When you visit your American dentist, do you trust what they tell you? The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud says a small but growing number of dentists are bilking patients.
Greater trust is one advantage to dental care in Mexico we often hear about from our patients. While the promise of tremendous savings invites Americans to travel across the southern border, it is the trust factor that often keeps them coming back.
“My dentist in America told me my tooth needed to be pulled, a post implanted and a crown made. It was going to cost about $1,500,” said Shelly, a long time patient with Coyote Dental. “In Mexico, the dentist told me I didn’t need all that expensive work. It cost $300 to fix and I kept the tooth.”
The recommended procedure at the clinic in Mexico solved a problem she had for over 15 years after seeing five different specialists. She had already spent $5,000 on various specialists and procedures that had failed to provide her relief or fix the problem.
Trust is Important
Trust is an important issue for patients. Because so few of us understand the complexities of dental care, we have no way of knowing if the recommended procedure is necessary. We want to know that the professional is doing what is best for us, rather than their own pockets. This is a patient-centered approach as opposed to a dentist-centered one.
Many of Coyote Dental patients tell us they saved more than anticipated at their dentist in Mexico because they didn’t need the treatment recommended by their American doctor. Often, they travel to Mexico and discover they don’t need a root canal. Many times, a filling will suffice. Or there is a less expensive method of treating the problem.
“The money I save is great. I know the treatment I receive is needed, so I trust these dentists with all my care, including cleanings,” Shelly said. “I would rather spend my energy on taking care of my teeth than getting a second opinion.
What Happened to the Family Dentist?
Many older Americans fondly remember their family dentist. This image was one of a kindly practitioner who cared for his patient.
The industry changed and clinics came under the control of corporations along with infusions of venture capital. The stakeholders expected ever increasing returns on their investment. The focus became on making money rather than caring for the patients.
When they graduate, American dentists face massive student loans. Dentistry is the top profession for student loan debt. It is not unusual for the most compassionate dentists to leave school owing in excess of $400,000. This creates a strong incentive to focus on making money rather than dispensing care. More expensive procedures net greater returns. The patient suffers.
In Mexico, the structure of the industry is much different. The government funds education in exchange for a year of public service. Dentists care for people as a part of their training for their profession.
South of the border, the insurance requirements aren’t as onerous. The risk is not nearly as great. Dentists in Mexico don’t feel pressured to be as strongly profit-centered as their American counterparts.
The result is our partner clinics in Mexico can afford to recommend a less costly procedure – one that is less invasive and often is better for your overall health because they are already earning a very good living.
“When a dentist is more concerned about my health than their bank account, they have earned my trust,” said Shelly.