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Why Americans are flocking to one dental office

Mexican Doctors Attracting More American Patients

As the U.S. works to provide better health plans for residents, some Americans are still seeking help across the border.

The Atlantic spoke with Dr. Jessica Nitardy who lives in Texas, but owns a dental practice in Juarez, Mexico. She says almost all of her patients are American.

"I can count my Mexican patients on my fingers... they all come from Austin, Houston, even Florida, Colorado, Alaska ... "

And it's easy to see why: On her website is a table comparing procedure prices at her office, Rio Grande Dental, to those in the U.S. and Canada. Even with the added travel expenses of getting to Juarez, patients can score big savings.

But Americans aren't just seeking health care from across the border.

A New York mother who died while going under the knife for cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic because it was cheaper sparked a warning by U.S. health officials earlier this year.

According to a Gallup Poll report released Monday, 13.4 percent of Americans lack health insurance. This is a sharp drop from the fall of 2013, in part because of Obamacare.

But it might still not be enough to keep Americans from seeking service in border cities because they face high deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

Join the discussion

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Phil Raner May 07 2014 at 1:08 PM

Wake up America! Most of Canada and thousands of Americans flock to Mexico every year to receive dental and vision care as well as cheap medications. Providers are trained in America and use products made in the USA. Great health care for less than half the price.

Don't over look the millions spent on boarder patrol agents checking each us each time we step back on US soil to make sure we have not purchased more than one bottle of booze or in many cases two many cartons of cigarettes.

Really, If this story is new to the media then maybe they need to get their heads out of the sand. Of course the story is not new, it just fits into some one's political agenda to print it today.

A retired guy.

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vafilec_39 Phil Raner May 07 2014 at 1:33 PM

They allow the booze in 3 bottles per person. Maybe it depends on your checkpoint location.

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sacramentodds May 07 2014 at 4:46 PM

I am surprised and diss appointed with so many of these comments. As a Dentist in California who is fluent in spanish, I can tell you that 1/3 of the dentiestry done in Mexico actually compares with american Dental quality wise. One third would have to be redone, and the onther one third would result in lawsuit. i don't drive a mercedes. I actually drive a Honda accord. due to regulation that mandates quality of care, it costs more here to fix your teeth. I have asked my loved employees if they're OK working for 3 dollars/hour to better compete with Mexico.......
I would never do that to them.

My overhead just staying open each month is at least 30 thousand/month. Providing Dental care isn't cheap. Gold, costs the same in Mexico as it does here. You will not find gold in your crowns in Mexico on average. You will have nickol which causes allegies in one 5th of the population. Small example of many that I can name.
Get what you pay for I supose. think about it.

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kcarthey sacramentodds May 07 2014 at 4:56 PM

My Costa Rican dentist, educated in the US, is excellent. Not only that but she spells and writes English more correctly than you do. Thus I have to question your even being a dentist in Calfornia.

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neb1997 kcarthey May 07 2014 at 7:01 PM

I was thinking the exact same thing about sacramentodds.

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friareric May 07 2014 at 4:47 PM

This is nothing new. Check out DentalDepartures.com to see Thousands of clinics not only in Mexico but in many other countries such as Thailand, Costa Rica, and the Philippines.

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skicmee friareric May 07 2014 at 6:32 PM

I just had my teeth fixed while on vacation in the Philippines. I have dental insurance in the US. I paid only $13.50 for a filling and x-rays are $2 which is less then my insurance co-pay. The office is up to US standards. So to the person that keeps saying you get what you pay for. Yes, i got good dental care and I paid less then you for the same thing.

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Rosie May 07 2014 at 4:54 PM

It doesn't matter whether her practice is in Mexico, Texas or Beverly Hills. If she can cut her prices that much to do dental procedures, she is also taking major short cuts to get the prices down. Ask yourself why the costs are less in Mexico for the same dentistry you would get in the US. Because she is cutting corners. Mexico doesn't have the same ethical standards that the US does for dentists, so she doesn't have to provide the same quality, either in workmanship, cleanliness, education or staff professionalism.

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KittyFace Rosie May 07 2014 at 5:10 PM

Another xenophobic American. Maybe the costs are low because the dentist isn't paying themselves a 6 figure salary and working 30 hours a week? Go ahead and keep telling yourself that Mexicans are using stone knives and bear skins and lack the quality American "ethics" that we should be oh so proud of...

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Normie Baby May 07 2014 at 5:02 PM

Dentists in the US pretty much all belong to the ADA. The American Dental Association tells dentists what to charge for each procedure & few dentists deviate.

Ever try to find charity dental work? I have. I figured, living in LA county, it'd be easy. It isn't, even with a computer.

One of the surest signs that you are poor in this country, is decayed & missing teeth. Decayed and missing teeth in one the richest countries in the world.

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tkru164572 May 07 2014 at 5:13 PM

There needs to be Transit Tour Buses to take 50 Dental Patients at a time to Mexico-Screw the USA Rip-off Prices

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asfs1945 tkru164572 May 07 2014 at 5:35 PM

You are so right, Everytime I go to the ER they charge my Insurance company hundreds of dollars for taking my blood pressure

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Anna May 07 2014 at 5:15 PM

I went to a local dentist that wanted to charge $40 extra for cleanings, on top of what my insurance covered. Sure his office had fancy TV's in every room and you got your own head phones and stuffed giraffe, but I switched immediately after receiving my first bill. For a family of 5, that extra cost would have really added up.
I found a really nice, honest dentist that is affordable and good. He doesn't charge for all kinds of extras that aren't even necessary!
If people have to go all the way to Mexico for an affordable dentist, then we need to take a look at medical expenses here!

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assign11 May 07 2014 at 5:18 PM

I have never had dental work done in Mexico but I have comtemplated it and done considerable research on it....from my findings, dental work in Mexico if you choose carefully is just as good as in the US and the savings comes in the dental lab costs and the lack of Mexican dentists paying huge malpractice insurance costs....and also along with just normal overhead costs.

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ewest67978 May 07 2014 at 5:22 PM

I have Dental Work done in Purto Vallarata when I go there to visit my friend and I can assure you their office, rooms, and personel makes my Dentist Office and equipment look shabby here in the States. I pay 1/3rd of the cost in PV as I do here in Atlanta, and my Dentist here has examined the work and has given it a thumbs up. (We were in the service together so there was no hard feelings) for my wishing to save money. There office and equipment is modern as any you will find in the states. My Atlanta dentist said due to his overhead there is no way in the world he could come close to matching my Mexican dentist fee's. You also have a choice of what type and kind of crowns and fillings you prefer and its the same material they use here in the states. This is a resort area of Mexico and they cater to some very Rich worldwide travellers who could afford to have dental work performed anywhere in the world but they choose to have their work done in PV. That speaks for itself.

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dlcampbell2008 May 07 2014 at 5:23 PM

Thankfully, I found a dentist in Tecate, MX, three years ago, who has been a dentist for 38 years. His father was a dentist, his wife is a dentist, his son teaches cosmetic dentistry in Ensenada. If not for him, I would not have my beautiful smile. 90% of his clientele are from the U.S. I went to several dentists here in southern CA and the lowest quote was $15,000. He and his son created my bridge for $1900.00. I am grateful I live close enough to Mexico to take advantage of the dental care. Here, in the U.S., I would be toothless, and without a job. Who hires people without their front teeth? Oh, Dr. Gabriel Adame D.D.S is his name. Google him, he lives and works in Tecate, Mexico. He is also an artist!

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