The fear of a hefty bill as much as a fear of the drill keeps Americans away from
But now many are finding clinics in Mexican border cities better known for violent crime and drug cartels for cheap dental treatment.
A dental crown in the
Aspiring Mexican dentists are moving to border cities in droves and are luring American patients away from farther flung discount destinations such as
Americans have long crossed the border for cheap medicines, flu vaccines, eye surgery or specialist doctors, but dentists are now in highest demand.
Dental clinics are on almost every block in central
"We've gone from a handful of patients when we started 2-1/2 years ago to 150 new patients a month," said Joe Andel, an American who owns the Rio Dental clinic in
Rio Dental, which uses
"The Internet makes this possible. It allows patients to find us and research us and shows we can do dental work of equal or superior quality to the
Internet bloggers swap stories and compare notes about Mexican dentists, but it always comes down to money.
Dentistry in the
Even among Americans who have medical insurance, many find they are not covered for treatment other than the basics, and paying on credit means high interest payments.
Cosmetic dentistry, which insurers do not cover and which can be paid in dollars in many Mexican border clinics, is also popular,
"If you want a perfect smile, you have to pay for it, and we can do it cheaper, that's all," he grinned.