Friday, August 12, 2022


Is heading south of the border for medical care wise?

Dear RV Shrink:
I want to cross the border into Mexico to have an eye exam and maybe see a dentist. My wife thinks I should also get my head examined. She thinks everyone who goes to Mexico is never heard from again. I have heard that many people cross the border for dental, eye and prescriptions. Am I missing something?

We are in an RV park right near the border. Do you think it is worth a trip to save a few bucks? How do I convince my wife it’s safe? —Borderline yahoo in Yuma

Dear Yahoo:
Everyone has their own comfort level when traveling. It is very common for U.S. and Canadian snowbirds to cross into Mexico and save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on health care. A way to make your wife more comfortable with the idea would be to talk to fellow travelers. If you are in a park near the border, park management would be a great place to start. They will probably even give you some references across the border.

We are in Poncho Villa State Park in Columbus, New Mexico this week. My wife just went to Palomas, Mexico a couple miles down the road, had an eye exam, and bought two pair of glasses for $150. I have been telling people they found Guacamole in one eye, but she doesn’t see the humor in it.

Our friends went to the dentist while we were at the eye doctor’s office. They had new crowns for about a quarter of what it would cost in the U.S. and found everything very professional.

When all the doctoring was over, we met at the famous “Pink Store.” In just a few hours we enjoyed free drinks, good food, excellent service, inexpensive prices, and the friendliest people in Mexico. It’s hard to find a downside to that. —Keep Smilin’, RV Shrink

The RV Shrink is not really a psychologist (or professional RV technician). But he does knows a lot.

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C B Robertson
6 years ago

We have not only been to dentists across the border but all over Mexico. We have gone to Palomas across from Columbus, NM many times. We have gone to Algodones near Yuma, AZ where thousand cross every day for dental and eye-care – I think hearing too. There are good dentists and bad dentists no matter where you go. In Mexico we have found great dentists who charge 25% or less than in the US.

There is probably no way to convince those who are already convince otherwise that the crime we hear about in Mexico has to do with criminals killing criminals. Very rare – almost unheard of – for crime to involve tourists. We have traveled all over Mexico for many years. We have had no problems and experienced no crime. That does not mean it can’t happen. But the dangers perceived by those north of the border are so far from the truth it is unexplainable. Unfortunately, there is probably nothing we can say here that will change many people’s minds.

6 years ago

Dentists aren’t gods and like everything else there can be mistakes. For years the RGV has been packed with Canadians and Northerns whose only mission for the winter is dental care. The dentists are well-trained in both the U.S. and Mexico, and are great with cosmetic dentistry.

Investigate, talk to others, visit the dentist for a consultation and estimate. Ask to see their qualifications. If they are border doctors, they speak English very well.

6 years ago

I have had great luck with the dentists down there despite being told to arrive early, to get the fresh dental floss! I found the dentists and assistants to be courteous and well trained. There is no truth to the rumor that it takes two dental assistants to clean your teeth; one to hold you down and the other using the pressure washer!

Kemptville Kids
6 years ago

We winter in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and cross over to Nuevo Progreso for dental work (excellent) and fun. We have been doing this since 2004 and have not had a bad incident. This little town is probably the safest border town and the locals make sure that you have a good time and are safe.

6 years ago

We have been going to Los Algodones for the past 5 years with great luck. I would stay away from Sanidental where we went for the first couple years and look around for other dentist. We have bad luck at Sani, but there are plenty of great dentist in the area with really great prices compared to the USA.Usually no appointment necessary. We go to Minerva, past the prescription store and make a left. It is safe and a great place for eye wear as well as prescriptions. Last trip I had tooth extracted and metal partial done for $460. Lot cheaper that US. We travel from Florida to Los Angeles every year stopping for cleanings with no problem. Don’t be concerned, it is safe.

Frank Niehus
6 years ago

Your date is correct but the time on the comments are 6-8 hrs ahead. I also typed out a long comment and hit add comment and it said it was a duplicate and was deleted.
I’ll try this and see if it goes.

Frank Niehus
6 years ago

Frank in CO.
We have been going to Algadones for 5 years now with great satisfaction . Most are trained in MX, very friendly, interested in doing a good job, making sure you are pleased and happy with the job, 2 year warranty. I would recommend getting a reference from some one who has been down there There are plenty of people who go so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a recommenation. We know maybe 12-15 people who go down and they are all very pleased. Now take that 12-15 people in US and ask what they think of there dentist and they won’t all be happy. The price of $179 a crown compared to $1200 plus is a no brainier. Our son flew down for a week this year. He had a crown 1-1/2 year ago in US and it cracked. They wouldn’t warranty it and wanted to charge him $900 as a favor since they were the office that did it. So we went down to Algadones and they found he needed a second crown. They did both the same day at a extra charge for $420. total. Two years ago I had 28 crowns and one bridge all at the same time and haven’t had one single problem since.

6 years ago

Over the past 7 plus years we have had a variety of dental work done just across the border in Mexico and will continue to do so. That work includes cleanings, crowns, root canal and implant. You can find excellent care and poor care just as you can in the U.S.

Do your research before choosing a dentist. That said, it is much easier to get good feedback on dentists there than here.

The one caveat I will add is regarding the comment you will often see that the many of the dentists were trained in the U.S. In my experience that is only partially true. If you actually look at their certificates they may have attended limited courses or training here but the majority of their dental training is in Mexico. That said, I have still received more reliable care there than in the U.S.

6 years ago

I had a gold crown installed in Algodones. Yes, service was professional and modern. The price was less than half of my regular dentist in Seattle. After 1 year the crown failed. leaked and had to be replaced. Upon examination, the crown’s surface was too thin to last. Based on similar experiences of other patients, my dentist’s opinion was that they saved a lot of money by minimizing the gold content of the crown. As long as I can afford it, I’m likely to stick with US dental care.

6 years ago

We live for 4-5 months in San Felipe, Baja, Mx. Take the motorhome there and put it on our lot. We have used, Dr’s < Dentists and eye glass people with the greatest of confidence. Glasses and dentist, cheap, most Dr's trained in the US, medical services cheap as well. We love Mexico.

Ed Price
6 years ago

My extended family and I have been using a dentist just over the border in Tecate for over 5 years. Tecate is a nice, polite town that is off the beaten path sufficiently to not have long crossing waits, flocks of tourists and high crime. I don’t drive my RV into Mexico, but I do drive my car to that dentist. Their service is low-cost, polite, bi-lingual, and very professional and modern. (Google Denticer Tecate.) Their offices are about a half-mile west of the border crossing, but so close to the border that you can look across the fence from their office and see a green BP van looking back at you. I would have no hesitation in walking across, except that I’m not up to half-mile hikes anymore.

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