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Phoenix firm offers dentists in Algodones
Costs may discourage some Americans from seeking the dental care they need, but an enterprising Phoenix company is offering referrals for those seeking lower prices in Mexico.
Dayo Dental of Phoenix, a medical networking firm, has teamed up with Clinica Rubio in Los Algodones, Baja Calif., to offer an option for dental care to area residents, according to Ron Vinluan, Dayo's managing director.
Dr. Carlos Rubio, a dentist with 25 years of experience, specializes in implant dentistry.
Vinluan said Dayo Dental's networking services provide an option particularly for those Arizonans who lack dental insurance. At present, Dayo provides referrals only to Los Algodones, but Vinluan says it eventually plans to expand its networking services to include dentists in other Mexican cities near Arizona.
"People are looking for savings and worried about the quality of service," Vinluan said. "They come to us because we've done the screening (of dentists) for them."
Yet concerns such as distance, language barrier and quality of care can be an issue for some. Dayo works to plan appointments and select transportation options for patients needing to travel from the Phoenix area and elsewhere in Arizona to Algodones.
"We charter a van from Phoenix that accommodates 10," Vinluan said. "It's for people who aren't comfortable going by themselves."
Because of its proximity to Mexico, Yuma residents are advised to drive and park at the U.S. border, which is only three blocks from Clinica Rubio. Dayo will provide a map. Clients may also pay by credit or debit card but only if they sign up with Dayo.
"One of our requirements is that all dentists speak effective English," Vinluan said. "And the dental facility guarantees all work for four years."
But some question whether the services can deliver all it promises. Rick Murray, executive director of the Arizona Dental Association, said it is a matter of buyer beware when going to Mexico for dental work.
"I find it interesting people will go to a country for dental care where they won't even drink the water," Murray said. "This is not a condemnation of dental service in Mexico because there are some good practitioners there."
Technology and regulations U.S. dentists must abide by is what keeps patients safe, Murray said, and equivalent standards are not available in Mexico.
He doubts patients have the ability to recover expenses for bungled procedures, he said, because there is no legal recourse for American citizens in a Mexican jurisdiction.
"I would question the liability of Dayo Dental if there was a question of responsibility for dental treatment gone awry," Murray said. "That is obviously a risk Dayo is willing to take."
Yet word of mouth of Rubio's reliability led Gerald Redner of Surprise, Ariz., to an Internet search, and he found Rubio's credentials were considerable, he said.
Redner, a retired sales manager for Brown and Williamson Tobacco, also discovered Dayo while searching online for implant services. It was Dayo's credit card policy that convinced Redner to schedule his first consultation with Rubio last October, he said.
Estimates in the United States for the work he required were $32,000 - yet considerably less in Mexico, he noted.
"He seems to be very thorough," Redner said. "His office is spotless and he explains his method of treatment."
During four hours of surgery, Redner had three extractions and eight implants completed and expects to return to finish the procedure that will fit him with new teeth.
"At this point, for what he has done I think it's going to work," Redner said. "I should be finished by the end of June. I have no qualms, I'm very satisfied."
Ken Bradshaw, a retired employee of the California Department of Transportation who is now living in Phoenix, said he could not think of anything negative to say about Rubio.
"If they were going to do extensive reconstructive surgery, I decided to opt for a full set of dentures and no more toothaches."
But Bradshaw required 26 teeth pulled and, he said, was "hard pressed" to find an American dentist willing to extract that many. Yet after two months with new dentures, he has had no trouble, he noted.
"The atmosphere of the office is wonderful," Bradshaw said. "It's like they were interested in your comfort."
The only expense for Dayo clients is a one-time $30 membership fee, according to Vinluan. Dayo is also planning to expand its services to Nogales and Puerto Penasco soon, he said.
For more information about Dayo Dental, go to its Web site, www.dayodental.com, or call 1-877-987-DAYO.
William Roller can be reached at wroller@yuma sun.com or 539-6858.