A custom-made "hard" mouth-guard would have set me back about $1,100 at just about any dentist in the U,S. (Yes, I am a heavy-duty teeth-grinder during the night.)
At one of the three dentistry practices on Plaza Pequeira, near Calle International, in Mexico, the list price was $360. With the currency situation in favor of the U.S., it really cost me about $330. The trip there from Southern Arizona and back I leveraged into a bit of a vacation.
The Plaza also has a ton of pharmacies. So, you can get your prescriptions filled more cheaply, if you don't have good coverage for medications.
But, I have also discovered that dental tourism demands I be the same alert consumer I am in the U.S.
One of the dental practices took X-rays. It was my first visit so they were free. After a brief consultation with the head dentist, the dentist attending to me gave me some expensive news. All 16 crowns in my mouth would have to be replaced.
The fee per crown was $350 for X kind of material and $450 for Y material. That dental practice put the number of crowns supposedly needed and the fee range per crown in writing. Had I been doing business in the U.S. I would have considered that "evidence" and sent a copy along with my complaint to the appropriate consumer-protection agencies in America.
The reasons why the work was a have-to that dental shop explained to me in a rushed matter with big technical words. Of course, the fee was a lot less expensive than what that would have cost in the U.S. But still, it's a major chunk of change. And, the real issue was: Was the dental work needed?
I planned to check that out on the Internet. But instead, I wound up waiting and then made an appointment for x-rays, a check-up, and cleaning with another one of the three dentists. I played dumb. That is, I didn't volunteer what the other dentist had told me.
The 3-D X rays cost $15. The cleaning $35. The head dentist said my mouth was in very good shape. No need for anything else but a cleaning in six months.
On the way back across the border, other dental tourists were comparing what they had paid for their implants and so on. Some were shocked that others had ponied up less than they had for seemingly similar procedures. I smirked. They should have gotten several estimates before they agreed to have the work done.
The takeaway is that when transacting business in a foreign nation consumers have to be even more cautious than usual.