|Posted by [email protected] on December 7, 2015 at 12:20 AM||comments (0)|
How and Why I made my decision:
When my dentist quoted me $9,000.00 - $15,000.00 (depending if I went with bridges or implants and crowns), I decided to research my options.
The dental school in Milwaukee was out of the question, as it would take months of driving in heavy traffic about 30 miles each way, spending hours as they worked on each step, and doing more work in my mouth then I requested. This brought the costs close to where my regular dentist quoted.
Searching the internet, the town of Los Algodones, Mexico came up. Los Algodones is located at the corners of California, Arizona and Mexico, about 7 miles from Yuma, Az. After reading several blogs, and liking what I read, I started researching the dental clinics and narrowed it down to 3 or 4 with good reviews. I spoke to several of my long term clients about it (I am a massage therapist) and 2 of them had been there, several more had friends who go there regularly for their dental, and all of them were very happy with the results.
Decision Made - Next Steps:
I called Dental Departures, dentaldepartures.com, they asked me what I planned on getting done and recommended Sani dental to me because of the different types of work I needed, Sani has their own lab with all the specialists in one place, were on my short list and I liked most of the reviews I read about them.
Dental Departures, booked the appointments for my husband, Bob and I and the hotel rooms. The first hotel was in Mexico, the Hacienda, if you spend $1000.00 at Sani they will pay for one night there, $2000.00 they will pay for 3. Regular price is only $39.00 a night. The second hotel was located about 2 miles over the border on the US side, The Quechan Casino at $69.00 a night during the week and $105.00 on the weekend if you have one of their player's cards.
We booked the week of September 13 - 20th 2015, not knowing how long everything would take and trying to avoid the snowbirds that make up most of Los Algodones from November - March. We flew Southwest Airlines to Phoenix approx. $350.00 pp, renting a subcompact car for about $150.00 w/taxes and fees for a week.
Los Algodones and nearby area:
Arriving in Phoenix, we drove a little less than 3 hours to Yuma, where we stopped to watch the Packer game at a great sports bar and restaurant called Yuma Landing. They also have a trivia and karaoke night, we did come back and play trivia.
After the game we drove about 10 minutes to the border, parked in the large Quechan parking lot on the US side, $6.00 a day or $20.00 per night, for a standard vehicle. I called the Hacienda and an employee, Tony, picked us up on the Mexican side, (you just walk right through from the parking lot into Los Algodones, without a problem). They will also pick you up at the Yuma airport. Note: the border closes at 10 pm sharp.
As we drove through town all we saw were signs for dentists (there are hundreds), eyeglasses, pharmacies and a couple of restaurants. The town is only about 5 blocks in any direction. It was Sunday and noone on the streets, making it look like a ghost town, and giving me some second thoughts. However, Los Algodones is considered a very safe town, one person described it safer than Disneyland!
The Hacienda: http://haciendalosalgodones.com/
The Hacienda is just on the outskirts of town and in walking distance of everything.
It is a quaint older Mexican style hotel, rooms are small, but clean and the people that work there are friendly. The rooms have a tv with both Mexican and American stations, a refrigerator, but there wasn't a hair dryer and only a few towels in the bathroom. They have a small restaurant with good food and a nice warm pool.
Everyone at the hotel is there for there dental work and several we spoke to come down often and were very happy with the dentists that treated them. They do not serve alcohol, but you can bring your own and sit out by their pool or large outdoor patio by the restaurant. We did bring our car in the next couple of nights, as they had enough safe parking spaces. We enjoyed our stay there.
Other than the one at the Hacienda, The El Parasio was the other restaurant we dined at. Prices were very reasonable; an omelet was $3.50 with potatoes and was very good, as were the tacos and other mexican food. They have a large open area in back if you want to eat outside and a tortoise that is 68 years old walking around, looking for handouts. Other places to eat include, the Calliente across the street (more of a sports bar), the deli in the big purple pharmacy, the Pueblo Viejo, near the border crossing looks interesting and heard it is good. There are also several $1.00 taco vendors on the streets.
Sani Dental - sanidentalgroup.com
After breakfast at the El Parasio, Bob and I went to our first appointment at Sani. The place was clean with a line of chairs filled with Americans and some Canadians. We had diagnostics done ( a CT scan, since I decided to go with implants), A short time time later, we spoke to the people in charge of overseeing the treatments and quoted us prices. I had my dental plan from back home with me, and would recommend that, as they do try to upsell you from what you actually need. Also they can only use your xrays if they are less than 3 months old. I stuck with my plan and with 3 implants, 2 crowns, taking my bridge off and extracting a decayed tooth. I also ended up having to have a root canal.
The total price came to approximately $5000.00, $3200.00 on this trip and $1800.00 when I come back to finish the implants. They take cash, personal checks, and credit cards (they charge an extra 4%). Most of the dental clinics don't take dental insurance. I used my regular checkbook and line of credit checkbook for most of it, with some cash.
Waiting for a short time in the lobby, I then met with the dentist who did my crowns, he was very kind and made sure I was comfortable the whole time. The only sedation I had was novocain and a medicated swab to my teeth. I spent a few hours the first day with him, preparing the teeth for the crowns, and making temporaries. The next day he did my root canal, and took impressions, which took another couple hours and on the third day they were put in and I went directly to the implant specialist.
The implant specialist was also very nice and made sure I wouldn't be in any pain. He removed my bridge, pulled the decayed tooth and drilled in the 3 screws for the implants all within an hour and a half or less. The total time I spent in the dental clinic was about 10-11 hours and I was done with the dental for this trip! It was definitely the right way to go for me, having the lab and specialists in one building. And they have a 2 year warranty. The downside was the power went out quite a bit on one of the days for short periods of time.
Many of the dentists in Algodones are double certified in the US and Mexico, and speak English well, however, there are some "pickers" hired by unethical clinics to solicit new clients and bring them to their clinics.
Another dentist recommended by my clients and several people we met is Dr. Rubio- dentalrubio.com, He didn't have the specialists in one place and at the time didn't take checks, so he didn't work as well for me. You can also get more recommendations from Dentaldepartures.com.
Medina Medical Specialties - medicalmedina.com
Another great find was the Medina clinic for chronic pain. It is located on the first street by the border and is run by a father and son. They offer PRP, prolotherapy, and stem cell treatments for chronic pain.
PRP is platelet rich plasma using your own anti-coagulated blood for long lasting healing of tendon, muscle, ligament, joint injuries and arthritis. Prolotherapy uses normally a dextrose solution injected into the ligament or tendon that attaches to the bone, causing localized inflammation, which increases blood flow and supplies the nutrients to help tissue repair. Average number of treatments are 4- 6, but some people need more.
I had a consultation with Dr. Medina Sr. to find out what would be best for the bone on bone osteoarthritis in my knees. I didn't have the time it would take to do the weekly injections, but I knew they also did stem cell injections. Dr., Medina called his son in who does the stem cell injections and explained how they take the cells out of your hip, the first part of the injection which is saturated with the most stem cells is injected in your worst knee, the rest, which still has quite a few is injected into the other.
They don't currently do it in this office, but they would transport me to an operating room in Mexicali, do the injections and bring me back. The cost as I was told by Dr. Medina Sr. was $1500.00 for both knees. When I researched the places in the US it was approximately $5500.00- $7500.00 (insurance does not cover).
I am going to do this on my trip back in the spring of 2016 when I get my implants finished. I really enjoyed talking with the Medinas and their waiting room was filled with satisfied Americans.
One other thing Dr. Medina Sr. spoke to me about was how his daughter-in-law does PRP on the face (vampire face lift) also at their office on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Again, using your own blood and spinning to get the platelets used in your face to get rid of wrinkles. $240.00 for that which is a real bargain compared to prices in the US, botox treatments would cost more. It is another thing I may be a guinea pig for in the spring. Speaking of Botox, prices in Algodones are about $6.00-$6.50 a unit.
The big purple pharmacy is the biggest and most popular, it has a liquor store and deli/ice cream parlor in it. We mainly used it as a landmark for directions, as we found better prices at another pharmacy. The "pickers" on the street would always try to send us to the Phoenix pharmacy, though when we checked their prices, they were actually more than the others.
Our favorite pharmacy was the American Pharmacy, located next to the El Parasaio restaurant. They gave me great deals on Retin A , $16.25 for the .05% and $19.60 for the 1.0%. Everything is much less expensive, from antibiotics to Viagra and much more. You don't need a prescription, although I would stick with the brand names and not go with the generic.
.Yet another great find was Dr. Robles Guzman who was in the pharmacy, his wife runs it and his office was right next door. He heard me complain about my knees and mentioned he gives the hylauronic injections, similar to what I had in Wisconsin for $68.00 a knee! I had paid about $700.00 per knee with a large discount several years ago, other places charging much more. Needless to say I took him up on it and was very pleased. He took more time with me, extracting fluid and being as gentle as possible. My knees felt so much better and it will keep me going until I get the stem cell injections.
We did not visit any on this visit, but they are everywhere and several people I spoke with said the prices were about 1/3-1/2 the price in the US. They were also very happy.
Yes, they have pushy street vendors and you can just say no gracias and move on or check out their wares and you can get some great deals. We found they will come down to about 1/2 the price of what they originally quoted when you walk away from them.
The town and vendors usually close up by 5 pm everyday, however, El Parasaio restaurant is usually opened another hour or so. Basically there is not any night life there.
Also several and low prices, though we did not imbibe on this trip. We were taking several medications for pain and antibiotics.
Quechan Hotel and Casino - www.playqcr.com
After we left the Hacienda, we spent the next three nights at The Quechan Resort and Casino, the rooms were bigger, the bed was more comfortable, but does not have a refrigerator. What it does have is a great pool, hot tub and lazy river and if you want some gambling action has plenty of that. The restaurant we ate in for breakfast was good and you could get discounts on the rooms and food if you signed up for a players card.
Andrade Border Crossing/Parking Lot
7 miles west of Yuma is the Andrade Border crossing to Los Algodones, going in is no problem, you just walk right through the gates. Going back to the US if you are walking, you go through a building where they have you show your passport, ask you if you have anything to declare and what your business in Mexico was.
If you are driving back to the US you are stopped and asked the same things, what you brought back with you, and what your business in Mexico was, also showing your passport (They did not have a sense of humor when I showed them my teeth).
They do not check your car unless you are the lucky one who is pulled over for a random search. This happened to us once and took them about 10-15 minutes to check everything.
We didn't have a very long waiting time, however, I have been told if you go during the busy times, Nov.- March, you can wait as long as 2 hours to return to the US.
Since we had extra time, we took a side trip to San Diego, about 2 1/2 hours away. There we stopped at Mission Beach, walked the beach, had lunch and did a little shopping for souvenirs. Next we drove to the Marina and took pictures under the huge statue of "Unconditional Surrender", the sailor kissing the nurse after WWII ended. That has been on my husbands bucket list for years. Also parked there was the huge aircraft carrier, The Midway and an area that had a tribute to Bob Hope, with a statue of him talking to service members as he did in his overseas shows. It was a very pleasant day.
We tried to find some nightlife in Yuma one evening, but the places we stopped at really didn't have much going on. The best place we found was still the Yuma Landing and we did enjoy the friendly people and bartenders there. We did get a trivia team together at the bar and came close to winning.
Our final night was near the Phoenix/Tempe airport. We stayed at SpringHill Suites, online deal of $75.00 per night, had a great suite and warm pool and met some friendly people. They have one of the better free breakfast buffets I have had in a hotel. We had dinner at the Mellow Mushroom in Tempe, near campus, a great area to visit, and we were on our way back home the next morning.
We will be going back in spring of 2016 to finish my implants, Bob will get a 4 tooth bridge (he was unable to get work done because of an infection in his tooth, they had to extract it), and I will be getting my stem cell injections in my knees. If there's some money left over I may even get the vampire lift!
We may also try flying into Yuma.
-The people at dentaldepartures.com can help you decide on clinic, set up your appointments and hotel stays and can answer any other questions.
-medicalmedina.com is a great place to find out more about pain management procedures
-Go during the off times, November - March are the busiest
-The border opens at 6am and closes at 10pm sharp
-Bring your passport and dental plan from your dentist
Other Websites for affordable Medical:
lifeextension.com - joining life extension you can save big on blood tests, especially during their yearly blood test sale
lifelinescreening.com - will send you notifications on screenings in your area for cardiovascular,heart, and several types of cancer
clinicalconnection.com - join studies related to your medical conditions and get compensated for your time and free medications