth.
|What’s the average cost of the crown?||How long will the crown last?||Will my insurance cover some of it?||How long does the treatment take?|
|15,000-32,000 MXN||With good oral hygiene, crowns can last between 5 and 15 years depending on wear and tear and hygiene practices. .||The lengthiest part of getting a crown is waiting for the lab to create it. In Mexico, the abundance of labs often means same-day returns. A crown can be created and fitted in two separate appointments over the course of a few weeks|
Dentures are removable appliances that replace all or a part of your teeth, so they’re for people who have none or very few of their natural teeth remaining.
|What types of dentures exist?||What’s the average cost of the dentures?||How long will the dentures last?||Will my insurance cover some of it?||How long does the treatment take?|
|Partial dentures||5,700-9,200 MXN||5-10 years||Dentures are fitted to each individual, and therefore must be created to specification in a lab. This can take several days.|
|Full dentures||4,400-5,800 MXN||5-10 years||Dentures are fitted to each individual, and therefore must be created to specification in a lab. This can take several days.|
|Immediate dentures||3,800-4,400 MXN||5-10 years||Immediate dentures are meant to be temporary while gums heal from tooth extraction or permanent dentures are made. They won’t fit perfectly, but treatment time is typically only a day or two.|
|Acrylic dentures||3,600-4,400 MXN||5-10 years||Dentures are fitted to each individual, and therefore must be created to specification in a lab. This can take several days.|
Veneers are very thin shells of material (ceramic, composite or resin) that are bonded to the front of teeth to enhance their appearance. People may want veneers to cover discoloration, cracks, chips, gaps or small or misshapen teeth. This procedure is irreversible, however, as the dentist will have to remove a thin layer of the enamel of your teeth to apply them.
|What types of veneers exist?||What’s the average cost of the veneers?||How long will the veneers last?||Will my insurance cover some of it?||How long does the treatment take?|
|Porcelain veneers||5,200-6,200 MXN per tooth||10-15 years||2 visits over 5 days|
|Lumineers||6,700-7,200 MXN per tooth||20 years||2 visits over 5 days|
|Composite veneers||765-960 MXN per tooth||4-8 years||2 visits over 5 days|
The best cities for dental holidays in Mexico are often along the US border to entice customers who want affordable care without high travel costs. Some of the best clinics, however, are found in resort towns, where customers combine affordable dental care with vacation. The highest rated clinics in Mexico are:
Dentaris is the top-rated clinic in Mexico, according to the Global Clinic Rating. It has locations in Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Dentaris offers dental tourism packages through local agencies that can save customers up to 60% on certain procedures. The clinic is located near a hotel zone and offers free assistance arranging accommodations, as well as transportation to and from the airport. An onsite dental concierge can help arrange treatment, as well as tours and other activities during wait times. The clinic provides written treatment guarantees. Aftercare checkups, annual checkups, x-rays and consultations are free for patients. Dentaris will bill international insurance providers directly. You can contact the clinic directly to discuss your needs and get a quote.
RamLanz is the second highest-rated GCR clinic. It has locations in Mexicali and Guadalajara, and while it doesn’t offer its own dental holiday packages, it does offer free assistance with booking flights and accommodations near the clinic for your dental holiday and offers free off site accommodation for patients. The clinic also offers free local transportation, to and from the airport and your accommodations. Price lists are available at the clinic, and you can get a quote in advance by contacting them.
Of course, you should choose the clinic that best suits your needs. Some questions to ask to ensure you’re getting the best possible treatment for you are:
- What are the dentist’s qualification and experience?
- Is the doctor an employee or a contract dentist?
- Does your dentist speak English or will you need a translator?
- Is the surgeon a member of a reputable dental authority?
- Is all of the equipment onsite?
- Do they offer guarantees on their work?
- Can you read any testimonials or reviews from previous patients that had the same procedure?
- Are there wait times for the procedure?
- If you have a problem, how will it be dealt with?
Whether your insurance policy will cover an international dental holiday is up to the insurer. But it’s a myth that many insurers don’t cover international procedures; they want to save money as much as you do, after all. While some clinics may be able to directly bill an international insurance provider, you may have to pay up front and ask for a reimbursement later. You’ll have to speak with your clinic and your insurance provider directly to find out their policies.
Some clinics and travel agencies will offer packages and discounts for patients on a dental holiday. Make sure to ask your clinic about this.
However you pay for your dental holiday, you’ll need access to your money while you’re in Mexico. Transferring money internationally via a bank often means you get stuck paying for a 4-5% markup on the exchange rate. There’s another way: TransferWise. TransferWise moves money at the real mid-market rate - the same exchange rate you see when you Google it. All you have to pay is a small, fair transfer fee that’s spelt out upfront. TransferWise also offers borderless multi-currency accounts that allow users to send, receive and manage money in multiple global currencies all at once.
There are two main ways to arrange a dental holiday overseas: directly with the clinic, or through a medical travel agency.
Most dental clinics in Mexico that cater to tourists on dental holidays have websites written in English with clear contact information, whether that be a phone number, email address or online form. There are, of course, pros and cons to arranging your trip this way.
- You can look for the cheapest flight and accommodation deals
- You can choose the exact clinic you want to go to
- If you’re not a seasoned traveller, making all the arrangements yourself can be a headache
- It can take a lot of time and research to arrange your entire dental holiday
There are many medical travel agencies that can book a trip for you to get dental work done in Mexico.
- All the details will be handled with minimal stress for you
- They may help you arrange tours and activities to make the trip more like a holiday
- The agency may have recommendations for clinics that specialize in the procedure you’re looking for
- The agency will likely charge a fee on top of the cost for flights, accommodations and treatment
- You may not get the cheapest flights and accommodations
- You may not have as much freedom to choose your own clinic
Mexico is a popular dental tourism destination for people from the US, UK and Australia for a lot of reasons. Visitors from those countries are exempt from needing tourist visas to enter Mexico, as long as they stay less than 180 days. The weather in Mexico is warm and sunny year-round, meaning there’s no bad time to visit and enjoy a beach vacation with a side of dental work. Visitors from the US don’t even have to deal with jet lag, as Mexican time zones line up with theirs. And dental clinics and travel agencies provide plenty of amenities to health tourists, including free transportation to and from the airport.
If you’re considering Mexico for a dental holiday, this information will get you a lot closer to choosing the city, clinic and type of holiday that’s right for you. Good luck with your travels!
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