Many Unable to Afford American Dental Care; Patients Cross the Border For Cheaper Alternatives

“Every workday, Dr. Jessica Nitardy leaves her home near El Paso, Texas and drives for more than an hour to the Mexican border. She crosses immigration and heads to her dental practice in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which until recently was considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world,” The Atlantic Cities reports. “But the patients she sees aren’t Mexican — almost all are American.”

Violence in Juarez is dwindling down, and that means an even greater number of Americans consider the city an attractive option for affordable dental care. Whether driving or flying, some patients are getting care at one-third of the cost of American procedures — more than justifying their travel expenses. “My dental insurance does not cover a lot of the things I’m having done,” Texas patient, Megan Ahmed, explains to ABC-7.

The outlook on American dental care is pretty bleak. Forty-two percent do not have dental insurance, and over 33% of Americans have not been to the dentist in at least a year. Those with lower income levels are least likely to schedule regular appointments. For many, affordable procedures in Juarez are an affordable solution.

“A dental implant that runs $1,500 in the U.S. costs just $549 in her office. Crowns and bridges, two of the most expensive dental procedures, are also a third of the price,” The Atlantic Cities explains. “Pair that with an El Paso hotel at $100 per night, and patients still save a bundle.” Dental implants are fairly common; the implants take the place of missing teeth near the root and ultimately fuse with the jawbone.

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