Mouthful of Misery

Every day, hundreds of Americans travel to Mexico for medical or dental care, sometimes because it is cheaper, and sometimes because their insurance won't cover a certain procedure. While the majority of work done is successful and safe, there are some horror stories. Case in point, the story of Hope Norris, a woman who went to Mexico for some dental work and came back with a mouthful of misery.

Norris cashed in her 401(k), saved as much as she could, and even took out several small loans to scrape together enough money to travel from Southern California to Mexico to fix several problems, including a big gap between her front teeth. Norris says she did her research, settling on a dentist she found on the Internet.  As soon as she got there, the nightmare began.

The first day, a dental student pulled more than 20 teeth in one day, using barely more than a local anesthesia. The next day, the dentist implanted 22 metal posts, then snapped on dentures, top and bottom. This was all done without any x-rays nor molds of her teeth. Norris says the teeth were too big. “I looked like Mr. Ed. I looked in the mirror and cried,” Norris told FOX 11 News’ Gigi Graciette.

Once back in Los Angeles, the first signs of infection set in, then Norris’ jaw began to swell. After several days, without relief, a desperate Norris did the unthinkable. “I pulled them out with pliers,” she told Gigi. Eventually, Norris found a dentist that helped her treat the massive infection and fitted her for dentures, the glue-in kind. Norris is disappointed by her visit to Mexico for the dental work and, despite repeated attempts, she was not able to get the dentist to repay her the tens-of-thousands of dollars she spent on the disastrous work. An attorney Gigi spoke to tells us that it is almost impossible to sue a doctor or dentist who does shoddy work across the border.  

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