Medical tourism, including dental tourism, is a dangerous bargain that often gets passed off as a double value: not only do you get a vacation, you get a cheaper medical procedure.
While we certainly believe it’s reasonable for people to vacation in Mexico, we feel it is our duty to point out the potential risks of having dental implants placed in Mexico.
Cost Savings Usually Come from Safety
One of the most important things to consider when you’re looking to save money on a medical procedure is the basic economic principle: cost always comes from somewhere. There is no magic portal you pass through at the border that instantly makes the same things cheaper for no reason. The truth is that all dental implant cost reductions have to come from somewhere. In the case of a medical procedure like dental implants, the cost reductions come from hundreds of decisions about how that procedure should be conducted, very few of which are actually made inside the dentist’s office.
The dentist may believe they are conducting a very safe procedure because they are following the regulations. But the regulations often set a much different standard not only for the dentist but for all the materials and tools used by the dentist that the procedures ending up being radically different.
A dramatic illustration of how dramatic the difference can be is provided by this crash test performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in which the cheapest car available in the US goes head-to-head with the cheapest car available in Mexico . The difference is dramatic, showing that the Mexican car would likely kill its driver in such a crash, while the US-sold car would protect its driver.
The situation for dental implants is analogous, but it would play out over months rather than seconds.
Read before You Buy
There is another factor to consider as well. Although dentists advertising from Mexico often boast about their expertise and their fluency in English, having looked at a few of their websites, we find reason to doubt both.
Many of these websites are flashy and look great. They seem professional and compelling. The sales pitch is good. But we strongly encourage you to take the time to read the content in detail. You will find that they are often riddled with fluency errors as well as serious technical problems.
The fluency errors we might be willing to forgive. The people may be reasonable speakers, even if they can’t write English clearly. But technical errors must give us pause. They show that the dentist either doesn’t know that these or wrong or that they don’t take the time to check the website. This shows that the dentist views patients brought in by the website as nothing more than a profit source. The goal is to put up a slick-looking website that can fool some people into having a procedure done at the clinic. You’re not worth the time it would take to proofread.
Don’t Forget Follow-Up
A procedure like dental implants benefits from good follow-up care. Who is going to provide that care for your dental implants from Mexico? Are you going to travel back to Mexico for all your follow-up visits? This would be best, because that dentist has the best information about the implant and what type of care is needed. But most likely, the dentist from Mexico will leave much of the follow-up care for your implants to other dentists, performing only the high-profit parts of the procedure.
Dental Implants Are Worth the Investment
When you are considering the procedure, we urge you to focus on the value of dental implants , not on the cost. When performed properly, dental implants are likely to be lifetime restorations , lasting 20, 30, even 50 years. When you consider the cost over that period of time and factor in the risks of a cheaply done procedure, you see that it’s worth it to pay for an implant procedure done right.