by Jon and Vonda Look (December 2011)
The night we "officially" relocated to San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, Vonda lost a pretty major filling and needed to find a dentist. She wasn't in any sort of pain and it wasn't an emergency, but it was something that needed to be taken care of and of course we didn't want to wait too long to address it.
It was around 7 p.m. when I asked a friend if he knew of any local dentists who could see us on short notice, and he recommended Doctor Mario Flores at Dental San Cristóbal. He told us his office was near our home at Kukurutz right on the Andador (main walking area) and we should go see him. I said thanks and we would get up and go in the morning. He told us we could go right then; he has office hours in the evening. So we left and, after a 10 minute walk, we found the office exactly as he told us—directly across from Anabananna—and we went inside.
The waiting area was a bit aged but clean and serviceable. We talked to the receptionist and she asked us if it was an emergency. Vonda explained that it wasn't but she would like to take care of it soon. She gave her an appointment for 7 p.m. the next night and we left to go out and enjoy a crisp, cool night in San Cristóbal.
The next night we arrived about 10 minutes early and, after a short wait, Vonda was shown into the office. Dr. Flores was a personable man who spoke good English and asked what the problem was. Vonda explained what had happened with the filling and, after a quick examination, Dr. Flores told her he could fix it right away and gave her the cost up front: 500 pesos (about $37 US).
Vonda said the office was clean, seemed to have all the latest equipment and, after 15 minutes or so, she had a new filling. Dr. Flores also politely scolded Vonda for brushing too hard and suggested she go out and get a new tooth brush with softer bristles. We paid. We left. We went to a nearby pharmacy and got a new [child's extra soft with a panda on it] toothbrush. From start to finish, about 45 minutes and $37 plus a new tooth brush.
Now I don't know what the same thing would have cost in the United States but I am sure the cost would have been substantially more. I am also pretty sure it would have been a bit tough to get a next-day appointment as a new patient with a new dentist. I am also pretty sure the odds would be slim for getting a 7 p.m. appointment. Once again we have had another no-muss-no-fuss experience with the Mexican medical establishment and it has been nothing but positive for us.