The Risks of Having Dental Work in Mexico

If you cross the border into Mexico for a day of sightseeing, one of the first sights you will see is an avenue of dentists.  Many border towns in Mexico boast more dental offices than some cities in the States.  The reason for this is the increasing demand for “travel medicine”. 

Many Americans are opting for surgeries, medical treatments, and dental work in Mexico to save money.  The argument for this is that you can have the same procedure done for less than half the cost.  This blog highlights the risks related to having dental work performed in Mexico.

No Follow-Up Care

This is the most common concern that we, as dentists, see after a patient has had dental work completed in another country.  Traveling for medicine may allow you to have a certain procedure done for a lower cost, but it eliminates the possibility of follow-up care. 

It is very common for us to see patients who are currently having a problem with some dental work and unable to return to the dentist who placed it because it was done in another country.  The cost of the initial procedure may be less, but the cost of follow-up care can be very high.  Either you have to purchase flights and accommodations to return to the country where the procedure was performed, or you pay a dentist who is local to follow-up and fix any problems.

Most types of dental work require multiple visits for following up on dental treatment to confirm that it functions properly and looks perfect.  The amount of follow-up care you can receive from the dentist who performed your dental treatment is limited by the amount of time you plan to stay in their country.  Staying longer for improved follow-up on complicated procedures increases the overall cost.

Poor Quality Dental Treatment

Unfortunately, most of the fillings, crowns, bridges and dental implants we see out of Mexico and India are not of good quality.  They do not meet the minimum standard of care in the United States. 

The end-product usually creates problems that leave your teeth at risk for gum disease and cavities.  This questionable dental work would not meet even the lowest standards of what is “clinically acceptable” in the U.S.

No matter where the dental work is performed, low quality dental treatment requires expensive re-dos and replacements.  In some cases, your local dentist will “catch” some of these problems during your periodic evaluations and help you address them before you develop serious dental disease.  In others, you will not know there is a problem until something is very wrong.  Poor quality dental work puts you at risk for gum disease, cavities, dental infections and abscesses.   Do not let poor quality dental work put you at risk for an emergency!

Low Quality Materials

Most non-dental professionals do not realize what a wide array of materials we use in dentistry.  The materials, like the dental work itself, come in a wide range of quality.  In order to perform dentistry more cheaply, dental offices in Mexico and other developing countries save money by using the least expensive dental materials for your dental work. 

For instance a dental crown that is very inexpensive contains different types of metals, known as “base” metals.  Base metals are the opposite of precious metals.  Patients have a much higher risk of being allergic to base metals, which leads to swelling, irritation, and bleeding in the gums around that particular tooth.  Metal allergies are very common and affect millions of Americans.

The soft tissues in your mouth - your gums, lips, cheeks, and tongue - are very sensitive to irritants.  Only precious metals and highly polished porcelain are “hypoallergenic” and safe for almost any person.

Lower Standards in Infection Control and Sterilization

In the United States, dental practices are strictly regulated in the areas of infection control and sterilization.  This is a good thing!  It keeps you, as the patient, as safe as possible.  Every person working in dental offices in the states must undergo yearly training in these areas.  The regulatory agencies require monitoring of sterilization machines to confirm that they are working correctly.  They also specify how we handle hazardous materials, like blood and extracted teeth. 

The goal is to keep you safe!

The measures required by these regulations do have a cost.  Dental offices that perform the best sterilization and infection control will not be cheap.  This is, by far, the most important reason to choose only licensed dental professionals in the United States for your dental care.  Of course, we believe the quality of the dental work is of great importance.  But nothing is more important than your overall health and safety!

Have More Questions about Dental Work in Mexico?

Call your nearest Wellness Dental location to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists.  We will assess the work you currently have and help you get the treatment you need at the highest standard of dental care.

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