May 31, 2013 by Andrew
May 30, 2013 by Paul C. McTaggart
Los Algodones is like no other place I have visited on the planet: within five square blocks there are 300+ Los Algodones dentists. Finding the best dentists in Los Algodones is a challenge even for someone like me who has been there 10 times over 3 years. It is pretty amazing to walk down the street and see dental clinic after dental clinic with a smattering of drug stores & optometrists in between. It is pretty normal to see 1 out of 20 people dressed in dental scrubs or uniforms on their way to/from their dental clinic.
One of the outstanding Los Algodones dentists I found amongst the 300+ dentists is Sani Dental Group. Sani Dental Group has probably the most popular and modern dental clinics in Algodones. Sani Dental Group prides itself on its 28 years of quality dental care: modern dental equipment, they operate their own lab with CAD-Cam technology and their staff are professional, fast & friendly. When you step into their two clinics: Sani Dental Group, Sani Dental Group-Platinum you would never guess that you are in Mexico. My entire family received their dental care at Sani Dental (my two daughters, my wife and me) and we were happy with the quality oral exam and cleanings.
I am not a huge shopper but another popular activity for American and Canadian snowbirds visiting Los Algodones is shopping. Shopping for Mexican souvenirs: hats, purses, belts, blankets, cigars, dolls, pottery, stained glass, ironwork, sculptures, paintings…Algodones has pretty much everything anyone would come to expect for authentic Mexico products.
One new trend that I noticed with Los Algodones dentists was the increasing number of dental clinics registered with the American Dental Association. One great example of the trend for Los Algodones dentists to be registered with the ADA is Bernal Dental Group. Bernal Dental Group proudly displays its ADA membership in the patient waiting room-a patient waiting room that could be anywhere in the United States or Canada. Bernal Dental Group’s waiting room has American pop music playing, the latest english magazines and an ultra-modern decor. The whole office is outfitted with modern dental equipment and I particularly liked the wood flooring throughout the clinic. Once you step inside Bernal Dental’s door you are offered an ice cold water, coffee or tea which sets the tone for the excellent service you will receive at their Los Algodones dental clinic.
I almost forgot the food! The street food in Los Algodones is just plain awesome: hands-down simple food made with love. Check out the photo above of my favorite taco stand – Manolo’s Tacos – a favorite of the dentists in Los Algodones (check out the dentist in the brown dental scrubs). Try the carne asada (beef) tacos with the spicy guacamole…yum, yum.
I stayed at the Hacienda Los Algodones several times when I visited Los Algodones dentists. It was right in the middle of Algodones and it was a quintesential Mexican hacienda complete with a courtyard that just begs for you to drink a nice cold cerveza. Another hotel I stayed at just 2 minutes drive north of Los Algodones (on the US side of the border) was the Quechan Casino and Resort: I was able to get a deluxe room for only $69 per night and the pool was perfect to unwind after a long day visiting Los Algodones dental clinics.
Over the past three years I have noticed Los Algodones dentists really improve the quality of their dental care & their dental facilities. It is exciting to visit all the new construction & renovation of dental clinics & dental labs in Algodones. I have no hesitation to recommend any one of my family or friends to visit any of Dental Departure’s dental clinics in Los Algodones.
May 22, 2013 by Paul C. McTaggart
Waiting in line for hours to get back into the Unite States is crazy frustrating. I know because I’ve spent hours at the Mexico/US border waiting to get back to the United States on my quest to find the top dentists in Mexico.
Here are four tips I’ve learned over the years to avoid long Mexico border wait times:
- Ready Lane: Head over to the Ready Lane to get preferred entry for you and your vehicle. This lane lets you and your passengers who have Sentri, Global Entry, Fast (for truckers), the U.S. Passport Card; the Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL); the Enhanced Tribal Card (ETC); the new Enhanced Permanent Resident Card (PRC) or new Border Crossing Card (BCC) to jump to the front of the border lines. Here are the border crossings with Ready Lanes.
- Avoid peak hours: Avoid peak hours for the crossing to the United States. Avoid 7-10am and 4-8pm which are generally the peak wait times for Mexican residents to enter/exit the United States for work. Check the US Customs and Border Protection web site to get the latest Mexico border wait times
- Grab a Red Bus for San Ysidro: If you are entering the United States via the San Ysidro border crossing take the Red Bus run by MexiCoach to cut ahead of the lines. For only $3 the Red Bus will drop you off right at the border and you will be walked to the front of the lines for the pedestrian border entry.
- Ask for a Medical Lane pass: If you are in Tijuana or Mexicali you can ask you Mexico dentist or doctor for a Medical Lane pass. This Medical Lane pass is free to you and with a dedicated lane at the US border..you will breeze right through in no time!
Mexican border wait times can be a hassle after a long day in Mexico. I’ve had several times where I am completely exhausted from visiting Mexico dental clinics for 12 hours and the last thing I needed was a ridiculously long border wait time. These 4 tips have saved me the hot, draining experience of standing in line for hours at the Mexican border: I hope these tips help you avoid the same fate!
May 16, 2013 by Paul C. McTaggart
My first trip to Mexicali was an eye opener to how little I knew about this town. First, Mexcali dentists pride themselves on the quality of their dental care and are so eager to show off their newly remodeled dental clinics and ultra-modern dental equipment.
I expected a dusty border town with small dental clinics and found a large city with prospering dental practices due to booming trade with the United States (under the NAFTA agreement). Second, with Mexicali’s close proximity to its sister city to the north (Calexico, California) I expected a bland town that you just pass through on your trip somewhere else. What I found was that Mexicali is rich in a history based on Chinese immigrants. Chinese buffets/restaurants are on every street and it isn’t surprising to meet Mexicali residents with the last name Wong, Fong, Yang or Wu. What blew me back in my chair was to be served limes and hot sauce with a traditional Chinese meal like egg drop soup or hot & sour soup!
The Mexicali dentists that I met with ranged from small two chair dental clinics like BC Dental Care Mexicali and RamLaz Dental to large 8 chair dental franchises like Continental Dental Care. Although the Mexicali clinics ranged in size, price and dental experience the one element that was consistent amongst all was their laser focus on the quality of dental care they provide. The quality started with the training and experience of their dental staff (dentists, hygienists, service staff), extended to the dental equipment used and ended with the dental labs they worked with to ensure dental quality from end-2-end.
The dentists of Mexicali were keen to establish Mexicali as a top destination for American and Canadian patients to visit for their dental care. The Mexicali dentists realize that the price savings were what attracted snowbird Canadian and American patients in the winter but they wanted to elevate the quality of dental care and support facilities to ensure the snowbirds kept coming back. Two areas that they were working to improve Mexicali’s visibility was 1) The number of modern and western-styled hotels to allow patients to rest comfortably between dental treatments like the Hotel Araiza and the Colonial Hotel 2) The medical tourism lane at the border which whisks patients within minutes through the US/Mexican border. All American and Canadians need is to ask for a Medical Lane pass from their dentist and their 30 minute wait at the border is reduced to minutes!
Mexicali is really trying to make itself known as one of the top destinations for Americans and Canadians to visit a Mexico dentist. From all the conversations and observations I had on my stay in Mexicali: I can attest that Mexicali dentists are well on their way to create a long-lasting industry to deliver quality dental services to Canadian and American snowbirds.
May 13, 2013 by Paul C. McTaggart
The first stop on my journey to travel the world to find the best dentists was Tijuana, Mexico. Tijuana dentists offer an amazing value for quality dental care. After meeting with dozens of dental clinics and their staff I found their commitment to quality dental care admirable.
Let’s start from the beginning: my family and I drove down highway 101 from Seattle to San Diego over 10 days. We had just sold off all our worldly possessions, rented out our house and now were traveling down the coast with one bag per person. Tijuana was the first stop on our two year journey around the world for me to find quality dentists.
Tijuana dentists are just a 20 minute drive from San Diego and a 2.5 hour drive from LA. There are two options to visit a Tijuana dentist: drive through the border or walk across. I chose to walk across the border and it was surprisingly easy: I parked right at the border for $5 and then walked through the newly built border crossing.
Once across the border I hailed a cab and made my way to dozens of Tijuana dental clinics. I spoke with dental clinic owners, dentists, hygienists and dental technicians all over Tijuana, Mexico. The Tijuana dentists were so eager to show me around their dental clinics: pointing out the new equipment they had purchased (intra-oral cameras, panoramic x-ray machines, dental laboratory) and the new renovations they had made to modernize the interior design of their clinics. I was pleasantly surprised to step out of a bustling Mexico street scene (street vendors, roadside taco stands etc.) into the serenity of a modern dental clinic that wouldn’t be out of place in Canada, United States or Australia.
The dentists in Tijuana go out of their way to make their San Diego & LA dental patients feel comfortable. There would be up-to-date American magazines in the patient waiting room (Time, In Style, National Geographic, People) and American top 40 music playing over the dental clinic’s sound system. I visited two of our top Tijuana dental clinics: Dental Spana, Tijuana Clinic for Cosmetic Dentistry and Clinica Dental Tijuana. These there Tijuana dental clinics were especially proud of the quality of their dental implants and showed me dozens of before & after photos of American patients who found their new smiles.
As I waited for my appointments in Tijuana I was taken aback by the number of American & even Canadian dental patients who had made the trip down to Tijuana for their dental care. For some of these patients it was their first time visiting a Tijuana dentists and for others this was part of a typical visit to their dentist every six to 12 months for a check-up. There were a large number of people from San Diego and LA who were here in Tijuana because their were unable to afford their dental treatment in the United States. After speaking with people in dental clinic waiting rooms across Tijuana their was a constant theme which kept appearing: people worked really hard but were finding it harder & harder to afford quality dental care at home. For some dental care in Tijuana was their only available dental option and for others they couldn’t justify spending $10,000 on dental care and sought out a less expensive solution.
Visiting dentists in Tijuana reaffirmed my belief that quality dental care is no longer just a local option. It took me getting out of my comfort zone (by leaving Seattle, Washington) to see with my own two eyes that Mexican dentists have the same passion & commitment to delivering quality dental care as the dentists in the United States & Canada.
May 5, 2013 by Paul C. McTaggart
What does it take to find the best global dentist? The short answer – one piece of luggage and love of discovery!
I am now 7 months into traveling the globe to find world-class global dentists for Dental Departures. So far it has been a harrowing experience of extreme highs and lonesome lows for both myself and my family.
Let’s start at the beginning. I lived & worked in Seattle, Washington and had the idealic lifestyle: I had my health, amazing family, wonderful friends, beautiful home and a challenging, high paying corporate job. It was bliss and 95% of the planet aspires for this western lifestyle. In brief movements of truth on our deck with a drink in my hand it would hit me: ‘what was I doing to put a dent in the universe?’, ‘was life’s adventures now relegated to annual 3 week vacations & weekend trips for the next 30 years?’. These questions first started out as a whisper in the back of my mind and then gradually built into an ever-present companion pushing me to answer.
How could I find adventure & put a dent in the universe from my basement office in Seattle?
My answer: quit my job, create a start-up to help people find more affordable dental care, rent out the house, sell off all our stuff and travel the globe to find world class dentists.
I took a leap of faith and like all leaps of faith the first step is the hardest. One bag for me, one bag for my amazing wife Autumn, one bag each for my two daughters Isabella (3 years) and Sophia (2 years). That first day driving down the west coast of the United States (to Mexico) was raw like never before: fleeting moments of pumping adrenaline from the adventures we knew lay ahead and then gut wrenching terror of what we just did.
There was a lot of detractors: people who thought taking 2 kids under 3 traveling the globe was crazy, people who thought quitting my safe/high paying corporate job was plain dumb, people who thought cashing in our savings to fund a start-up was foolish, people who thought global medical or dental care just cannot be as good as in Canada or the United States. The voices of these caring & smart family members, friends, colleagues played through my mind and fought battle with the voices of adventure & purposefulness on our drive down the west coast.
Over the past seven months I have found world class dentists and dental clinics in: Tijuana, Mexicali, Los Algodones, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Cancun. I have met over a thousand Mexican dentists and their team and toured hundreds of dental clinics in Mexico. I can say with 100% confidence that the level of dental care I received is the same and even better than the dental treatment I received in Canada and the United States. I had no hesitation when I, my wife or my children received our dental care in Mexico. There were also dentists in Mexico that I chose not to do business with: there are bad dentists in Mexico just as there are bad dentists in Canada and the United States. Luckily, Dental Departures has put together systems & processes to promote high quality global dentists to our customers and quickly decline & remove bad dentists.
Along the way our family has experienced the highs & lows of global travel:
- Missing family, friends & pets
- Being a ‘constant stranger’ in each city
- Flight delays & airport security screenings with 4 bags, 2 car seats, 2 laptops, 1 iPad, 1 iPod, 1 Nespresso coffee maker
- Unmarked street names & one way roads
- Keeping kids occupied without toys (they don’t fit in 1 bag)
- Taxi cab drivers that lie and try to rip you off
- Everything is new: getting home, finding a grocery store, getting nails done, finding a barber shop
- The weather: we have seen & felt the sun for 7 months straight
- The food: nothing beats local, quality ingredients made with love
- The people: the Mexican people are friendly, family oriented and eager to help a lost gringo
- Getting to experience the city as a local (not a tourist)
- Less stuff: less stuff to buy, less stuff to fix, less space need to store it
- Spending more time with each other
I am ‘all in’ to find a global dentist. With one bag in hand, I have taken a leap of faith off the precipice. If the past 7 months serves as a guide: this path less travelled has indeed made the difference!