Pramod Goel, CEO and founder of PlacidWay, an international medical resource and provider based in Denver, Colorado, is an expert in the medical tourism industry. His company has become one of the most popular, and leading, medical tourism providers in the country. Despite border fears, consumers from North America as well as Canadian provinces continue to flock south of the border for a variety of medical and dental care options.
"Some of the most popular fields in medical and dental care, including cosmetic surgery, dental care, obesity programs, stem cell research, and fertility treatments, continue to provoke a high demand for affordable and accessible care in Mexico," states Goel.
Mexico continues to be one of the top destinations for dental care, with travelers visiting easily accessible cities just south of border crossings to meet their needs. No doubt about it, dental tourism is on the rise. According to the Toronto Sun, a growing number of inhabitants of Alberta, Canada head south every year, seeking affordable dental care. Prime south of the border destinations such as Cancun continue to attract not only vacationers, but vacationers with dental needs. States one Albertan, "I needed four implants and I was looking at $16,000-$20,000 for them, which just really turned me off."
After engaging in in-depth research, he became what is known as a growing number of "Alberta dental tourists", who enjoy beach vacations on the Mayan Riviera. It turns out that the Canadian received all four implants, perfectly executed, for under $6,000. Even after figuring in travel costs, he literally cut in half the costs of the dental implants in his native Alberta alone.
In many provinces throughout Canada, cost of dental care is the third-highest, ranking behind British Columbia and Québec. A single porcelain crown may cost $1,500, while in Mexico, the same crown they cost $335. The costs for dental care in the US is also increasing, with millions of Americans without dental insurance struggling to obtain even minimal dental care and services.
"As in the United States and Canada, bad dentists abound. You'll find the same in Mexico, which is why it's so important to do careful research," states Goel. "That's why our company focuses on doing our best to engage in thorough background checks in regard to facility standards, training, certification and licensing of dental providers, and ensuring that customers receive the same high-quality care they expect in their native United States or Canada."
One dental provider in Mexico states that 20% of his clients are Canadians, while most of the rest come from North America. Canadian dental costs are even higher than those found in the United States, and Mexican dental clinics take advantage of southbound travelers or "snowbirds" as they're called, as Canadians and those living in mountain and border states in America travel south into warmer climes for their winters – or just for the sake of convenience and affordability.
The key to finding a good provider in Mexico is to be diligent and cautious when researching. Reputable medical providers such as PlacidWay are diligent regarding screening processes. "We're building our reputation by providing good, trained and decent facilities and dentists in Mexico. Bad outcomes are bad for business, plain and simple," Goel says.
Polls regarding medical tourism are showing a slight improvement of those willing to travel across borders for dental or medical treatments. Approximately 57% of those polled stated that they would travel for dental or medical care, while roughly 23% still would not consider it. Nearly 11% are unsure, while just over 9% have stated that they have traveled for medical or dental care previously. Less than 1% stated that they had traveled, but wouldn't do it again because outcomes didn't turn out as expected.
Still, trends are changing. Many American and Canadian-based dentists encourage and make referrals to dental specialists in Mexico. One Alberta-based dentist mentions a patient who was in dire need of a new set of dentures that would've cost her approximately $40,000 at home. The woman would've had to take out a mortgage on her home to afford the treatment. He referred her to Mexico instead, with a positive outcome.
Another dental provider in Mexico, this one located in Cancun, states that half his business comes from North Americans, although he has treated patients from Russia, New Zealand, and Australia. The dentist states that his qualifications as well as ethical practices are on par with Canadian and American practitioners, and that he utilizes the same high-quality materials and brands used by dentists in North America.
Bottom line? "Research the facts, research providers, and choose carefully. While dental care in Mexico is certainly cheaper than many American and Canadian offices, it pays to do your homework when seeking any professional care for your dental or medical health and wellness," concludes Goel. "I do, and so should consumers. Nevertheless, having options to accessible, affordable and quality dental care continues to drive Americans as well as Canadians south of the border to numerous destinations where they can combine their dental needs with vacation plans. It's often a match that is unequaled, and produces highly satisfactory results."
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by Pramod Goel