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A Dental Tourism Experience in Tijuana


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Our family hasn’t been to a dentist in over 5 years. Since we don’t eat refined sugars, this hasn’t been a problem, except for the fact that John and I have mercury amalgam fillings. Based on all my reading and research, the mercury fillings needed to go. They can actually cause additional dental problems as well as a variety of other horrible health issues like liver toxicity and Alzheimers, if left in our mouths for too long. I’d put it off long enough. It was time to bite the bullet and go get those fillings out.

 

Finding a Holistic Dentist in the United States:

 

I began my search for a biological dentist in Denver, CO, a city near where we live in Nebrask. I hate shopping for dentists because dental work is inherently awful and I feel like that awfulness really gums up my intuition about dentists. I decided that I’d start by just making some phone calls to talk to office staff and find out about the financial aspects of biological dentistry. How much does it cost? How long does it take? That sort of thing.

 

What I learned about biological dentists in Denver:

 

They’re too expensive. I mean, the quote that I got for my own mouth from the holistic dental office I contacted in Denver was between $5000 and $12,000 to replace 3 relatively small mercury fillings and 2 larger fillings. I had to threaten the girl who answered the phone give me this extremely broad estimate by telling her that if she didn’t give me some sense of how much it would cost to get my teeth done that I’d just go to a foreign country to have my fillings extracted. She kept evading the question saying that my “oral ecology” would be repaired and that that would be “worth whatever the cost”. The range she gave me was, admittedly expensive even on the low-end of the range, When I’d looked at dental tourism sites in different countries like Mexico and Ecuador, the cost of each procedure was clearly listed and I could add it up for myself to determine an approximate cost for John and me to get our fillings removed. That’s one of the major perks of medical tourism in Mexico.

 

My mouth is a fairly straightforward situation. I’ve had 5 cavities filled in my 41 years of life on earth. That’s it. I haven’t had any root canals. My wisdom teeth were taken out without fanfare. But the woman I spoke with on the phone at the holistic dentist in Denver told me that John, Lydian, and I would each have to pay about $900 just to have an initial consultation to then find out how much it would cost to have our amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composites.

 

Who can afford to pay $900 per person just for an initial consultation at the dentist’s office? The lady on the phone kept warning me that, “Before we can replace your mercury fillings, the dentist may need to do some other preliminary work to address issue with the ecology of your mouth.” And then she told me that she didn’t know how long the whole amalgam removal and oral ecology repair job would take. I got the feeling that I should allot about a year of dental visits, traveling back and forth from home to Denver in order to complete it all.

 

That sounded fishy to me. I imagined spending $36,000+ on dental bills when none of us were even having dental problems. It made me not want to get my mercury fillings removed…I mean, the idea of getting my amalgam fillings extracted from my mouth, my teeth re-drilled, and the filling replaced with composite material was already an unpalatable thought, but the cost of getting mercury fillings replaced added another layer of resistance to the whole project.

 

Find Health in Ecuador:

 

Right after I got off the phone with the holistic dentist in Denver, I called Ecuador. I’d found a place called Find Health in Ecuador in an online search and I’d read a couple of blog posts written by people who were happy with their experience there. So while I was still in shock over the estimate from the Denver holistic dentist, I went over to my window and started calling foreign countries.

 

As I mentioned before, the intriguing thing about Find Health in Ecuador and medical tourism in general was that the cost of the procedures was listed on the web site. The prices weren’t “variable” and there was really no need for me to call to get an “estimate” because I could estimate the costs of our dental work myself just by looking at their dental procedure menu. Rather than calling Find Health in Ecuador to get a price estimate on removing amalgam fillings, I called to see how I felt about the office staff and find out about the procedure that they use to remove the fillings and replace them with composite.

 

The woman who answered the phone was friendly, but our connection was bad. The unfortunate ongoing buzz during the call reminded me of the distance between home and Ecuador, which was a little intimidating, but having traveled abroad, I knew that she was probably sitting in comfortable, clean office somewhere surrounded by all the modern amenities available in American dental offices. She struggled a little bit with some of my questions that I was asking in English. I purposely didn’t speak Spanish with her because I wanted to make sure that there were, in fact, English speakers on staff at the facility. At the end of the call, I was satisfied and ready to book an appointment. I just needed to talk to John about booking airline tickets to Ecuador.

 

How I Found the Holistic Dentist in Tijuana:

 

I was satisfied with the holistic dentist in Ecuador and I was ready to set up the appointments for our family when I discovered a holistic dental care facility in Tijuana: American BioDental. Tijuana is also a big medical tourism destination for people looking for cheap drugs (pharmaceuticals, that is) and alternative cancer treatments that actually work. It’s a place that I’ve wanted to visit for a long time because it’s kind of a medical tourism mecca for U.S. citizens who don’t want to travel too far across the border for affordable medical care. So John and I made plans to go to Tijuana by car. That would make it possible for us to explore the city a little and find out what Tijuana is really like.

 

I emailed American BioDental first and didn’t hear back from them for a few days. I’d read good things about this place and learned that American Holistic Care was an affiliated company that provided treatments like chelation therapy in conjunction with holistic dental care. I was sold on the place because of that. The Denver holistic dentist didn’t offer chelation therapy (which is recommended for people who’ve had their mercury fillings removed). I’d have to seek that out later. So I finally called and spoke with Javier at American BioDental about making appointments for our family. He spoke English fluently and made appointments for all of us beginning on a Tuesday at 9:00 AM in January and ending on a Saturday.

 

When we got to American BioDental in Tijuana, it because apparent why Javier didn’t send me an email back right away. Scheduling at American BioDental is a dynamic activity. People show up from different areas of the United States, Mexico, and Canada and they’re evaluated and then appointments are made so that these people can receive treatment before their round trip airline tickets take them back home. American Holistic Care is right next door to the dental office and they put chelation IV’s on dental patients before they go into their dental appointments. They can get an amazing amount of dental work done on patients in a conservative amount of time on a reasonable budget.

 

They use the Huggins Protocol to remove mercury amalgam fillings at the BioDental place. I was concerned about this part of the extraction. The rubber dam seemed really important to me. I didn’t want John or I to swallow our mercury fillings. So, if you’re worried about whether they use the Huggins Protocol or not, don’t. But it’s not a fun experience. If you’ve never had a rubber dam in your mouth or if you have problems with claustrophobia, consider asking for sedation.

 

John, Lydian, and I all had our first appointment on Tuesday morning at American BioDental. Our fillings were then scheduled to be removed over the following four days. We also had chelation therapy that happened as we were getting our dental treatments done. John’s fillings were removed and then replaced within 2 days. My amalgam fillings took 4 days, even though there were fewer of them. My favorite dentist was Dr. Rene although Dr. Ismael did a good job too. Me and Dr. Ismael got off on a bad foot when he put the rubber dam in my mouth and I wasn’t exactly ready to be put on mute. He did a good job on my teeth though. Dr. Rene was attentive to my anxieties and very concerned about whether or not I was feeling any pain (I really liked that). He communicated with me about each stage of the filling replacement process. John and Lydian had Dr. Felipe and Dr. Wendy and they were both happy with their experiences with these doctors too.

 

We spent almost 4 full days at the dental clinic and during that time, I sat and listened a lot and talked with other patients there. I was struck by how open people were about their health problems…how nearly everyone there was earnestly searching for health. Quite a few patients were there doing alternative cancer treatments including a female medical student who sat next to me in the chelation and IV room (she was getting a few different IV treatments). Another woman was there with her husband. They’d done hyperbaric oxygen treatments at the hyperbaric chamber across the hall in the Grand Hotel where the dental and holistic care clinic is located. Her husband didn’t like it because it was quite cold in the chamber and the chamber was pretty “tight” too. So if you plan to do hyperbaric oxygen therapy, bring a warm coat.

 

Another couple came from Florida for an array of dental procedures. They were there because the cost of the dental procedures they’d been quoted in the United States was exorbitant. They were seeking affordable dental care. Mission accomplished.

 

I overheard another woman, a public health educator from Los Angeles, talking with a newly arrived patient who was filling out paperwork. The public health educator talked about how she’d been coming to American BioDental for 8 years and bringing other patients, her clients, for 6 of those years. Initially, she’d gone to the clinic to have dental work done, but over time, people she knew became interested in the affordable dental services and alternative cancer treatments in Tijuana. So she started a business helping people get across the border, navigate through the medical tourism experience, and then go back home.

 

Despite the always painful realities of dental work, American BioDental was a really positive place. People were there to heal.

 

Summary

 

If you’re looking for an affordable holistic dentist that’s right across the border, I’d recommend going to Tijuana to American BioDental. I was told by staff that there are 2 other “holistic” dental clinics in Tijuana, but these clinics aren’t really “holistic”. So be careful if you’re shopping around and make sure that you’re actually getting holistic dental care. If you have questions about the various procedures and treatments at American BioDental, ask to speak with “Alex”. He’s fluent in English and he can answer specific questions about each step of the treatment processes that are on offer there.





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