Yes, I did it. I went to Tijuana to get my dental work done. No, I’m not crazy…. I’m, well, rather desperately cheap. Cuz I’m a single mother feeding 3 boys, 2 of which are teens! With no help from my Ex husband.
See, a couple months ago I finally found & went to a dentist. On my new Kaiser med/dental insurance I was taking care of the physical issues before I started work on my teeth. And after a few months of doctor visits it was time for the dental visit. And it had been a while. Apparently, I’ll make sure the kids are set, but I’m not as diligent with myself. Typical mother, I know.
Anyway, the new x-ray system at my new dentist is wonderfully smart. Just a little pad hooked up with a wire and the digital x-rays pop right up on the computer. Not a good enough picture? Take it again! Got to LOVE technology! (Although I can imagine the cost of putting one in your office is expensive!) Once the x-rays were done it was time for the dentist to let me know what’s up with my teeth. Let me just say, its a bad sign when the first words the dentist says is, “Are you having any pain?” And when I answer, “Nope.” She seems surprised and says twice more, “Are you SURE you’re not having any pain?”
It’s lucky I find that so amusing cuz she tells me I have 3 deep cavities that are so close to the root I’ll need root canals, crowns and because they are also so close to the gum line I’ll need crown lengthening. She says best to submit it to my dental insurance and let them tell us how much they are to pay before we do the work, so I’ll know the costs. Couple weeks later I get the answer from the insurance company. $1700. For ONE TOOTH!! And this dentist says I have THREE that need this treatment.
It is at THIS point I look for other options. And one of those options is going to Mexico for my dental work. So I Googled and read up on a few articles. I contact my Latino friends and get their advice on who THEY go to and I make some calls. One place didn’t speak English and was rather uncooperative. Another place gave me a quote that wasn’t much less than the dentist! I got discouraged. But a phone call with my Sex God cheered me up enough to keep trying. I went online and studied several websites listing dental offices. And I came upon White Smile Center. Their website… (pix of their office above) … www.WhiteSmileCenter.com was wonderfully appealing. It looked clean, it sounded almost too good to be true, prices listed right there and it claimed a fully bi-lingual staff. AND they said to call a number with a San Diego area code. So I gave it one more try.
And I will tell you I am THRILLED by my experience. I spoke to a woman who took my information and asked how late could they call me back. 9pm being my limit, they called back by 8:30 and I spoke to Omar. He understood my dilemma of needing to make sure this was an economical decision if I was going to drive 3 hours there & 3 hrs back. I told him what my dentist told me what I needed and how much I’d be willing to pay and he met my price. (Pricefinder for Dentists! lol.. not.) His next words were scary though. “When do you want to set your appointment?”
See, it had taken several weeks and ever since the dentist TOLD me of my problems my mouth has been saying… “Yea… that DOES twinge a little… shouldn’t you fix this!?!” So I knew I needed to do this soon. And then a piece of a tooth broke off when I was eating. Yup… so despite this amazingly scary step, White Smile made it really easy, so I bit the bullet, leapt off the cliff of trust and made the appointment.
Sex God was terrified for me so he insisted on going along. He took a day off work and drove down with me, spent the entire day trying to occupy himself while I got the work done and then picked me up and drove me home to tuck me into bed and cuddle me asleep. Love my sweet man.
Anyway.. one of the reasons I liked White Smile was the fact they pick you up from the border and drive you to the facility and back. They made it really easy. They had great directions on where to park on the US side. And I just walked over the border and they would pick me up. Sex God stayed on the US side of the border cuz he didn’t have a passport. But I’m a very bold girl and I had no problem doing this myself. There was absolutely NO type of border check to enter Tijuana and I only got confused and lost ONCE! Which was rectified by a quick call to Laura who directed me to a landmark I could find (McDonalds! haha) where they promptly picked me up.
I dressed quite down, looking more like a mother than a MILF or a Cougar. Just a precaution. After all, even if a young cub tried to pick me up I wouldn’t speak the language! All around me was only Spanish and I kinda felt a small desire to learn the language. Then the compulsive reader in me said, I’d really have learn to READ the language not just understand or speak it! haha. So I get to the dentist and I meet their staff. Wonderful people. They checked me in, did a bunch of x-rays and sat down to let me know what they’d found. They found that one of the teeth my L.A. dentist said was a root canal was just a deep cavity, but would need a crown. But they found ANOTHER root canal on a completely OTHER tooth.. a canine no less. (all this work mostly on my molar teeth) Plus they feel that a row of my old metal filings are not sealing anymore and need to come out and be replaced.
That was pretty demoralizing. Then they told me how long it would take and I was REALLY faced with a tough decision. We had a late start leaving L.A. and I was at least an hour late for the noon appointment and even if we did 3 root canals like I’d planned and brought the cash for I wasn’t sure I’d be able to have the time! Who’d pick up the kids? Feed them dinner? I was really undecided. But I bit the bullet and had them pick 3 teeth that were the worst and we’d do them. Frantically texting arrangements for watching kids.
So they numb me up and start working. They tell me later that they had TWO root canal specialists working simultaneously on the two root canals which are almost side by side. I had no idea that was happening. I kinda thought the dentist had a really pushy assistant! Cuz every time he’d leave my mouth to get a tool, she’d be in there digging and drilling as if the job he’d just done wasn’t up to her standard. Just a little hilarious. Which was needed since I ended up with my mouth open for 3 straight hours. My jaw was just aching and it felt sore more from THAT than from any of the work done. I got home by 10pm, tired, sore with temp caps on my teeth.
10 days later I go back to get the crowns put on. I had to get a loan from my Dad to cover the expense of all this which was good cuz I decided to get ALL of it done that day. See, on the way down to this appointment, what happens? I crack off another tooth. And not even one of the ones they said needed work! (There is so much metal in my mouth the x-ray can’t always see around it to the decay.. another reason to remove the old fillings before bad gets root canal worse.)
I arrive at my morning appointment at 9:30 and we get to work on my teeth by 10 am. I’m not outa there until 6 pm! Because they had to give me little breaks in between jobs (thank goodness I brought a good book! lmao) I had one root canal done, two deep cavities filled and SIX (6!) crowns made & put on.
This time I was smart enough to take an Advil halfway thru the procedure and on the drive home. So my jaw didn’t ache nearly as much as last time. They sent out for soup around 3 ish since I didn’t bring anything and OMG it was delicious! Although maybe I was just hungry, but I cannot wait to try the combo of broth, cilantro & onions with chicken recipe at home.
My conclusions? Highly recommend this to anyone within driving distance. I ended up spending the exact amount my USA dentist WITH insurance quoted me but I got 6 teeth done for the price of 3. Will I go back? Hell, yes! I got a deep cleaning and the other fillings to remove. Although I might try taking the train… see how THAT adds or detracts from the full experiment.
Top it all off, I think the receptionist is now a fan of my blog. lol.. win/win! 🙂