ALGODONES, Mex. -
Los Algodones is known for its dental work. There are more dentists per capita than anywhere else in the world. With more than 900 dentists employed in over 300 clinics in the area. At first glance, you wouldn't think this small town was a cash cow for doctors, but as you look around you'll see a medical facility on every corner.
Los Algodones Dentist, Aldo Pompa says, "Here in Los Algodones, it's like the wall street of dentistry. You have everything here from top notch technology. We have the newest techniques, everything. We see people from all over the world and that's something i wanted to experience. Most of our patients, they come from Canada and from the States, Russia, from Asia, everywhere." Pompa says visitors find the location convenient, but he believes it's the prices and quality of work that keep customers coming back. "We have compared the prices they give our patients there in the states and its completely off the charts, so i can assure you that over here we beat any price that you would find in the states." However for many... getting medical procedures done for so cheap can raise some eyebrows. Pompa says, "Many people would think if they're cheaper, quality wise...but actually we beat the quality as well. We can do all the work, with better quality and better price."
For many, getting another perspective "across the border" may also help answers a few questions when looking for medical care. Yuma dentist Craig Barrows says, while it may be cheaper to go down to Mexico, getting dental work done down there is not something he would advise.
Barrows says, "The number one reason he believes patients go south of the country to have dentistry done is for cost, but again sometimes we find it doesn't always work out that way and that they end up having to come up to us in the united states. They don't have the training that it takes to provide the type of dentistry we do and that goes along with owning a business in the united states. Barrows says he's had numerous patients in need of help due to botched procedures they have had in Mexico. "They come to me and other Dentists in Yuma because they know that something is not right and they are ready to get it done the proper way. When patients go to Mexico, the treatment they receive their just not happy with. They may not know why, but they know it doesn't feel right or there's some discomfort with it."
Most people from the U.S. go to Los Algodones for their dental needs, but as we dove deeper into the story, we found that more and more people are going down there for cosmetic surgery. Los Algodones Dermatologist Roberto Flores says his business is booming with more and more people coming to him for fillers and Botox. He says, "Now in the last five to six years, now they come more for cosmetic. Number one is Botox and fillers. I also do Laser treatment for skin rejuvenation. Fifty's and up, i treat for Botox and fillers." However Flores says the patients are getting younger every day. "Now they start in the thirties, even some girls in their twenties they start to do something. Botox for the frown or make the lips bigger."
Board certified plastic surgeon in Yuma, David Hohuan says that cosmetic surgery like Botox and fillers have been vastly popular due to evolving acceptance worldwide and the fact that they have little to no downtime with noticeable results. Not all fillers in Mexico are FDA approved and because of that, there are many unsuccessful procedures done.
Hohuan says, "One of the things patients have to be careful of, is getting Botox or fillers that are not from the manufacturer, it might be expired or diluted with something else so the effect will not be as potent and will not last a long." He also adds that he's fixed botched procedures from patients that have had work done in Mexico before. Hohuan says, "I've had quite a few patients who have gone to Mexico, to receive some cosmetic facial plastic surgery and they've come back to me because they've either been disfigured in some type of way or they need revision surgery."
Overall, whether you come to Los Algodones to immerse yourself in the Mexican culture or come for your medical needs, one thing we have learned is that it pays to do your research.
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