- Mary Schreiber Swenson
U.S. Dental Patients Look South of the Border for Cost-Efficient Mexican Care
While the United States has cemented itself in many ways as a modern world leader, a common misconception exists throughout the country that it is the premier source of medical care throughout the world across all sectors. Bolstered by mega-renowned universities and medical schools littered across the nation, the average person may hold to the idea that America, like it does doctors, has more dentists to serve its population than surrounding nations -- but they would be wrong. In fact, the U.S. currently has 61 dentists per 100,000 citizens, standing in stark contrast to its southern neighbor, Mexico, which has nearly double the amount of dentists per capita at 120 dentists per 100,000 citizens.
Unfortunately, due to economic struggles, more than 25 percent of Mexicans have dishearteningly never used a toothbrush, clearly demonstrating the major demand for Mexican dentistry does not come from its own inhabitants. With that in mind, why is it that one lone town in Mexico, Algodones, has the most amount of dentists per capita compared to anywhere else in the world? The answer is simple: its close proximity to the U.S border has made it a go-to for Americans to cross over and receive dental work, with an estimated 3,000 people making the journey each and every day to fix their teeth.
Indeed, the aforementioned fiscal disparities in Mexico are exactly what makes it such an attractive option for foreigners to receive care. Looking to cater to its local population, the plethora of available Mexican dentists offer services at incredibly low prices when compared to the United States, compensating for the dollar-to-peso exchange rate.
Some conventionally pricey procedures in the U.S. are likewise cut into a pint-sized price down south, with four dental implants dropping from $22,000 down to as low as $5,000, root canals from $1,000 to $150, and crowns decreasing from four-figure valuations well into the low threes.
With out-of-pocket fees in Mexico still more competitive than the hard-to-get coverage of dental insurance in the United States, economically challenged Americans have resoundingly agreed that a quick trip to Mexico is likely a far more intelligent financial choice than seeking care in the United States itself, resulting in more than 6 million foreign tourists visiting Mexico for medical procedures per year.
Between its high quality service and cost-efficient rates, Mexico has become an incredibly enticing option for patients that are unable to afford equivalent care in the United States, cementing Mexico as the unexpected hub of North American dentistry, where medical tourism trends anticipate it will remain for years to come.