If you need implants but are hesitating to get them because of the price, you may want to consider getting dental implants in Mexico. Dental implants are extremely expensive, some costing thousands of dollars for just a single tooth, and that's where dental tourism comes in.
That's why many Americans choose to get their dental work in Mexico. It's way cheaper, the quality in many clinics is the same or better than in the United States and there are hundreds of clinics operating at high standards just across the border.
And people don't just get dental implants in Mexico, they get all sorts of work done for a better price!
If you're considering visiting a dentist in Mexico, chances are you have some questions. That's why you'll find lots of useful information in this guide including the answers to the following questions:
- Where should you go for dental work in Mexico?
- What should you expect with dental tourism in Mexico?
- How much can you save on implants and other dental work?
- What are the qualifications for dentists in Mexico?
- What precautions should you take before choosing a dentist in Mexico?
You'll also find out how much popular treatments like dental implants in Mexico cost.
We hope you find this information useful and it helps you decide whether getting dental work in Mexico is right for you.
Table of contents
Why get dental work in Mexico?
The reason why so many people cross the border or catch a flight just for dental tourism in Mexico is simple: dental work in Mexico costs up to 80% less than in the US and Canada.
Mexico welcomes over one million medical tourists each year, with around 70% coming from the southern states of California, Texas and Arizona. The majority travel for dental work in Mexico including implants, braces, veneers, and other cosmetic dentistry.
Even if you have the best dental insurance, your plan likely won't come close to covering the cost of cosmetic dentistry and elective treatments. Major restorative work will probably exceed your annual limits, too. Some Mexican clinics do accept US dental plans to help towards your treatment cost, so it's worth asking your chosen clinic about this.
Getting dental work done in Mexico isn't just about the cost, though. Aside from this, visitors are generally impressed with the standards of hygiene and care they experience.
There is heavy competition, particularly in the towns in Mexico known for hosting guests in search of lower-cost dental care, and this pushes dentists to constantly invest in the best equipment and training. The majority of dentists in Mexico speak very good English and take pride in the work they do.
You can also benefit from shorter wait times, especially if you need to see a specialist like an endodontist (for a root canal) or periodontist (for gum problems). Many clinics have dentists from all specialties working in one place, so you don't need to wait weeks nor travel miles for an appointment.
If you're ready to find a quality dental clinic in Mexico, MTC can help. They are experienced is finding reputable clinics abroad, and they are serious about customer service. Fill in your details in the form below and you'll get a prompt callback and a free quote.
Is it safe to get dental work in Mexico?
There are certain precautions you can take to minimize any risks when considering dental tourism in Mexico, including researching your chosen dentist's training, accreditation, and previous work. You should also make sure the dental clinicians follow basic hygiene best practices, for example by wearing face masks and sterile gloves. There is more information about what to check and research towards the end of this article.
You might also be concerned about your general safety when getting dental work in Mexico. You're right to exercise caution since many of the towns and cities we mention below have a not-too-distant history of drug crime and street violence.
However, they have made a big effort in recent years to clean up their acts and become safer for visitors, usually with the aim of attracting more medical tourists.
It's natural to be concerned about safety, particularly if your treatment involves invasive oral surgery which carries a greater risk of infection. But remember that with teeth implants in Mexico, or any dental work anywhere, there is always a small chance of complications, no matter how good your dentist is.
Check out our Mexico dentist reviews article if you want to know what other people thought when getting dental treatment including dental implants in Mexico.
Training for dentists in Mexico
Undergraduate programs for dentists in Mexico last for four years, with a fifth year of ‘social service'. This final year gives the student dentist practical clinical experience before they begin working independently.
Dental school is subsidized in Mexico. This gives dental students more time to focus on their training rather than having to work hard to pay their fees. It also means they have little or no student debt to pay off when they graduate, and this is reflected in the Mexico dental prices.
One downside of dental education is that dentists in Mexico aren't required to take any continuing education. In the US and Canada, dentists must demonstrate continuing education and up-to-date knowledge in order to retain their license. In Mexico, however, a dentist may continue to practice without ever refreshing their training.
You might be impressed with your Mexican dentist's 15 years' experience, but have they taken courses to stay up-to-date with the latest technology and practices? The best dentists in Mexico choose to invest in their education even though it is not a legal requirement. Ask your dentist for evidence of continuing education.
Regulation for dentistry in Mexico
There is no obligation for dentists in Mexico to register with a governing body. This lack of regulation means that there is a wide variety of standards in clinics across the country.
However, those dentists involved with the dental tourism industry recognize the need to prove their expertise. Therefore, many register with the Mexican Dental Association (ADM) which assesses and monitors dental skills.
They must complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain this certification, so it's certainly worth looking for in your search for a good dentist.
Some dentists may have an American Dental Association (ADA) membership. Be aware that this doesn't mean they are endorsed by the ADA; only that they have a valid license and pay the membership fee. If you're looking for ADA accredited dentistry — then you may want to find a dentist in Puerto Rico.
What dental work can you get done in Mexico?
The most common dental treatments in Mexico include dental implants, dentures, veneers and teeth whitening services. Some patients bundle treatment to make the trip even more cost-effective.
Here is an overview of some of the most common types of dental work in Mexico. Following this section, you'll find approximate Mexico dentists' prices for these procedures, so you can see how much you might save by crossing the border for dental tourism in Mexico.
Dental implants in Mexico
The price of dental implants in Mexico compared to North America means you can save hundreds of dollars on a single implant and tens of thousands on full implants.
Teeth implants in Mexico often use the same systems available in the US, but you should check this before having any work done. If your implant system is one that your home dentist is unfamiliar with, it can be harder to maintain.
Both the US and Mexican dental implant process usually requires three visits. On your first trip, you'll have the implant itself screwed into your jaw bone.
A few months later, after it has settled, you can return for the abutment and, if applicable, a temporary crown. Finally, you get your permanent crown and the process is complete.
When comparing the cost of dental implants in Mexico to the price quoted in the US, remember to factor in transport and accommodation for all of these visits.
All-on-4 dental implants in Mexico
If you don't want to wait months for your new teeth, consider getting All-on-4 dental implants in Mexico instead. Many people opt for All-on-4 implants because the cost of permanent dentures in Mexico is much less than in the United States. Additionally, this system has several benefits over traditional implants in general:
- It uses 4-6 implants per jaw so it costs less
- Temporary dentures are fitted at the first visit
- Treatment is completed in two visits
All-on-4 is not for everyone, though. Read more in our complete guide to decide which type of implant would suit you.
Dentures in Mexico
If you have lost one or more teeth, dentures are a more affordable option than implants. You can get porcelain and acrylic dentures in Mexico, just like in the US. You'll probably find that dentures in Mexico are made much more quickly so you can have a complete smile even sooner.
The cost of veneers in Mexico depends on the type of veneer you choose.
Composite veneers are built up around your existing teeth using a soft material which is then hardened. These can be done in a single visit and they are the least costly option. The downside is that they only last around five years before the material starts to erode.
Porcelain veneers are much longer-lasting but also more expensive. They also usually require more of your natural tooth to be removed for fitting. The exception is Lumineers, which are an ultra-thin type of porcelain.
When people get dental veneers in Mexico it's most often porcelain veneers, since these have a better esthetic appearance and are more durable.
Braces in Mexico
Although braces cost less in Mexico, they aren't really a suitable treatment for dental tourism, because you need to visit your dentist every month or so to check your progress and have adjustments.
However, getting braces in Mexico can still be cost-effective if you live very close to the border and each visit only takes a few hours out of your day. Just be sure to check how long your treatment will take and how often you'll need to go for checkups.
Ask yourself whether you're prepared to travel to Mexico, say, 15 times over the course of your orthodontic treatment. Is the extra time worth the money you'll save on braces costs in Mexico?
If you need to wear a retainer at night to keep your teeth in position, you may also consider getting this from a Mexico dentist. Retainers usually only need to be replaced once a year, unless they get damaged.
Cosmetic dentistry in Mexico
You can get other cosmetic dentistry in Mexico, including professional teeth whitening. This might be something you want to bundle in with other treatment while you're there. Do keep in mind that whitening won't affect the color of any artificial teeth (i.e. implants, veneers, crowns and bridges).
Cosmetic dentists in Mexico who participate in dental tourism are held to high standards, so you can feel confident about the safety of the procedure.
Dental crowns and root canals in Mexico
A root canal in Mexico is also much more affordable than in the United States, as are any dental crowns you might need to cap damaged teeth. The cost of dental crowns in Mexico is $250 to $400, so quite a bit of savings there.
Dental crowns in Mexico usually take one to two days to produce; much quicker than you'll usually find in the US. Be wary of dentists offering same-day dental crowns in Mexico (unless they are CEREC crowns) because they may be cutting corners.
Other dental work in Mexico
You may even find that routine dental care like cleanings, root scaling, and fillings work out to be cheaper if your travel costs and times are not too great.
Mexico dentist prices
By now you have probably visited your local dentist to get a quote for the work you need. If not, it's a good idea to do this so you can accurately compare prices for dental work in Mexico, and see if the lower Mexico dentist prices make it worth going to Mexico for dental work, considering cost and time needed to travel.
Either way, chances are you're reading this article because you can't afford to get the work you need back home. Even relatively simple procedures can cost thousands of dollars. If you need extensive work, especially teeth implants, you're easily looking at five figures.
Well, there's good news because the cost of dental implants in Mexico can be 75% cheaper than in the US while still using the same high-quality materials. The same goes for a lot of other common dental procedures.
Note that your dentist in Mexico may recommend a slightly different treatment plan than your US dentist. This can be for a number of reasons, but sadly it's sometimes the case that certain dentists recommend more expensive treatment to bolster their profits. If you're unsure, get another opinion.
Here are some approximate dental costs in Mexico for common treatments:
Single tooth implant
$700 - $1,200
$6,000 - $12,000
Acrylic dentures (upper or lower)
$350 - $600
Dental bridge (3-unit)
$600 - $1,000
Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crown
$250 - $400
$300 - $600
Why is dentistry in Mexico cheaper?
So why are teeth implants in Mexico so much cheaper? The main factor that makes prices so much lower when getting dental work done in Mexico is the cost of living.
You needn't worry that the lower Mexico dentists' prices equate to lower standards when it comes to dental work in Mexico. Even though dental prices in Mexico are lower, reputable clinics are held to the same standards as dentists in the US and use the same materials.
Back to the cost of living — when rent, staff wages, and business overheads are all reduced, the dentist doesn't need to charge as much. One clinic in Tijuana, for instance, pays dentists around a fifth of the standard US salary.
It has also been able to reduce costs by bringing certain services like claims processing in-house rather than paying a third party to do them.
Remember that your dental plan may include coverage (in or out of network) for some dentists in Mexico. Check your policy to see if you are eligible for any extra discounts through your insurance company.
Don't have dental insurance? Dentalinsurance.com makes it easy to search and enroll in plans. All you have to do is enter your zip code and date of birth and you'll see the best dental insurance plans available in your state.
It's really important to have dental insurance when getting treatment done abroad. Click the link below to get started.
Where to get dental implants in Mexico
Mexico is one of the few countries that patients can drive, or even walk to for lower-cost dental work. Because of this, dentistry in Mexico is growing ever more popular and many “dental towns” have sprung up along the border, catering almost exclusively to Americans crossing from the US. If you live further away and are planning to fly, there are other locations for dentistry in Mexico which have more convenient airport access.
Also, consider what you want from your trip. Some patients go purely for the dentistry in Mexico, while others prefer to add a few extra days to their trip and turn it into a vacation. If you're planning a dental holiday in Mexico, you probably want to choose a location that's a tourist destination in its own right.
If crossing the border
Los Algodones (bordering Arizona)
If you are looking for dentists on the Mexico border, you may want to head to Los Algodones, where Mexican dental prices are some of the lowest. Known as ‘Molar City‘ because of the high concentration of dental clinics, Los Algodones is just on the other side of the border from Yuma, Arizona.
People often come here for major dental work, particularly seniors who are uninsured and haven't been able to pay for dental work for decades.
Dental work in Los Algodones is usually completed very quickly, even if you need to have an implant, crown, or denture made to order, thanks to the number of clinics and dental labs there.
Because of the competition for dental patients in Los Algodones, many clinics offer shuttle services to their patients. Pick-up points can be as far away as the Phoenix area, almost 200 miles away.
If you choose to make your own way, the quickest option is to walk across. Most clinics are just a couple of blocks from the border so it's easier to park and walk than to face hours stuck in line for customs on your return journey.
You'll find a fair number of opticians and pharmacies in Los Algodones too, so your dental trip could be a good opportunity to see to some other needs at the same time.
In the video below, Michael Kosta with the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, heads down to Molar City to see for himself why so many US Americans are crossing the border to get their dental care.
In the video, a dentist from Arizona even says that he'd prefer people go to Mexico to get the care they need than not get the care at all because they can't afford it in the US. (Be aware of some PG-13 language).
Tijuana (bordering California)
If you are looking for Mexican dentistry in Tijuana, Mexico, you can catch the San Diego Trolley to the border. It's about a half-hour ride from downtown San Diego. Most dental clinics there are not within walking distance of the border, so you'll need to take a taxi or public transport from once across. Alternatively, ask your clinic if they can pick you up once you cross the border on foot.
It's best to avoid driving across unless you want to spend hours in line getting back across the border.
If you're planning to do this trip, take a look at the video below. This couple has been traveling to a Tijuana dentist for their Mexican dentistry for the past 10 years and this video gives a good idea of what it's like crossing the border for a day trip.
Tijuana had a bad reputation as recently as a decade ago because of violence, but it is now a much safer place and there is a lot of investment going into the medical tourism industry there.
Dentists in Mexico near the Texas border
65 miles south of Tucson, Arizona you'll find the city of Nogales. Getting dental implants in Nogales, Mexico is becoming more popular every year. Its clinics are clustered right on the border which makes it convenient to cross by foot.
For a dentist in Mexico near the Texas border, take a look at Juarez (near El Paso) and Nuevo Progreso and Nuevo Laredo (nearer to the east coast).
If taking a flight for dental work in Mexico
Cancun and Progreso
If you're flying to Mexico from farther away, you'll be in good company if you head to Cancun. The city boasts a wide range of top-quality clinics offering dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, and all other types of dental work in Mexico.
Visiting a dentist in Cancun Mexico is also a great excuse for a vacation. The area is known for its beautiful beaches and rich history, including nearby Mayan ruins.
Just along the coast, you'll find plenty of dentists in Progreso, Mexico too. Both of these cities are good options for people traveling from east coast states, with flights from Miami taking around two hours.
Another destination you might choose for a Mexican dental vacation is Puerto Vallarta. Clinics all over the city cater to visiting tourists, some offering all-inclusive accommodation within walking distance of the beach.
The country's capital also boasts its fair share of dental clinics with international standards. It's not such a popular holiday destination, but if you're there for business or another reason you may as well take advantage of the cheap dental treatment.
It's also easy enough to take a connecting flight to a more picturesque location as part of your trip.
Finding the best dentist for you: considerations
Choosing the best dentist in Mexico can be a daunting process; even after you have selected a location, you may still have hundreds of clinics to choose between. The key is to do as much research as possible into:
- The dentist
- The clinic
- Your particular treatment
- What is included and excluded from your treatment package
- Travel practicalities
Before you get your dental work in Mexico, here are some of the main things you need to consider as you make your selection:
Qualifications and accreditation
As mentioned earlier, ask to see your dentist's qualifications, including continuing education, and check which regulatory bodies they are registered with. This is not a guarantee of the level of care, but it does confirm they meet certain standards.
Ask to speak directly to the dentist if possible so you can ask any questions you may have and also check their level of English. Obviously, good English is not a qualifier for quality dental work, but the ability to communicate clearly will make the process go smoother and help put you at ease.
Check online comments on independent websites and ask to see before and after photos of past patients. You may even be able to speak to a former patient to ask them about their experience with dental work in Mexico.
If your chosen clinic is one of the more popular ones you'll probably find some videos from patients on YouTube, too. It can be reassuring to hear from a real patient and see exactly what their treatment involved.
Find out what aftercare (if any) is included with your treatment cost, and where this will take place. How long will you have to stay during your initial trip, and are any further visits required?
Also, ask what would happen in the case of complications, either while you were still in Mexico or once you returned home. The clinic may offer you free treatment to fix the problem, but would probably require you to travel there at your own expense. Check how long your treatment is guaranteed for and what insurance the clinic has.
It's a good idea to consult your local dentist before getting treatment in another country so they are aware of your plans. Also, make sure you get a copy of your medical notes in English so you can receive any necessary follow-up care.
The following news report shows interviews with some patients and dentists in Nogales. It also offers some good advice about what to check before you go ahead with any work:
Alternative destinations for cheaper dental work
Mexican dental vacations aren't the only options available to North Americans seeking quality dental care at affordable prices.
Costa Rica is easily accessible, particularly if you live along the East Coast. Flights from Miami to San Jose take just three hours. Colombia is another popular option in the region.
Dental prices are comparable to Mexican dental vacations, but Costa Rica offers more opportunities for a longer, relaxing stay in places like Playas del Coco and Tamarindo. You'll find the best choice of dentists in San Jose, though, so you might choose to get your teeth done there first before heading to the coast to recover. Read more about dental tourism in Costa Rica.
If you're after an even more exotic vacation, you could head to Thailand for dental work instead. Thailand has a long-established reputation for high-quality, low-cost dentistry. The cities of Bangkok and Phuket offer a wide range of dental clinics operating to international standards, but you can also get dental treatment in the smaller cities and tourist destinations.
Next door to Thailand, the Philippines also has a thriving dental tourism industry. After getting your treatment in one of the larger cities like Manila or Davao, there are thousands of islands just waiting to be explored.
Many patients report that getting dental treatment in Thailand or the Philippines, including the cost of flights and accommodation for two or three weeks, is still cheaper than paying for just the dental care in their home country. Another destination that's gaining popularity among foreign patients is India, where many of the dentists speak English as their native language.
If you are one of the millions of Americans with missing teeth who can't afford proper dental implants in the US, there's hope! Many people just like you travel to Mexico every year to get dental implants in Mexico.
Dentists in Mexico are highly qualified and most speak fluent English. In fact, oftentimes they hold themselves to a higher standard than you might find in the US because they can't afford to receive criticism.
Getting dental work done in Mexico can mean more than just implants too. Many people get veneers, root canals and dentures in Mexico as well. Just make sure you do your research beforehand and find a clinic whose staff and dentists you trust. You may even get a vacation out of it!
Get help finding a quality Mexico dental clinic. Fill in the form below and get a free quote to get started.
How much do dental implants cost in Mexico?
A single tooth implant in Mexico costs between $700 and $1,200, and All-on-4 dental implants in Mexico cost between $6,000 and $12,000. That's way less than in the US!
What is the cost of veneers in Mexico?
Lower dental costs in Mexico can be applied to more than just implants. Take veneers: How much are veneers in Mexico? The cost of veneers in Mexico is $300 to $600 for porcelain. Compare that to the US cost of $500 to $2,500!
How much do Lumineers cost in Mexico?
Just like veneers, you can get Lumineers in Mexico. The average cost of getting Lumineers in Mexico is $450 per tooth. In the US, the average cost is $500 to $2,500.
How much does a root canal cost in Mexico?
Root canals in Mexico cost on average between $300 and $400, whereas in the US they cost between $700 and $1000, depending on the tooth and depending on the dentist you go to.
So, if you are considering getting a root canal in Mexico, you're likely to save quite a bit of money, just like if you were to get dental implants in Mexico.
What is the cost of dentures in Mexico?
Just as dental implants in Mexico cost less than in the US, you'll find the same for dentures. You may be happy to hear that the cost of dentures in Mexico is between $350 and $600 for both arches. In the US they normally cost on average between $800 and $1,500 per arch!
Can you get cosmetic dentistry in Mexico?
Absolutely you can get cosmetic dentistry in Mexico. Due to the low cost of dental work in Mexico, Mexico dental tourism has become quite popular, especially for cosmetic dentistry. Some of the most common cosmetic dental work in Mexico includes veneers and teeth whitening.
Where can I get cheap dental implants in Mexico?
The fact is, almost anywhere in Mexico will offer lower-cost dental implants than in the US. You can go to Mexico City, Cancun, Tijuana and plenty of other places. Choose which location is the most convenient for you for getting teeth implants in Mexico, and research the clinic you want to go to before committing.
Re:new Bariatrics: Medical Tourism in Mexico — Statistics, Facts, Information. Consulted 19th September 2019.
Dentistrybusiness.com: DENTIST SALARY AVERAGE DENTIST SALARY AROUND THE WORLD (BIG MAC INDEX). Consulted 21st September 2020.
NPR: A Reason to Smile: Mexican Town is a Destination for Dental Tourism. Consulted 19th September 2019.