Pacific Dental is located one mile from the border in Tijuana, Mexico. Its easy accessibility may make it ideal for many seeking to cross international borders for dental care. In 2005, the clinic was featured in a CBS news segment on medical tourism in Tijuana. There, Americans can receive health care from 50% to 60% of the cost in the United States.1
The clinic’s certified dentists perform general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. They provide services for dental bleaching, porcelain veneers, tooth bonding, crowns, dental implants, dentures, and root canal treatment. They specialize in porcelain fused to metal and ceramic restorations such as Express 2, Finesse, Optec, and Procera. They have a laboratory, allowing them to make and adjust crowns and bridges on-site.2 Staff members adhere to the guidelines set by the American Dental Association, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control.3
Quality health care, without the long waiting periods or big bills, is available in Mexico. It was estimated that in 2006, over a million people worldwide crossed borders for medical treatment. In a study by the University of Texas Medical Center in El Paso, it was estimated that between the United States and Mexico’s border 20 million crossings were made for the sole purpose of health care.4 With more dentists per capita than any other country, Mexico is said to be the dental capital of the world. Dental training and certification in Mexico is very similar to those in the United States. Many of the dentists in Mexico receive their training in the United States and/or Europe.5
Though the quality is comparable to the United States, health care in Mexico is less expensive. In Mexico, a crown and a root canal cost about $210 and $1706 , respectively.
Whereas in the United States, a porcelain crown costs between $800 and $2,200 and a root canal runs between $350 and $800. The estimates, which may be higher at some dentists, exclude any treatment and procedures necessary before the actual root canal.7
Pacific Dental’s website gives basic information on the clinic’s services. Although there is a before and after photo gallery and a map with directions, information about the doctors or staff is not available. One may find it odd or even be dubious about seeking treatment at a facility whose email account is with hotmail. The clinic’s professional and well laid out website may be viewed in English and Spanish.
The severe lack of information or testimonials available may or may not speak for the quality of dental care provided at Pacific Dental. A patient, who originally sought treatment in San Diego, found an affordable and permanent solution in Mexico. His daughter and grandchildren regularly receive their dental care there. He found the Tijuana dentists he dealt with to be very professional and competent with the latest equipment and techniques. Also, “more importantly, they seemed to really care about their patients as opposed to a lot of US dentists who, when you open your mouth, only see dollar signs.”8