We have all heard of dentists in Mexico that offer “safe and cheap” dentistry just on the other side of the border. But, are these dentist really safe, or cheaper in the long run? There are a few major factors to take into consideration when choosing the best dentist available in the United States. Do these factors apply when your choosing a dentist on the other side of the border? 

We take a look at the downside of going to a dentist in Mexico for more affordable dental work. Here are the 5 reasons to avoid getting dental work done in Mexico.

Sterilization Standards

In a study released in 2016 by the American Journal of Infection Control, over a period of 20 years 7,383 test samples were taken from dentists in Mexico. Of the 7,383 tests, 753 sterilization failures were recorded. Making the failure rate of sterilization of dental tools in Mexico 10.2%. 

Apparently, many of the dentists among the participants ignored sterilization cycle parameters and failed to read the sterilization equipment’s thermometer and pressure indicator dial. Also, because of the diversity of autoclave design and performance, the manufacturer’s specific written instructions must always be followed ​for each particular model and load configuration.

The use of Biological verification of sterilization cycles (BVSC), to this day, remains unknown to most dentists in Mexico. The study goes on to say, “​Health authorities, schools of dentistry, professional associations, and industry must support education efforts to help improve patient safety in dental clinics in Mexico.”

Sterilization monitoring in the United States is nothing to scoff at. There are extensive tests done in every office, every day, for biological monitoring and spore testing.

No Mandatory Continued Education

In the United States and Canada, dentists and dental professionals have to take a minimum hours of continued education (CE) every 2 to 3 years to maintain their licence. These hours help them keep up to date on their skills, knowledge base, and the latest in technological advancements in the dental industry. 

Once a dentist in Mexico gets his licence, he’s not required to renew it, much less keep up to date with industry standards. So while a dentist may have 20 years experience in dentistry, the last time he went to school was probably in 1999.

Dental standards and regulations are constantly being updated in the United States. This is another huge advantage that dentists on this side of the border have over their Mexican counter parts.

Unqualified or Rushed Dental Work

General dentists in Mexico only need a licence to perform dental procedures in Mexico. That means they’ve only had 4 years of schooling. So just because they have a dental licence doesn’t mean that they are qualified to perform a root canal, extract a tooth, or put in a dental implant.

A prosthodontist in the United States has 3 additional years of schooling in order to be able to perform dental surgery to give you a complete smile make-over. An orthodontist likewise also has an additional 3 years of schooling to be able to administer Invisalign treatment.

Another major problem in Mexican dental offices is rushed dental work. Fast dental work is often advertised, but in order for you to get quality work, more than one or two dental visits may be required. Often these dentist will skip dental protocols or use low-quality and fast dental labs.

Dental implants are an especially risky procedure to have done in Mexico. Often they lack the proper equipment to create same day dental crowns, or will skip a step in order to avoid additional dental appointments which you will not be able to make due to distance and money required to travel back to the office.

No Refunds

Another downside to getting work in Mexico is that often if you get bad dental work done, there is no way to get your money back. In the US it’s possible to file a complaint with a dental board if you receive bad dental work. You can also let everyone know about your terrible experience by leaving a bad review. In Mexico, you are left with no recourse to receive a refund or compensation for the bad work. All the research and planning you do to get the work done may be in vain if the work is bad, and the dentist refuses to refund your money.

Language Barrier

At Patriot Family Dental, we strive to make our diagnosis, treatment, procedures, insurance and financial options easy to understand for every patient. It’s of vital importance that the patient understands every aspect of the treatment they are about to receive so that they are comfortable and relaxed going into the procedure. This may not be possible if there is a language barrier or if certain terms and conditions are not fully understood. Even if the dentist in Mexico speaks fluent English, there may still be misunderstanding when translating words from Spanish to English. It might also be disconcerting if the dentist and hygienist speak among themselves in Spanish the whole time.


In the first 3 months of 2019, 8,493 people were murdered in Mexico from January 1st to March 30th. That’s a 9.6% increase from 2018, and the trend is not getting any better. Reports indicate that Tijuana and Juarez, just on the other side of the border, lead Mexico and the entire Americas in homicides with more that 2,200 and 1,000 respectively in 2018.

Many dentists in Mexico advertise safe passage from a meeting location on the US side, or they will meet you on the Mexcan side of a designated bridge. But often, after the the procedure is done you will be asked to walk large distances back to the bridge and then wait in line for hours. That fact is there’s no way to guarantee safe passage in a country that is being ravaged by war.

Patriot Family Dental Has Financial Options

These are just some of the major factors to consider when deciding on whether to get dental work done in Mexico. There is also no Care Credit available in Mexico. We have Care Credit available to all of our patients in the El Paso, TX area. Patriot Family Dental also has Dental Savings Plans available to those that qualify.

On top of these financial options we also except most dental insurance plans available, and we can explain every aspect of your insurance and all of our financial options. Our dental staff is friendly and professional. Call us today at 915.260.6575, or visit our Contact page to schedule an appointment.