28 May 2011

let's go to mexico! - TJ dentista

If this gets too personal,
don't worry,
I'll have another exciting post soon enough!

So I've got this problem.
I haven't been to a dentist in at least 20 years.
that's a small stretch of the truth,
as about 4 years ago I had my bottom wisdom teeth pulled,
but that was by a tooth extractor, not a normal dentist,
and it was a hookup as my friend Ed worked there.

Before that I went to one of those generic type dentist offices,
the ones with the $49 exam signs on the front.
They did a checkup and xray only,
and then gave me a "quote" for what I needed done.
It was like $8000 or more worth of work,
and even with the dental insurance we had at the time,
it would have been about half.
Not to mention they would have found other hidden problems.

tooth war

So besides a handful of smallish cavities,
I've been dealing with a "tooth war" for probably 15 years now.
Back then,
my wisdom teeth were pushing the other teeth forward,
and these 2 teeth basically smashed into each other,
at an extremely slow speed.
Flossing was impossible for a long time they were so tight.
One day I was trying to pick something out of that crack,
and the actual tooth just chipped!
It didn't really hurt,
it was just a surprise.

After a week or so of bearable pain,
I figured the tooth or teeth had basically died.
Over the years the teeth continued to move into each other,
until I had the wisdom teeth pulled.
So for the past 15+ years I don't really eat on the right side of my mouth!

About 2 years ago,
I found out that a co-worker knew a really good dentist in Tijuana.
His teeth are crooked but the teeth themselves are perfect.
My brother ended up going down there,
he had some really worn molars,
and in 2 visits the dentist fixed them beyond perfect,
and the price was like $300,
for 4 molar partial crowns.

About 2 months ago my wife had a painful cavity,
and also an annoying temporary crown that had been done about 3 years ago!
Well she bit the bullet and went to the TJ dentist.
Its a ridiculous story as she didn't know my co-worker Eric (Pikachu) very well,
but I'm not gonna tell it right now.

Anyway very nervously she went down there,
and all in all she ended up really liking the "dentista".
Unfortunately she found out her teeth are in trouble,
so she's already gone down there about 3 times.

Well yesterday I had some time off,
and decided to go down there with her and our guide Pikachu.
Its just overdue and they're not gonna get better on there own.

So me and the wife drove down to the Otay crossing.

loaded truck

You know you're getting close to the border when most trucks look like this.
As tall as the lowest overpass!

We parked in a pay parking lot,
and there was this really cool old Land Rover there.

Bitchin Land Rover
Rattlecanned side

I couldn't figure it out,
as there were no license plates on it.

Bitchin Land Rover
unpainted side

Looked like an awesome "Armageddon vehicle"!

perichbrothers (and sister): armageddon vehicles

From there we walked across the border,
Dora the Explorer style...

otay border pedestrian crossing

Over the bridge...

the final gate

through the gateway...

highway to 

Down the hill..

To  the dentista's office.

secret dentist lair

Definitely not your typical American storefront!
This is when you're thinking,
"what the hell am I doing here!"

Fortunately my wife had taken a picture her first time,
so I knew what to expect.
I also knew the dentista would scold me for not taking care of my teeth.

dentista and the crybaby

She wasn't too happy,
but could understand why I didn't visit a dentist sooner.
Really, from that above mouth shot,
not much had changed in the past couple years,
and I new it was a difficult problem to fix.

So next week I get to have 2 root canals.
These are Mexican root canals.
My wife had one (of many to go)
and she said they dig out all the root/bad stuff,
than take a burner thing and cauterize the hole.
Than they fill it with a metal rod and put the crown on.

She had one done by an American doctor,
and our Dentista said the guy barely cleaned the tooth out,
and he left a hole in her tooth/root area,
didn't fill it with anything.
This cost/is still costing us $700,
 for one badly done root canal and temporary crown!

Root Canal Cost: $1,000 per Molar | The Wealthy Dentist

That's the going rate for a Root Canal in Southern California.
And that's not including the crown or anything else.

Our Dentista is charging less than $350 for the 2 teeth!
The root canals themselves are $90 ,
and the balance is for the crown work.
There might be a $45 additional charge to fix a small cavity at the same time.

What the heck!?
Something is definitely wrong with the medical costs in the US.
Granted she's probably paying a couple hundred for rent,
vs a couple thousand in the US,
but still.

I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes.
With alot more pics of the eastern part of TJ that I missed.

I'll leave y'all with a pic of a sleeping dog that looked exactly like our old American Bulldog ZIBO.

Is that you Zibo?

That sleeping white dog looked exactly like him...




  1. You are a daredevil!
    My fav TP quote this week, "His teeth are crooked but the teeth themselves are perfect."

  2. Hey AJ,
    I'll admit we would probably go to one of the mainstream places
    if we weren't referred by Pikachu.
    Since they are Americanized offices,
    the savings is only 1/2 to 2/3 of US,
    probably cause they can use US dental insurance!

    I'll make sure to take some more pictures next time.
    There are alot shadier looking places!
    And let me know if you need any dental work!



  3. I was trying to discover dentist in Tijuana who really care about the patients and work for their cure
    not for money. Smile Tijuana is one of them that really helped me with their high effort and used the
    best material. I am completely ok now though long time has passed.

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