May 5, 2013 2:06 pm

Traveling the world to find the best global dentist


Paul McTaggart is traveling the globe to find the best dentists

Paul McTaggart is traveling the globe to find the best dentists

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

Autumn McTaggart and Isabella McTaggart shopping in Mexico


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!







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