weekly blog--one for the ages
Last week my wife and I drove up the coast to Prince Edward Island, Canada from Boston for our annual summer vacation. On the way back, we stopped in Saint John, New Brunswick to see the Reversing Falls, a series of rapids on the Saint John River where the river runs through a narrow gorge before emptying into the Bay of Fundy. The semi-diurnal tides of the bay force the flow of water to reverse against the prevailing current when the tide is high.
At the park overlooking the rapids, we met an older couple from Rochester, New York who were members of the Escapees, a club for RV enthusiasts. Their winter refuge was Brownsville, Texas. One of the reasons that they chose this location was that it was across the border from Matamoros, Mexico, where they could walk over the international bridge to seek affordable dental care.
Dentistry has never gotten much respect in the U.S., where oral health is seen as a cosmetic luxury rather than a necessity. What’s rarely mentioned is that the U.S. is in the midst of a dental care crisis. According to the National Association of Dental Plans (NAPD), 114 million Americans don’t have dental insurance, including 46.3 million people aged 65 or older. And for those who do, the cost of dental work can still be out of reach.
Enter Matamoros and other Mexican border towns such as Palamos and Los Algodones, where for the past 20 years Americans have been saving up to 80% on dental services. For example, a crown that cost $1,000 to $2,000 in the U.S. might cost less than $300 in Mexico; a full bridge about $900 instead of $3,000 to $5,000; a root canal $330 instead of $1,400; a dental nightguard $100 instead of $400.
Studies have shown that the level of satisfaction for dental work in Mexico matches that of the U.S. Now about that wall?