Are You in Need of a Full Dental Restoration?

By on August 11, 2011
woman smiling

By Carol Doyel –

I was in a motorcycle accident when I was nineteen years old and experienced a high impact hit to my face and mouth, resulting in a broken front tooth and possible root damage to my other front teeth. My dentist told me that overtime I could experience problems with the other front teeth and could eventually even die. So I had my two front teeth capped to match and hoped everything would be okay.

Years later my regular dentist suggested that I cap all four front teeth to create a better transition from the capped teeth to my natural ones, so I agreed to go ahead with his recommendation.

Over time though the front tooth that had broken became loose and had to be pulled, so my dentist recommended doing a four-unit bridge on my four front teeth. That was 18 years ago.

Now fast forward to Father’s Day 2009. I was just about to enjoy a nice dinner with my family all seated at the dining room table, when I took my first bite of corn on the cob, oops should have never been eating that given the problematic bridge that my dentist at that time told me would need to be replaced eventually – sooner rather than later. He had talked about a “total restoration” but we hadn’t talked about the details. I think I was in denial. Well, on that day my fate was sealed and the bridge broke completely off leaving just the four front roots.

I couldn’t believe it and knew right away what the consequences were, no more denial. At that time a dental restoration was not possible because as a real estate broker in a small town in 2009 with the market crashing, and a husband doing local contracting work, we were barely hanging on and making ends meet from month-to-month.

I had been told by my dentist at the time and a specialist in Bend, Oregon that the cost for the implants and additional recommended dental work would be approximately $32,000. This was not an option for me at the time. I think the dentist assumed we would do what we needed to do to pay for the work; I guess they hadn’t experienced the same economic downturn that my husband and I had.

So I went to a clinic that made up a temporary for me which consisted of something that looked like Halloween teeth, I think it was made out of polyurethane, at least it smelled and tasted like it for the first few days. With four missing front teeth, I think I was on the verge of crying at any given time day or night, but I knew crying wouldn’t help. It was a very humbling experience going without my front teeth, even though it was really only for two days. But the temporary unit that they made for me was just that, temporary or it was suppose to be temporary.

Well, I lived with it for almost a year. It hurt to have it on all day and I couldn’t wait to take it out at night when my husband would roll-over to go to sleep I would pull it out and place it in a container right next to me on my nightstand in case of any possible night time interruptions that might require me to pop it right back in. I never let my husband see me once without my front teeth, call it vanity but I don’t care I was not about to let him see me toothless! I kept gauze in the front teeth, or gums should I say, the first couple of days right after the bridge broke until I got the temporary unit. So people might have thought I had a tooth pulled.

Clinicia Integral Rubio

Now fast forward again to April 2010 when my mother-in-law suggested that I go to a dentist she had seen while she was in Yuma AZ as a snowbird and where many of her snowbird friends go for dental care in the winter months. She told me about a Dr. Rubio and his dental clinic, Clinical Integral Rubio which is located just across the border from Yuma in Los Algodones, B.C., Mexico, near the border of CA and AZ. Now the first thing you may think about is all of the border issues along Mexico and the United States, which is what I was concerned about too.

However, I decided I needed to do something and frankly didn’t care if I got shot at that point and was not about to spend $32,000 if I could get quality services for less than half the price. Well, as it turns out it’s very safe and I’ve never felt threatened and have even gone by myself a couple of times.

Dr. Rubio's front office staff

My initial contact with Dr. Rubio’s office was by email via their website: http://dentalrubio.com.  They set up my first appointment and my mother in-law met me in Yuma and picked up my sister in-law on the way, so we kind of made it a mini-vacation. My mother and sister in-law went with me across the border to Dr. Rubio’s office.

I was grateful and highly recommend anyone considering going to Los Algodondes for dental treatment or other services to go with someone who has gone before them to show them the ropes. We had great fun and even though that first trip included me having my three front teeth pulled and one back one, I managed to keep a sense of humor and controlled the pain a bit by enjoying soupa and a margarita at a quaint little restaurant directly across from Dr. Rubio’s office where you might hear “Hotel California” sung during lunch hour by their regular musician who sings great American oldies in broken English.

Really after having major dental work, feeling groggy, and after a margarita you could be in the heart of Playa Del Carmen and not have any more of an authentic experience then across the street from Dr. Rubio’s office in Los Algodondes, just 20-30 minutes from the Best Western Coronado Motor Hotel in Yuma, AZ; the oldest Best Western hotel in the United States, and very vintage I might add.

My mother in-law and a number of her friends all had major dental work done at Dr. Rubio’s clinic, including implants, crowns and bridges all with good reports as to the quality and the cost of the treatment. So I was not really nervous or concerned about the credentials of Dr. Rubio or his staff. I had read all of the information that I could find on Dr. Rubio and his website, and felt confident that he was well trained; as a matter-of-fact he is considered an implant specialist and probably does more implants in any given month or year than most US specialists.

I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at Dr. Rubio’s office on Av. A, it’s a large beautiful white stucco looking building. And when we went inside into the waiting room it was filled with what looked like to be retired American snowbirds, tanned and in vacation attire. I already felt much better.

Upon meeting Dr. Rubio I could tell right away he was very professional and a confident dentist. I liked him immediately. They completed a full evaluation and confirmed that I did indeed need a full restoration, still not fully understanding what that meant, Dr. Rubio explained what needed to be done first in his fairly-good broken English.

After meeting with his administrative staff to review the treatment plan options, it was nice that they gave me three different plans to choose from, they recommended the plan which included putting crowns on all of my bottom teeth, four implants on top and crowns on the rest of my top teeth to create an even bite, so as not to have an uneven bite that could and most likely would lead to the loss of more teeth, requiring more implants, so basically a whole new Hollywood dental makeover. The cost, $16,000.

Based on having 8 teeth done in the US it would have been twice as much and my US dentist was talking about having me possibly wear braces on my lower teeth and then having them all crowned. In figuring out what the cost would have been based on the treatment plan provided by Dr. Rubio’s clinic, it would have cost closer to $50,000 in the US, a far cry from $16,000.

The treatment plan has taken me to Los Algodones many times. I think I have been there now six times due to the steps involved in having teeth pulled and bone graphs, then letting that heal for six months, then going back to have four implants put in and letting that heal for six months, followed up with abutments and letting that heal before finally getting impressions for the crowns. I am now down to one last appointment before having the permanent crowns put on. Even with the cost of the traveling expenses, I will still be at around $20.000+ compared to nearly $50,000.

And they have allowed me to pay as I go instead of being expected to pay for ½ of the work upfront to start the work as the dentists in the US required. I would never have been able to get started if they would have required even half of the $32,000 for a fraction of the work that I’ve ended up having done at Dr. Rubio’s clinic.

So are there any draw backs?  Sure there are. There was the initial fear of crossing the border and then the concern with sub-standard care, which is clearly not the case at all. I have always received professional care and the sterilization standards from what I can see are similar to what I would expect at any dental or medical facility in the US. The staff is highly trained and confident, which I believe is due to the number of patients that they see with similar dentistry needs and issues. On any given day and time they may have 6-8 patients in the waiting room, although it’s not crowded or chaotic in any way, but definitely busy.

The language barrier has been a problem at times I have had to send emails back and forth a few times to get the right information when trying to communicate a specific concern or question/s that I’ve had. The most challenging issue is getting them to explain treatment procedures, step by step. I often just have to do what they tell me to do without knowing all the details; as has been the case when they have needed to send me across the street to a referring endodontist, Dr. Dominguez, who is a character and who at times will all of sudden built-out a line from a song playing on one of his favorite CD’s that he often plays. I have come to accept that they I have to go with the flow. Whereas, in the US I’m accustomed to the dentists explaining things usually blow-by-blow, what they’re going to do and approximately how long it will take, and next steps, at least that’s been my experience.

With Dr. Rubio’s staff, it’s kind of guess work on exactly what they’re doing, and they may leave you with your mouth open sitting there thinking they’re going to do some more work, and then they turn and tell you, oh you can “close your mouth”. At times that they have tried to explain things in their best English, some speak better English then others, I hardly understand a word they’ve said. So I’ve had to come to trust them, which I do now and have since early in the process of having the major work that I’ve had done by them.

Dr. DominguezI have had to trust that I’ve needed the root canals that they’ve recommended, done by Dr. Dominguez, due to having permanent crowns put on that they would not guarantee if I had not had the root canals done, which by the way is a nice benefit to having work done there. They guarantee their work, and I can attest to that having had one implant that failed, at no fault of theirs but simply that it did not take which is not uncommon. Dr. Rubio assured me they would fix it and did another bone graph at no cost to me and is going to replace the failed implant with another implant at no charge.

After having made many trips to Yuma and to Los Algodondes, I have come to love the area, the people, the food, and the prices of other services and goods in Los Algodondes! A perk every time I go, is I get a manicure and pedicure for $20 in-between appointments and enjoy the great soupa and music at that little restaurant I mentioned earlier, they recognize me now when I go there for lunch. I’m going to miss going to Los Algodondes when my dental work is all finished. Maybe my husband and I can go for a visit sometime when he needs some dental work, which may be in the not so distant future.

Some Recommendations:
Get a hotel in Yuma that is closer to the border if you’re planning to take a taxi to Los Algodondes, they’ll drop you off on the US side where you can then walk across the border, and be sure to bring your passport. The cost of the taxi from where I’ve stayed is about $20 each way. I’ve stayed at the Wyndham Hotel and the Best Western Coronado Motor Hotel on 4th Ave., which is very reasonable, clean, and includes a great hot breakfast and they offer full kitchen units. There are numerous hotels in the area to choose from.

And bring swim suit so you can sit by the pool and work or a good book because there’s plenty of time for resting after dental appointments because you won’t fill like doing much more than that. And plan to bring some extra money for the many treasures that the vendors try to sell you as you walk from the border to the dentist office, not for the faint hearted. And if you get a chance, go to “Marilyn” Beauty Saloon not far from Dr. Rubio’s office and treat yourself to a pedicure and manicure, it will make the whole trip worth it.


Contact information:

Clinicia Integral Rubio
Av. A #139
Los Algodondes, MX
Website: http://www.dentalrubio.com/
Email: [email protected]

Carol Doyel is the founder and Chief-in-Editor for LivingBetterat50+, www.livingbetterat50.com/.

Carol Doyel

About Carol Doyel

Carol Doyel is Editor-in-Chief and Founder of LivingBetter50.com. She is a graduate of The Full Gospel Bible Institute and has a passion for women’s ministries, issues and lives. She and her husband of nearly 30 years have three grown kids and four grandchildren. They currently reside in southern California. Her desire is to inspire women to live better physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Yuma taxi | Inkinmyblood

  2. [email protected] Highway

    August 31, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    This is an amazing story, Carol. I applaud you for being strong and having the desire and the strength to proceed.

    Sometimes our dreams push us to do things we wouldn’t normally do. With spiritual strength, belief in your decision making and a little bit of risk taking thrown in, you made it happen. Beth Havey @ Boomer Highway

  3. Dr. Mark Gleckner

    April 20, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I’m so sorry that happened to you. Kudos for taking action.

    • lb50

      April 20, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      Thank you Dr. Gleckner – It was a traumatic event. Having a bridge break and losing your four front teeth was very upsetting. Thank you for your kind remarks. My hope is that there are good options for people requiring care in the US! Maybe you can submit an article on dental care/restoration and options for 50+ women? best, carol doyel

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Are You in Need of a Full Dental Restoration?