Tijuana!! Dental Trip
Last year I had the pleasant news from my local California dentist that a tooth of mine needed to be removed. Of course this is a specialised procedure which means you have to first get a $300 scan to prove you need the procedure then the pleasant news that one tooth will cost the equivalent of a used car. The figure quoted me was $7000 for extraction, post implant, and then crown. This figure was startling to say the least and my dental insurance is a joke only covering $1500/yr.
I remembered that a friend of mine had travelled to Tijuana to get his dental work handled so I reached out to him for advice and to get a sense of his experience. He had nothing but good things to say and his experience was far enough in the past to be a reliable source I felt.
This was last August when I decided I would follow through with Tijuana. I have to say my first trip there I was a little apprehensive. I reached out to a couple of other dental clinics besides the one my friend recommended. Their explanations and time frames were not as comforting and didn’t feel as though they would be as thorough. The clinic I chose based on my friend’s experience was Washington Dental Clinic. They had no problem answering all my questions on the phone before that first visit.
One of the things I liked about them was their time frame. They refused to rush. The first part of the process was the extraction and bone graft. They said they required you to wait a minimum of 6 months before proceeding with the implant. A number of places even in America like to do the extraction and implant all at once. This clinic said they felt it was important that the area be thoroughly healed before introducing the implant. This made sense to me. The cheapest part of the process is the extraction and bone graft so they wouldn’t be getting rich off the first part that’s for sure. It was only $300 for the extraction and bone graft. The implant portion was $1000 which I had to pay today.
Today’s trip was about 6 months overdue. I hadn’t been able to figure out the logistics of my dogs and schedule and I wasn’t real motivated to have more dental work done. That’s never a fun process I don’t care who does it!
The logistics came together nicely. It wasn’t something I had planned out more than a day or two. I think I messaged the clinic via WhatApp on Friday and one of the guys at work said he’d be happy to help with the dogs so I figured I could go through with the plan.. I start work at 1.30 p.m.so it would be a full day to accomplish this before work.
This morning I was ready to get up by 3am but managed to stay in bed till 4 and then took the pups to a great off leash spot nearby. They spent a good 30-40 mins having a great romp and taking care of the necessary potty break! They then got their breakfast and I set my generator and air conditioner up so they would be nice and cool in my abscence.
All went according to plan. My 6 a.m. flight got me to San Diego by 7:30 and I was checked into the dentist office by 8:15. I didn’t actually get into the procedure part till almost 9:30. I had to wait my turn for one thing but then there was the 3D scan they needed to take to verify bone had healed and placement of the post. Then they had to draw blood again -not really sure why on that. The process of the implant and complimentary teeth cleaning took about 45 mins. I didn’t even feel him give me the shots. The Dentist this time was different from my previous one but just as skilled and proficient. He and his assistant worked together in complete sync. Before they placed the post they had the x-ray showing them the exact spot. Without talking to one another the Dr and his assistant just worked like a well-oiled proficient machine and I mean that in the most respectful way. Truly proficient in their skill-sets and make me a little more critical of most of the dental work I’ve had in the US.
The 2 great dentists I have had in the USA have both retired now so I don’t feel any guilt in saying great things about Washington Dental Clinic in Tijuana.
With all my dental work done it was time to head back to the border. The taxi driver wanted to take me to a different border crossing because of the long wait at the border I came through. I declined because I have the other very important part of the equation. After my last trip to Tijuana last year, I realised that having the Global Entry card is a must!!! My last trip wasn’t bad on the wait but I went down in the middle of the week. Mondays and weekends can be awful for a wait time at the border. The Global Entry card is tied to your passport and includes TSA-Pre check. For the cost of $100 the Global Entry Card is worth so much more!! Today it’s value was crystal clear. There was a super long line that was not moving at all for those without Sentri or Global Entry. Over 6 hours for them. My border crossing back into the USa took maybe 10 minutes. Then instead of UBER I negotiated with a TAXI to get the $70 return trip to San Diego down to $45. Uber would have been about $30 but I was trying to catch a flight and the taxi was there!
I didn’t quite make the 12.05 flight as I had planned but there was another flight at 12.30 which got me in to Oakland slightly late for my evening shift but only a half hour late and I had checked with my bosses at work the day before to be sure that my potential tardiness would be tolerated.
Now here I am about 6 hours post-procedure. No pain, eating carefully so as to not chew on that side but it’s hard to believe I just had my mouth drilled and stitched. The pups were glad to see me as soon as I was able to get out to the lot to give them their afternoon walks.
Another good experience there. I’ll go back in about 6 months or so for the final bit, the crown.