After not having been to the dentist for several years, a piece of a molar with an old filling fell out recently and I had to schedule a dental appointment.

For me, living in Arizona, opting to go to a dentist on the other side of the border was a no-brainer - better technology, excellent dentists, offices within walking distance and way, way less expensive than in the U.S. I called the offices of Dental Advanced (which is located near the border and has local Arizona phone numbers) and spoke with an English-speaking scheduler who helped me set up my dental appointment.

A call to my dental insurance provider, Humana Dental, confirmed that I would have out-of-network coverage with a Mexican dentist. There are some things to know about using your American dental insurance south of the border.


When I arrived at the dentist's office, I filled out a standard health questionnaire and was then escorted into a dental office where Dr. Víctor Manuel Pérez Núñez (Dr. Victor) was waiting for me.

When I had gone for an initial visit at different dentists in the United States, they would always start with a series of dental x-rays, which consisted of putting pieces of plastic in every part of your mouth, contorting your jaws while being exposed to the radiation of the radiographs. And, would be very costly. I would then sit in the waiting room for an extended period of time with a very sore mouth, waiting for the x-rays to be developed, before seeing the dentist.

Not so with my Mexican dentist. He first checked the broken molar, which ended up being a wisdom tooth. His assistant moved a tube near my cheek, moved an object next to the tooth, then "click," and an x-ray of my tooth was displayed on a large flat-screen TV on the wall at the end of the chair.

Dr. Victor then continued to examine my teeth, finding one other place where there may have been an issue. Another click and my teeth were again displayed, with no problems.

So I needed to have the wisdom tooth removed, but the dentist told me that the tooth was infected so he could not remove it until the following week. He is able to prescribe medication, so he would provide me with a round of antibiotics.

He recommended that I have a deep cleaning, and I agreed. I was then escorted to an adjoining dentist's office, where I would be flanked by two beautiful and very capable women - Dra. Patricia Ramírez Méndez and a dental hygienist. Both speak English, the hygienist speaks it like a native English speaker.

The dentist brought in the instruments for her work, removing them from the pack where they had been sterilized. After doing a deep cleaning of my teeth, Dra. Ramirez polished my teeth and I was done.

At the front desk, I paid my bill (you can pay in dollars, pesos or with a debit/credit card), made my appointment for the following week and was given a copy of the prescription and a week's worth of amoxicillin.

The bill for the exam, medicine and cleaning was about one-third of what I would have paid a dentist in the United States. And, I would be reimbursed half of that amount by my American dental insurance.

In summary, I was very pleased by the professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness of the Mexican dental office. I was seen promptly at the time of my appointment, all services were provided in a courteous and professional manner, and there was always someone nearby who spoke fluent English.

Read about using your American dental insurance in Mexico.

Visit the Dental Advanced website.


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