While US tourists and most medical tourists cannot cross the US-Mexico border, dental tourism to Mexico is being treated as essential travel. In spite of the current COVID-19 threat, Americans are travelling there for treatment.
American tourists and medical tourists looking to make a trip to Mexico will have to wait for a further decision by the Department of Homeland Security, who has yet again extended border closures to nonessential travel until 21 July. There is also a strong possibility that this date will be extended.
However, it appears that most dental tourists are being allowed into Mexico, as dental treatment is regarded as essential travel.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, dental facilities in Mexico have been among the first in the world to reopen their doors and welcome patients. And Americans in need of treatment are responding. Dental Departures, a global dental online travel agency has reported four consecutive weeks of increased appointment bookings along with a 60% increase in traffic.
“Dental clinics and hospitals along the border have treated hundreds of patients over the past two months, mostly at drive-to destinations such as Tijuana, Los Algodones, Mexicali, Nogales, Nuevo Progreso and Matamoros” said Paul McTaggart, CEO of Dental Departures. “Dental care is considered an essential service, and we know of no patient seeking treatment who has been turned away at the Border. During and post-COVID, re-establishing patient trust is the highest priority for clinics, and for us, and it is all starting in Mexico.”
As a free service to patients and clinics, Dental Departures has created a Travel Restrictions Dashboard, updated daily, that informs patients which cities and municipalities in Mexico (plus 20 other medical travel destinations worldwide) are authorised to treat patients.
Alejandro Gutierrez of Sani Dental Group, which has two clinics in the dental tourism town of Los Algodones, and one in Playacar, says; “We are seeing emergency patients who have waited too long for treatment, as well as Americans booking to save money on expensive procedures, such as implants and restorative care. We have implemented all COVID-19 protocols to ensure a safe, rewarding patient experience.”
Sani Dental Group, is the only dental group in the region with the COVID-19 Trust Shield Certificate, offered by Dental Departures. The certificate shows that the group has adapted their operations to ensure the high standards for patients, which include several implemented guidelines that will become the new standard of care.
Dental Departures has introduced new best practices for its partner dental clinics, which varies based on each country/city/province or legal authority. These include:
- Temperature screening upon arrival of patients and staff
- Sanitary gel stations at entry/exit points of the clinic/hospitals
- Face masks for 100% of medical/dental staff at all times during work shifts
Requiring staff exhibiting any symptoms of Covid-19 to stay at home & self-quarantine for 14 days
- Requiring patients to complete questionnaires prior to treatment certifying that they have not travelled to/from specific countries nor have they exhibited flu-like-symptoms
- Banning patients from specific countries from receiving care at their dental/medical facility
- Banning all elective dental/medical treatments; only permitting emergency dental/medical treatment