Getting dental work done in Mexico


When I first started traveling in 2016 there were a few things I learned about that I didn’t know as a "brick and mortar” person! Besides the fact RVers love to talk about their black tanks, I have never heard of the Alabama Hills, I learned about solar, and I learned you can go to Mexico to get cheaper dental work. I’ve heard some stories about people's experiences, including my parents but I never had to think about it until now.

 Around Christmas time I noticed I chipped a small part of my back tooth; I was in San Diego and heading toward Arizona and the thought came to me to look into the Mexico option. I wanted to get it fixed before I traveled South, and it got worse. Most people have heard of Los Algodones, which has a walk-over border crossing in Yuma, but I was in Tucson and my research quickly taught me that there are many dentists in Nogales MX as well, and that was much closer to where I was currently.

 Los Algodones is known for their medical tourism, within four square blocks it is said to have around 600 dentists, more than anywhere else in the world. Nogales also takes advantage of medical tourism being a border town but on a smaller scale. I was ready to do the drive from Tucson to Yuma before reading about Nogales and decided to turn my research to Nogales to get my work done…here are a few things I learned.


  1. Do your research - Sort of goes without saying, read google reviews and blog posts. Be sure the clinic you choose does the procedure you need. Since many people from Tucson go to Nogales, the Tucson Reddit page is a good resource.

  2. Find middle ground - Once you start to narrow things down some, price is important. One thing I learned on Reddit is don’t choose the cheapest, but you don’t need to choose the most expensive either. Rely on your research to find the best price and feel comfortable with the dentist you choose.

  3. Ask questions - Be sure you contact a few places and ask the questions you need, including price. Because of the language barrier they do a great job of letting you contact via email. The response time is quick and some have online portals to have a back-and-forth conversion to get your questions answered.

  4.  Do some planning - Once you have an appointment it’s time to plan for it.
    a. Where to cross, there are 2 border crossings in Nogales, see which one is the closest to the dentist you choose.

    b. Find a place to park, there are a couple of parking lots I believe for about $5 a day. I parked at the Food City in Nogales AZ and did the 10-minute walk as I was with someone who hung out in town while I was in Mexico.

    c. Make sure to have your passport.

    d. You also may want to make sure you can use your phone in Mexico in case you need to.

    e. Be sure you can use your debit or credit card for payment as well. I saw a few people who had to call their bank while there to pay, avoid this headache.


 As for the crossing into Mexico, I never had an issue. It was fast, I had no wait and didn't get stopped along the way, and I must have done it 10 times total. The way back into the USA goes fast also but is more likely to have a small wait. If you buy anything in Mexico, be aware that it will be searched. The longest wait I had was around 20 minutes.


  1. Find a place to stay - The drive from Tucson is just over an hour so it’s possible to drive down and back in one day. Tucson in winter can be a busy place so beware of that. After my first appointment, I found out I needed more work done so I ended up staying in Patagonia (20 min drive) for half my time at Las Cienegas near Empire Ranch (45 min drive with free camping) for the other half. I didn’t find many good options in Nogales. If you need recommendations leave a comment below.

All in all, I had a really positive experience. As I said above, I needed more work than the chipped tooth. I was able to get appointments made easy and fast, the wait time was much less than in the USA. Once I checked in and was called in, the dentist was waiting for me. I needed a root canal and was able to get it done along with getting a crown ready in one visit, the crowns (depending on what kind you get) only take 24 hours to make so you can often make an appointment for the next day and some dentists say they offer same day crowns. Pretty much all the work I got done was half the price I would have spent in the USA without insurance, I do believe you can work with them if you have insurance, just ask.

I ended up choosing Dental Laser, their office was super clean, very nice and seemed to have top-notch tech with a friendly and helpful staff. They run a big operation from the looks of it, have a large staff that stays on top of things really well, I would highly recommend them.

No one wants to go to the dentist, well at least I don’t, but when you do and Mexico is in sight it’s a great way to save money and get quality work done. If anyone has any questions about my experience feel free to let me know.


Good luck and happy RVing


By Rick Oberreuter, Marketing Director & Part owner of Tough Top Awnings. Has been a full time RVer since 2016 in his vintage 1983 Scamp. Learn more about him HERE


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