Dental tourism in Los Algodones raises concerns of exploitative industry practices

Published on : Friday, October 13, 2017

Dental tourism in Los AlgodonesThe town of Los Algodones in Mexico carries the nickname of “Molar City”. It has a population of just 6,000 people, and, shockingly, it has more than 500 practising dentists. There is an extensive clustering of dental clinics within a four block radius.


Many of these dentists chose to work in this town because of the tourist traffic, due to its proximity to the Mexico-United States border. Thousands of Canadian and American tourists come to Los Algodones to spend the day in souvenir shopping, eating and drinking in the local restaurants, and buying alcohol, prescription drugs and dental care at lower costs than available back home.


However, there are concerns regarding exploitative industry practices in Los Algodones, Mexico. These include poor working conditions and discriminatory practices for employees in dental clinics, harassment of indigenous street vendors and lack of access to dental care for local residents.


Clinic employees and local residents also often report of stressful interactions in the industry for meeting the expectations of clinic owners. Some owners even encourage employees to minimize their Mexican accents.


Most of the dental services in Los Algodones are also focused on major restorative treatment rather than preventative care, given the needs of dental tourists.


Overall, the “dental Shangri-la of the Mexican desert” is only a blessing for those able and willing to travel and pay for dental care.


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