The Dental Blacklist

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Our initial intention was to publish profiles of the best dentists in Tijuana. That idea proved to be impracticable. There’s a lot more to being outstanding than being recommended by a tourist or a taxi driver, and those of us on The Real Tijuana simply don’t have the time or energy to vet each dentist. We will leave that project to the medical tourism groups to sort out – our Reader Service can put you in touch with the appropriate group, if that’s what you’re looking for.

There is still a valuable service we might perform. Our blog has become a lightening rod for complaints, so we though we should identify those dentists whose quality we have reason to believe is unacceptable. As Catherine Aird said, “If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.” The complaints we have received have dealt with three general areas: technical quality, personal treatment, and price. Our list falls into two broad categories as a result. “AVOID” is for dentists who have had believable complaints concerning technical quality. “NOT RECOMMENDED” is for dentists for whom complaints in the other two areas predominate.

White Smile Dental Center
Paseo de los Héroes 9150/A6, Zona Río
We received so many angry complaints about this office that we first suspected it was being made the victim of a smear campaign. However, our attempts to contact White Smile were rebuffed. Then we met dentists who used to work there. “They didn’t ask for my credentials or anything,” said one such dentist, “just how fast can I work.” The office suffers from a very high turnover rate; its dentists are employees hired straight out of school and have not had an experienced dentist to supervise them. Any dental office that does not respect the master/journeyman nature of the profession simply cannot be trusted.  

Drs Castro Romo
Blvd Gustavo Díaz Ordaz 1760, La Mesa
(no website)
About five miles from the border, this office (in which all the dentists belong to the same family) attracts a large chicano clientele on the belief that its prices are lower than those in the touristy parts of town. This was not true in the one case we’re aware of, in which the patient was not only overcharged but spent more than two years trying to get the dentists to make good on their botched work. Four other dentists saw this work and each expressed their dismay at its sloppiness.  

Érico Carreño
Luis Cabrera 1509/1, Zona Río
“The best root canal of my life” writes our informant, “unfortunately, the rest of the office did not live up to Dr Carreño’s standards. They seem to have been hired while still in school, younger and more beautiful than any dentist has reason to be. One prepared a tooth for a crown without using a temporary, so the crown needed to be remade and the office manager wanted me to pay for it. Another lost her patience while fitting a bridge without anesthetic, ripped up my gums. The front desk canceled my appointments without so much as a phone call. Repeated requests to discuss my treatment plan were deflected, then they just stopped setting appointments when they reached the maximum benefit of my insurance, leaving one molar untouched.”  

Los Algodones
This little town just south of Yuma, Arizona, has very little to do with Tijuana but we’ve been receiving enough mail from readers that we have to include a blanket warning. Canadian snowbirds discovered the place while wintering in Arizona. The original dentists are now all retired, having been replaced by an army of aggressive marketers and hopeful young dentists from all over the country – “four good dentists and five hundred bad ones” according to local reputation – so quality has been uneven in pretty much every office. One reader we have tried to help with his botched implants is still very unhappy with both the results and the way he was treated.  

Harmony Dental Studio
Blvd Sánchez Taboada 1250/402, Zona Rio
(no website)
No complaints about the quality of the work but many about personal treatment and price. One patient said “Doctor Victor said I’d be involved in treatment decisions, but I wasn’t. I would ask questions about my treatment and he would just ignore me. It was a very stressful experience. I couldn’t wait to get out of his chair.” Another said, “I used my club membership to get a free appraisal. The appraisal I got from another dentist made more sense to me, so I decided to go with that one. Even so, Doctor Victor kept insisting that I set a series of appointments with him. I felt like I was being bullied into being his patient.”
The most disturbing complaint was financial. One patient paid with a credit card, then got home to discover that she had been overcharged by almost ten percent. When the error was questioned, Harmony Dental Studio refused to correct it and insisted that banks normally overcharge when converting between pesos and dollars. Those of us who regularly use U.S. bank cards in Baja know that the opposite is true: we get a more favorable rate of exchange with our cards than we do by changing dollars at the casas de cambio.  

Hospital México
Avenida de la Amistad 9077, Colonia Federal
This is another dental office that does not respect the master/journeyman nature of the profession. A very high turnover rate of dentists who must work cheap and answer to a boss who is not a dentist. Most of the business in this hospital comes from promoting an expensive treatment for Lyme disease on the premise that the patients don’t know they’re infected, such that every patient is presumed to be an unwitting carrier of Lyme. Even the best dentist would have a conflict of interest working under these conditions.

Reconocemos el Derecho de Réplica 
El derecho de réplica previsto por artículo 6° constitucional puede ser reclamado cuando se divulguen “hechos que le aludan, que sean inexactos o falsos, cuya divulgación le cause un agravio ya sea político, económico, en su honor, vida privada y/o imagen” de cualquier ciudadano “siempre y cuando estén sustentados en información falsa o inexacta cuya divulgación cause un agravio a la personas que lo solicite”. Para considerar como válida la notificación del solicitante de la réplica es necesario que el solicitante de la réplica o rectificación aporte pruebas para sustentar su solicitud junto con identificación válida del derechohabiente. Cuando los supuestos de la réplica se apoyen en falacias (como los argumenta ad hominem y petitio principii), el solicitante se incurrirá en el abuso del derecho, así que su réplica se considerará ofensiva, en detrimento del derecho mismo, y su petición será denegada.


Alma Jukenova said...


I relied on their Facebook reviews...... I believed these reviews were real.
And it was my biggest mistake I've ever done -- believing....
This belief cost me $2340, 4 days taken off from work, hours in a traffic AND MY TEETH ARE NEEDED TO BE REDONE AGAIN.....
I had to travel to Tijuana 4 times to see Dr. Victor Martinez from Harmony Dental Studio. I cannot even call this person a doctor anymore, since he has done 4 BIG mistakes in a row, so that my teeth are needed to be redone again......