Dental tourism-molar city

Old May 12th, 2021, 09:17 AM
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Dental tourism-molar city

On Saturday evening 5/1 I boarded the southbound Amtrak Coast Starlight in Chemult Oregon (running 4 minutes late). It was the first time that I had been on an Amtrak train in 14.5 months. The train arrived in Sacramento 45 minutes early (0545). I sat for awhile in the SAC station and then texted my geocaching buddy (MacAttk). He showed up about 0620 and we took a slow route south and east past the Capitol to the neighborhood of the Fox & Goose which opens at 7. Since we were still early Mac and I found 2 geocaches. He backed into a parking spot across from the F&G right at 7 and before we got out of the car, janisj pulled in beside us. Mac had someplace else to go so janisj drove me back to the Amtrak station after our breakfast.
The next legs of the trip were the bus to Stockton 10-11AM and the San Joaquin train from Stockton to Bakersfield followed by an Amtrak bus over the grapevine into Los Angeles Union Station. On the previous Sunday LAUS had been one of the locations for the Oscars. The floors were well polished and shiny. The food situation in LAUS is now pretty bad. The two places that were open were a one man Subway and a two person Wetzel's Pretzels. Sadly Ben & Jerry's is closed.
The Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle began loading about 9:20PM for a 10PM departure. I did get a little sleep before we got to Yuma AZ at 0255 Arizona Time which at this time of year is the same as Pacific time. I walked the well lit streets of Yuma about 2 miles to the 16th St. corridor (US95) to the IHOP which is open 24/7. When I walked in at 4 AM, the waitress was mopping the floor. I took my time and had several cups of tea and the 2X2X2 breakfast. My hotel that I had a reservation at for 3PM, held my heavy bag. I took my backpack along with my passport on the long hike to the rental car office. I did manage to get out with a rental car at 6:40AM Monday morning. I made a stop at the nearby Walmart for a couple of things before I headed for the Andrade border crossing. The Quechan Indians have a very large parking area ($6/day) next to the border. I walked into Los Algodones at 8:20AM.
Los Algodones is known as "molar city". There are over 300 dentists in this town of 5000 full time residents. Panoramic X-rays were taken and molds were done for a partial denture to tide me over for the 6+ months until I am healed for the implants that I get in January 2022. The US border crossing closes at 2PM daily.
Tuesday 5/4 was the big surgery day. SANI Dental has 2 clinics and I got a ride from the original to the other and still made my 9AM appointment. Dr. Fabian did a good cleaning of my teeth before tackling the extraction of my lower left molars (18,19) #20 disintegrated about 2 years ago and was extracted in Bend OR. After the extractions, I had a bone graft (with stem cells) and the 3 implants went into my jaw. I was out of the clinic by 10:30. I then went to a pharmacy with my prescription for pain pills, an oral rinse, and a broad spectrum antibiotic (Clinidamicin). The oral rinse was the most expensive item on the Rx ($16USD). I paid $35 for the whole Rx which easily would have gone over $100 in the US. I did manage to eat an enchilada meal with refried beans and salad, eating on the right side of my mouth.
I had to go back again for fitting of my new partial which I can't really use until the swelling goes down. I found another geocache in Los Algodones on Wednesday (Cinco de Mayo) and had an early lunch of chicken and rice soup before going back into the US to my hotel in Yuma. I'm still eating soft foods even after returning home.
On Monday 5/3 I did get to a matinee of Nomadland at the Harkins theater. Frances McDormond deserves all the acclaim that she has gotten.
The train back to Los Angeles was scheduled in Yuma shortly before midnight on Thursday. A freight train waited for it until it showed up at 2AM. We were 3 hours late into LAUS and had to go straight through to the bus bay without eating. I got a Snickers bar from a vending machine for $1.75 between the bus and getting on the San Joaquin. to Stockton. Amtrak was giving away snack packs and small bottles of water with no food service. Once I got to Sacramento, I walked down into Old Sac. and had a good dinner of fish & chips.
The northbound Coast Starlight left Sacramento about a half hour late. I did manage to get a Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwich and milk about 7 AM from the snack bar. The dining car is closed to all but sleeping car passengers. I did get back to the Chemult station about 40 minutes late 10:10AM on Saturday morning.
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Old May 12th, 2021, 09:52 AM
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Tom, interesting story & love the details you provide. As I've said several times here I lived near the border for years & had a number of friends who used dentists across the line, Naco & Agua Prieta. One friend who usually did opted instead to go to Tucson for her implants. She had a problems & made several visits to complete the process. I mention all this because, not living close to Mexico as we did, what do you do if there are problems? I think more often than not there aren't problems but I can't help but wonder.

I've often thought if I needed expensive work done I'd make a trip down, which I do anyway for a month at a time, to take advantage of the good work they do at a fraction of the cost.
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Old May 12th, 2021, 10:38 AM
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A very unusual trip report! Just had my first cleaning since the pandemic started. Luckily, no implants needed.
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Old May 12th, 2021, 10:40 AM
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I haven't done any dental tourism but I have purchased prescription meds in Mexico (Nogales) with great success. I had a valid US prescription for this med that I showed the pharmacy (don't know if they needed it or not). The Mexico price was about 10% of the US retail price, and this is a med my insurance plan did not cover at that time. I was able to text ahead so they had this med on hand at the pharmacy just over the border.

Returning to the US I declared the meds, no questions were asked, and we were waived through. No issues, all above board. There were half dozen or more dental clinics just over the border as well. I'd have no hesitation doing the same thing again.
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Old May 12th, 2021, 12:02 PM
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It sounds like you had a successful trip. How much preparation did you have to do with the dentist before you went?
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Old May 12th, 2021, 12:30 PM
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Good luck with your recovery. I do know people who have done the border crossing for prescriptions and minor dental procedures like crowns. I even met a lady who used to fly from Texas to Costa Rica for dental tourism.

The big issue of course, is what if you have problems? That is not a minor procedure like a crown.
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Old May 12th, 2021, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by oldemalloy View Post
It sounds like you had a successful trip. How much preparation did you have to do with the dentist before you went?
I was told over a year ago that my treatment plan included removal of those two molars. Their dentist removed #20 when it disintegrated over 2 years ago. The oral surgeon only visits that office one day a month. I'm starting a job in less than 2 weeks and could not risk getting another infection like I had in February 2021. I had the Amtrak Guest Rewards points so my trip to Yuma was fare free.
I will check with a couple of US dentists on the cost of replacing the teeth before going back to Mexico.
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