What do you Expect on a Dental Adventure to Mexico?
For quite a while, I hesitated to write about my eight trips to Sani Dental in Los Algodones, Mexico. However, after repeated visits and saving thousands of dollars, it is time for me to share my experience.
Q: How did you find out where to go in Mexico?
I knew Los Algodones would be much easier to navigate than Tijuana. I posed the question on Facebook Palm Springs Neighborhood Group about which dentist it would recommend for dental work.
Sani Dental came up numerous times. I explored their website. I discovered it was a big clinic; dentists were trained in reputable Universities, and many of them in the United States.
Q: How do you get to Los Algodones?
A: By car, the road trip is about 2.5 hours from Palm Springs. The road is very easy to navigate and hardly any traffic on the trips I have taken there. People from all over the world fly into Yuma, Arizona. The clinic will pick you up for about the 12-mile drive.
Los Algodones operates on Arizona time and has no daylight savings time. Thus, be sure to check the time of your appointment against your time zone.
Q: If you drive, what do you do with your car?
A: On the United States side, there is a very secure parking lot. If you stay overnight, the cost is $10 a night. The walk across the border is very easy, though the pavement is a bit uneven in spots.
Q: Where do you stay?
A. You can stay on the US side at the Quechan Casino. Again, transportation will be provided. However, I prefer to stay at Cielito Lindo, located in the MediPlaza in downtown Los Algodones. It is a lovely clean hotel with a delightful staff.
This hotel is connected to Sani Dental, so that you may get a free night depending on the amount of work done. However, it still only costs $70 a night, so worth all the hassle of border crossing numerous days.
Q: You mentioned days. Why?
A: If you have a crown done, you have to plan on being here for 2.5 days. Crowns are made on the premises so that you will go home with the job completed and with a two-year warranty on it.
If you have a checkup and cleaning done, you can easily have that all done in one day. Thus, it possible to drive back to Palm Spring in one day. However, I have learned to plan for three just in case.
Q: Are the rates for dental work that much cheaper to make the trip worth it?
A: Absolutely. Check the prices on Sani Dental’s website. Those are the prices they charge. After a few visits to their clinic, they will negotiate a bit.
Q: Do you feel safe there?
A: After all of these visits, I have had absolutely no problem or seen any issue. Keep in mind this town is a Medical Tourism destination, so any inappropriate actions would undoubtedly cause harm to the town’s entire economy, for there are no other means for economic support except for the visitors who buy from the vendors.
Q: I heard rumors pharmaceutical drugs are less expensive there?
A: It is true. Be sure to bring your prescriptions with you. Check the border restrictions on that, but I buy Retin A, allergy drugs, and antibiotics there with no problem. Definitely less expensive.
Q: Are eyeglasses really less expensive there?
A: Absolutely. I got a designer frame, which I later found online for $325. I paid $125 for my glasses, including new lenses. I had the lenses checked on my next visit to my regular eye doctor, and the lenses were perfect. You can bring your prescription, and they will make lenses according to your specifications.
I recently got progressive sunglass lenses with anti-glare put into a frame I already had for a cost of $90.
Q: How is the food?
A: Since the pandemic started, restaurants have had to cut back their menus. You might not find your favorite Mexican food on menus, but there are restaurants serving visitors, AND yes, you can get a margarita at any time.
Q. What is the border crossing like today?
A. Because of the pandemic, the border closes at 2:00 p.m. When you are ready to go, be sure to check the guidelines for crossing and the hours. Lines are getting longer to get across the border so be sure to factor in extra time to get through immigration at the border.
My experience is that the dental work is superb. The dentists are well trained, and Sani Dental is part of the American Dental Association.
Kathy Condon is a freelance journalist and travel writer. She is the Founder of the Palm Springs Insider Guide. Her book It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: It’s All About Communication was named Best Book Finalist By USA Book News Kathy@kathycondon.net