Dental Clinic & Hotel Complex
Open 7 Days A Week. No Appointment Necessary
Fierro Dental Clinic And Hotel Karina Complex
REVIEW: Just South of the
Medical Border © Story by
BK Stampley, PhD.
It’s just a short run to the Third World. Three miles in
fact. That’s how far it is from
Columbus, New Mexico to
sits quietly along Interstate 11, eighty miles from Las Cruces and about a
hundred and thirty miles south of Tucson, Arizona. In fact Columbus is a great spot for snowbirds ( for those of you that do not speak Travelese,
Snowbirds are migratory folk who seek out warm climes in winter) to escape the
frigid Minnesota winters and that Palomas, Mexico is so close. Being close is
important to travelers and residents alike.
I first heard of inexpensive dental treatment in a little clinic in
mind conjured pictures of a Mexican dentista in a blood stained apron yanking
teeth out with water-pump pliers and no anesthetic.
As I have been an uninsured victim of the robbery that is
health care in America, I decided to see for myself. My imaginary dental clinic
could not have been farther off the mark.
Palomas looks like many of the lesser known border towns.
It is slightly unkempt, with pot holed streets, houses that have no color, and
dogs of dubious ancestry roaming around. They are however, friendly dogs and
Palomas feels OK. There is no sense of needing to look over your shoulder that
is common in so many border towns.
On my first trip, we elected to leave the General, my
trusty Ford Expedition, on the American side and walk across the border. It is
only two blocks to the clinic. We later found that it is perfectly safe to take
your vehicle across. Just make sure that you have no firearms aboard and that
you lock the car securely.
Fierro Clinic is well known to folks who live in the bootheel of New Mexico. Dr
Fierro has been practicing dentistry in
for many years. He is well
regarded in both the Gringo and Hispanic communities and over the last few
years, his clinica has blossomed into a full fledged dental hospital, with oral
surgery and full periodontal care available.
As the demand for less costly health care has grown, many
Americans have looked to the South for a way to make their medical dollar go
farther and The Fierro clinic is a prime example of the quality of care that is
available to those who choose to look.
are eleven dentists. Every one of them, all Mexican nationals, trained in dental
schools in the United States, or at the internationally known University in
Guadalajara. After Dr. Fierro, who oversees the entire operation, Dr. Horatio
Maldanado the maestro of crowns and bridges, acts as mentor and gentle
stabilizing force to the other staff members. The clinic is a shining example of
modern sterility, high tech equipment and sparkling cleanliness. The staff all
speak some English and if one hits a linguistic snag, Vivian, the doctor’s
secretary is fluent in both Spanish and English and is always available to
untangle the problem.
The clinic opens at 8 AM and goes all day long until 6PM.
There are no appointments. It is first come, first serve, so get there early if
you want to spend some part of your day playing in
clinic offers a full range of dental services from cleaning and deep scaling to
crowns and bridges and all sorts of appliances. They also offer Laser whitening
which my wife found to be wonderful. The clinic accepts some insurances, but if
that is an issue, call them before you make the trip. Remember that although
America runs on credit cards, much of the world still uses cash, so plan your
foreign travels accordingly
If you should need a prescription for pain medication,
there is a pharmacia right across the street where you can also stock up one
non- prescription pharmaceuticals for about a third of what they cost in the
There is also a modern vision center where you can have
your eyes examined by an American trained optometrist for much less than in the
States and still have your glasses in two hours. I had a complete eye exam done
and got a six months supply of disposable contacts for less than one hundred
twenty dollars US.
there is the famous “Pink Store” Restaurant and Bar which is purported to have
been a bordello in times gone by. Used by famed bandito Pancho Villa as his
headquarters for the only foreign invasion of the United States in history, the
Pink Store is now a great eating spot and shopping mecca for travelers. We have
been back several times now, for dental care and just to have a fun day.
Margaritas are great and powerful, and the salsa is very picante. Just
down the street at the Hotel Santa Cruz, the Veracruzano style seafood is
To give one an idea of the economic gulf that separates
American dental care from that of Mexico, I give you, dear reader, this
comparison. I required a full set of X-rays, a deep scaling (yuk), a thorough
cleaning, a small permanent bridge, and eight crowns.
The estimated cost of this project? My American dentist, a
wonderful person, smiled and said $10.000. The Fierro clinic’s
quote? $2,000 US dollars. Much more doable on an underinsured writer’s