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Dentist Challenges

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Yesterday I decided to contact a dentist about a teeth cleaning. We are in AZ. First, trying to get an appt. in a reasonable length of time seems to be a challenge. I was thinking in a week or 2, the 2 dentists I contacted didn't have any appts. for 6-8 weeks. The other challenge was that my dental insurance would cover everything except panoramic xrays(only once every 3 years). Well AZ has a state law that requires a full dental work up, including panoramic xrays for all new patients


I have had dental work in 2-3 states and have never encountered anything like this. Has this become the norm?

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When we first hit the road our dentist gave us a copy of all our X-rays and we always asked for them when visiting dentists on the road. Some were able to use those instead of taking new. Now that many are digitized you can ask them to email them to you or the dentist you wish to visit. While in North Carolina DH broke a tooth and she emailed all x-rays to us.


Each state dental board sets up its own requirements for dental education and practices. Some states that boarder each other may have similar licensing and practice requirements? Kind of like lawyers they can only practice in the state they are licensed in. We have found in the past Alabama and Florida to be less stringent with their requirements but both places we went to friends dentists. We had a bad experience in Oregon where we found this website http://obd.oregonlookups.com/ to evaluate Dentists before visiting. Each state has their own look up procedure some on-line some over the phone or in writing only. It saved us from going to a dentist that either didn't have a current license or had board actions against them.


This website may be of assistance for your search in Arizona: AZ Board of Dentist License Look Up

Some dental schools have free and or low cost clinics, if you are near Tempe, check ASU to see if they have a community program.


Our dentist in Arizona just retired so we will be looking for new one. We don't have dental insurance and he didn't require though encouraged x-rays. He was very sensitive to individual income limitations. He could have been grandfathered into the x-ray requirement? We did go see him every year for cleanings, sometimes twice a year if we were in the area and he catered to the senior crowd. He had been practicing for many years and was a conservative practitioner. ie if it ain't broke don't fix it.


Many dentists are into cosmetic dentistry as that is were the money is and thru x-rays they can generate more business on one hand and on the other can compare changes from visit to visit and potentially nip a problem in the bud. One hygienist told me the X-rays are a CYA for dental practices against frivolous litigation as sometimes the patient doesn't always know and or provide detailed facts about their dental health history.


More and more study on the subject has shown a correlation between oral care and ones general health ie plaque on the teeth may lead to plaque in the arteries***.


***Arterial plaque is a deposit of fat, cholesterol, calcium and scar tissue that develops in the artery wall. Plaque in the mouth is a bacterial film that builds up on teeth. While the two types of plaque are very different, patients with gum disease do seem to have nearly twice the risk of also having heart disease. https://www.sharecare.com/health/vascular-disease/plaque-arteries-same-dental-plaque

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We're in Mesa, so a little far to travel for just a cleaning. Problem is there are a huge number of snowbirds/fulltimers here in the winter so it is really hard to squeeze in appointments this time of year. Very easy in October when we get here and we do a second cleaning just before we leave the first of April. Can't comment on what is required since we do not carry dental insurance any more - premiums were more than 2 cleanings a year; we just 'self-insure' and have come out ahead even with both of us having had to have a crown in the past 10 years.

Barb & Dave O'Keeffe
2002 Alpine 36 MDDS (Figment II), 2018 Ford C-Max HYBRID
Blog: http://www.barbanddave.net
SPK# 90761 FMCA #F337834

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A dentist in Los Algodonnes, MX, near Yuma, about 3 hours away from Mesa/Phoenix is an option. I called our Los Algodonnes dentist a couple of weeks ago for an appointment. I could get in the following week. The dentists in nearby MX are very busy in February and March when all of us snowbirds descend upon the Phoenix area. I have found dental care in Los Algodonnes to be quality work at very reasonable prices. A cleaning for $20 is a good deal.

Warren & Sandy

2006 New Horizons 36 ft 5ver

2003 Freightliner FL60 - Mountain Master conversion

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  • 1 month later...

I had an issue with a dentist in Sierra Vista where I signed up for a first time patient cleaning for $69. When they called to confirm the apt, I told them I had insurance and gave them the insurance info. When I arrived for the cleaning they told me my cost would only be $10 cause I had insurance and 95% was covered by insurance (meant cost was now $180). I told them I didn't want x-rays taken because our plan only covers once per year and my regular dentist would do x-rays in Aug. This dentist claimed they had to take x-rays even for cleaning, so I walked out. I got ahold of a dentist in Nogales, MX and for $20 cash and no paperwork got the best white cleaning ever. Jesus Leonardo Medina, (520) 604-8160.

Also get prescription medicine for 1/3 cost at pharmacy's (no prescription needed), 1 LT Captain Morgan rum for $7 at duty free, 4 course lunch and beer for $3.50 @ Leo's.


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  • 4 months later...

babemooney, first the parking. The Indians have a huge parking lot on the US side of the border, with a walkway to the crossing. It is $6.00 or $7.00 daily. Rvs and buses, prices are higher. No overnight parking. The best way, is to park your rig at a Yuma RV park and just drive to the Indian lot. Or if you are a dry camper, park at the "Q" casino, at the off ramp of I-8 and Algodones RD.(allowed) and the border is about a mile. I will worn you, there are "no parking" signs along the road off I-8 to the border. Don't park, because CHIPS will tow and impound vehicle!

Now the dentists. We first went there 14 years ago and walked across the border only to find a zillion dental offices. We went in one and I really wasn't pleased with the office. So, we went back across the border, drove to the Escapees RV park, Kofa, in Yuma. We asked the lady that was working the desk if she had any recommendations. She showed us some recommendations by park residents that were on the bulletin board. Then she offered her personal choice that she had used for a number of years. Drs. Camacho that are just across the border entrance on the left in a gray block building.  We had seen the office but on their shingle, it said "Pediatric Dentistry" so we didn't stop. It turned out they do all folks but are one of a few that do kids in the town. We still go there and are very satisfied with the very professional services. The Drs. Camachos' are husband and wife. Now their daughter has joined the practice. They do not do root canals as they sent me to another office that equaled their practice. We got a good laugh there as my appointment was at 1 PM. so we were there a little early, the support staff was on their lunch break watching the Mexican Soaps. The Camachos' have you carry your own records. They of course show on paper what work was done and put it in a folder for you to take along and in future trips to bring along for the history. If I were you, I'd talk to a few folks and ask who they went to.  If you don't feel comfortable when arriving at a particular office, leave and go to another. Some dentists actually live in Yuma and just ply their trade across the border. And many have been schooled in the US. If I can be of more help just PM us.

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Glendale, AZ is not far from you.  I had a complete teeth cleaning there for $48 (I paid $50 per quadrant in MX) and it was the most extensive cleaning I have ever had.  The job is performed by a team of 3rd year dental students at the Midwestern University supervised by one of the staff dentists. Exceptional service and at a lower cost than anywhere I have found.  We used to go to Los Algodonnes, MX but not since discovering the MWU.  Plus is they will process your insurance claim but I think only for Delta Dental and BCBS.  The link below will take you to their clinic page (they have several) where you can follow it to the Dental Institute page for additional details.



Edited by KodiakJack

2012 Landmark, San Antonio

2013 Silverado CC, 3500HD, Duramax, DRW, 4x4

Backup, side and hitch cameras, Tireminder TPMS


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  • 4 years later...
26 minutes ago, cariherb said:

I've never seen anything like it. What dentist have you been to? Was he licensed?

Welcome to the Escapee forums. Since the last post on this thread was 4 1/2 years ago, you may not get much response so I suggest that you start a new thread with your questions.  😊

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure



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