Tijuana (South of San Diego): A Place for a Dental Daycations
With the boom in dental tourism lately, one might get curious and want to trace its roots. In the history of dental clinics catering to Americans and other foreigners traveling for lower dental costs, one town emerges as the dental archaeologist’s choice: Tijuana. For more than thirty years, this place has been where Californians and other Americans go to get affordable dentistry done. Even though it is in Mexico, some people consider Tijuana to be part of the San Diego metropolitan area. The telephone company certainly does: They gave it the same 619 area code!
Tijuana is Mexico's San Diego
Tijuana is the Mexican twin to San Diego. If ‘staycation’ became the cool new term for a vacation close to home, then ‘daycation’ would be the word for what San Diegans do in Tijuana. It has long been a place for a nice day trip to hang out on the beach, sip margaritas in the bars with breezy balconies overlooking the old town strip, and visiting the discount factory clothes outlets. US citizens do not even need a passport to cross the border, even though one is recommended to avoid hassles.
Generally, however, Tijuana is a friendly and safe neighbor to visit. Many people cross the border back and forth all day long for work. In addition to the geographical trust factor is the professional one: Tijuana dentists have all received their degrees from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Tijuana (UABC), considered to be the best dental school in Mexico. They do not take their dentistry lightly, and they love Americans, all 25 million of them that live nearby enough to make the trip affordably. Many clinics offer English speaking staff to escort patients to and from the border. With its close proximity to the international line, patients do not have to plan for accommodations or any other aspects of a full vacation stay, unless they want to.
Tijuana is Safe for Dental Tourism
Despite all the recent news and concern regarding safety in Mexico, Tijuana is considered the safest city there. This is not only because it is so far north and close to America, but also because of the government practices there to ensure tourist safety. Statistics show that per capita, Tijuana is safer than San Diego! Border crossing is now done with a Fast Pass, which most clinics will give you so you can cross back over the border quickly. Think of it like validated parking for your passport.
Other fast border crossing options are available as well, such as parking in the general lot, and being picked in a car or van by the dental clinic staff. Hunt around online for the clinic with the reputation, reviews, prices, and services to suit your taste. Remember, they are all competing for your business, so most of them will bend over backwards to get you there! Once you are there, you can expect to pay 70% less than the United States for procedures such as veneers, crowns and bridges, and dental implants.
If you remember the romanticized tales of the Wild West, or the saloon stories of besotted sailors stirring up trouble, then you may imagine the single extraction of the tooth that that got the short end of the stick in a fistfight. Whatever the reason for your visit, no one is going to judge you. Mexican dentists are simply there to help with a smile, theirs and yours! Most of them take cash, and will even help you fill out the insurance forms to get your claim reimbursed once you get home. The bigger clinics even have a bank and an ATM in the building.
International Dental Clinics All Along US-Mexico Border
The best news is that since the success of dental tourism in Tijuana, foreign dental clinics have sprung up all along the northern tier of Mexico directly south of the border. This makes your point of crossing convenient no matter how far East along the Interstate 10 you go. The kissing cousin to Tijuana is Los Algodones, just to the south of Yuma. So, if your horse takes you west through Arizona, or you find yourself wanting to roam Mexico once you cross over the border, then many affordable dental clinics await you on the frontier. Even people from Los Angeles, and as far away as Canada love to venture here. But then, it becomes more than a dental ‘daycation,’ doesn’t it!
The point of the ‘daycation’ in Tijuana is that you are free to take advantage of the free consultation and exam, even if it is just a side trip from something else, without committing an entire day to the dentist. This takes a lot of pressure off people who are just perusing at this point.