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Old 12-04-2012, 10:36 PM
 
Location: Bonita, CA
1,271 posts, read 1,715,126 times
Reputation: 1576

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Well, I thought I would wait at least a week to make sure everything turned out OK and no infection or faulty workmanship came to light. So it has been over a few weeks now and I will lay out my after action report on getting some dental work done in TJ.

Situation:
I found myself without dental insurance and a cracked filling. Like always I delayed going to the dentist for about six months and let the thing fester. I finally went to the dentist here in San Diego and the diagnosis was that I needed a root canal, end post (???) and crown. The dentist I went to also recommended I get two other cavities filled and a cleaning. Grand Total $2,200.00, without insurance. the dentist was willing to carry me on a "payment plan" at 23% interest and he would also knock off 10% off the bill. With dental insurance the bill would have been about $1,400.00. I pondered waiting until our next "open season" to obtain dental insurance, but found out that they wouldn't authorize the treatment until one year has passed under coverage. Makes sense...they are in business to make money.

I could have just paid the 2.2K and been done with the whole thing in two visits. Way too much money at this time of the year...and also the dentist seemed to rub me the wrong way. Somewhat arrogant and reminded me of a auto-mechanic shakedown.

Mission:
I decided that I would take the advice of some friends at work and family and get a diagnosis in Tijuana. My intention was to find a dentist that would do the work at a fraction of the cost here in the US and save money for Christmas.


Execution:
I found a dentist in Tijuana and made an appointment. The dentist was recommended by several people I know well so I felt somewhat comfortable. The dentist diagnosed me the same as the US dentist I visited and laid out the following plan and costs:

Administration:
Unlike the US dentist, the work would take multiple visits. I ended up going down five times, including the initial visit. Chalk one up to the US dentist who stated he could start the work on the same visit and be finished by the the second visit (three days later).

The dentist in Tijuana quoted the following:

Root Canal- $150.00
End post-$100.00
Crown-$100.00
2 cavity fill-$50.00
cleaning-$20.00

$420 Total

Sold!


Logistics:
For five weeks, on Wednesday in the afternoon, I have been driving down to San Ysidro and parking in the lot across the street from Jack in the Box on San Ysidro Blvd. Cost is $7.00 a visit. I walk across into Mexico and catch a yellow cab to the dentist. Cost is 3-4 dollars a visit. After the dentist, I catch a taxi libre back to the port of entry. Cost is 3-4 dollars.

By the time I get back to the port, it is usually about a half hour wait to get back into the US. (Don't forget your passport if you do this) I bought a bottle of tequila on two separate visits at the duty free before returning back to the US. 20 bucks each visit.

On one of the less invasive visits, the wife and I ate at a Argentina steakhouse in Zona Rio before returning to the US. Cost was 40 dollars with several beers and sides.

Communication:
Fortunately I speak spanish well enough to have done this on my own and my wife, a native spanish speaker, helped out with some of the "dental" lingo. But the thing I found most remarkable was the dentist and all his staff spoke fluent english it wasn't the broken english you get sometimes, but english comparable to an american education. The cab driver's not so much, but I did well. I have always thought of getting into a taxi in TJ as an adventure and somewhat a leap of faith.

In the end, with all the visits, cabs, parking, tequila, food, and chicle I dropped about $500.00 square. The work has turned out to be just fine and no pain or complications. The office was clean and modern and the staff was friendly. I recommend if anyone has a dental problem and in the same position. I guess the only negative thing was having to drag out the process and travel to TJ and wait in the line to come back.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:29 PM
 
Location: San Diego
774 posts, read 1,450,719 times
Reputation: 458
Quote:
Originally Posted by echo42 View Post
The dentist in Tijuana quoted the following:

Root Canal- $150.00
End post-$100.00
Crown-$100.00
2 cavity fill-$50.00
cleaning-$20.00
What type of crown was it?
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:40 PM
 
Location: Bonita, CA
1,271 posts, read 1,715,126 times
Reputation: 1576
Metal base with Porcelain.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:38 AM
 
Location: Talmadge, San Diego, CA
14,393 posts, read 27,940,661 times
Reputation: 8807
I plan to go over myself before next summer to get the dental work done that I need. The low income clinic in North Park wanted 4x more than it would cost to get it done in TJ.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:20 AM
 
Location: San Diego
200 posts, read 306,061 times
Reputation: 86
Awesome and helpful info. Thanks!
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:27 PM
 
7 posts, read 14,116 times
Reputation: 10
Default very smart

some people might think this is ghetto, but i loved it, my usa insurance sucks! its $300 a month for a family of 4, $500 deductable each person per year, and i still pay 20% of the bill after that. ouch.

i have herd of some one doing this, and they had nothing but good thing to say about it.

good job!
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:03 PM
 
1,830 posts, read 2,345,605 times
Reputation: 2623
Any chance you would provide a name of the dentist or office?
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:22 PM
 
Location: 92037
4,630 posts, read 9,339,771 times
Reputation: 1946
echo42,

This is a great post, thanks for sharing this.

Although I have not experienced this myself, colleagues and friends that either grew up in TJ or are there frequently, tell me many good dentist offices are quite nice and everything you described sounds about on par with what they have said.
Albeit at a fraction of the cost.

BTW, was the tequila for any potential post procedure pain
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:40 PM
 
Location: San Diego
774 posts, read 1,450,719 times
Reputation: 458
Quote:
Originally Posted by shmoov_groovzsd View Post
BTW, was the tequila for any potential post procedure pain
Just in case anyone's not aware of this: you shouldn't mix alcohol and NSAIDs that people sometimes take after root canals.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Bonita, CA
1,271 posts, read 1,715,126 times
Reputation: 1576
Quote:
Originally Posted by mortpes View Post
Any chance you would provide a name of the dentist or office?
I don't mind sharing it all. Is that OK to do? I saw a guy get kicked off for promoting something once. I definitely didn't write this to promote a certain dentist, just a review of the circumstances.

I guess PM me and I can send the number.
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