Clairemont to Rosarito: A Dental Adventure

(l-r) Dr Steve Hurst, DDS of Hurst Dental Care in Clairemont, Dr Brent Harris, DMD of S.A.H Dentistry in Port St.Lucie, FL & Dr Barry Hillam, DDS, MAGD of Provo, UT

Knowing good, reliable and honest tradespeople is key.  A good mechanic, a plumber, veterinarian, I could go on.  For me, having a reliable dentist is right up there at the top.  It’s been close to a decade since I have been with Hurst Dental Care (HDC) in Clairemont.  Dr Steve Hurst (Doc) was referred to me from a friend when we moved back to San Diego.

I like being able to talk to people and not always be “sold” whenever I am in a situation I ask the professional, what would you do?

I have known for years I would be needing some dental work (implants) down the line and quite frankly, it is quite expensive, so I did not have a choice of being proactive but would rather have to be reactive, meaning I will take care of it when my hand is forced.  Well the tooth ache started just prior to my regular cleaning.  During the visit Doc & I talked, he said Chris don’t forget about the implant program I am running down South.  For me it was now the time to be reactive and proactive.

I have heard the stories good and bad about getting work done, whether it is dental or medical south of the border.  However, I trust Doc and we talked about it some more:  the plan, the procedure and I scheduled my trip.


Dr Hurst along with his dental practice in Clairemont works with the California Implant Institute (CIP) and provides a service not only to his dental clients, but also and more importantly a service to other dentists around the country for their continuous ongoing training.  Without getting into all the specifics and behind the scenes basically, dentists from around the country travel to Rosarito (30 minutes across the border) to learn more and update their required training in order to stay licensed.  The dentists from all over  pay to attend this hands on dental training.  Dentists are working alongside and with implant specialists such as Dr Steve and others from the CIP.  After a week of hands on work the dentists now take their experience back to their own respective practices and are now able to offer services to their own client base.  To find out more in depth details about the program I would encourage you to call HDC, Doc lights up when he talks about the program.

My Situation:

I know I will probably need 2 dental implants and they are costly.  Doc has a program Free Extractions & Free Implants ( the caveat you have to travel down to his office in Rosarito.  Would you be willing to save thousands of dollars to have a tooth or teeth extracted and prepped for an implant across the border?  Well, for me the answer was YES.

I will be honest, I was a bit apprehensive, but I trust Doc.  I arrived for the “shuttle” at his Clairemont office that would take us down.  8 strangers on a mini bus crossing the border, I looked at it as an adventure.  Turns out 3 of the 8 strangers this was not their first rodeo they had been multiple times for multiple procedures or new procedures and they could not say enough good things about the program.  Before we even left the parking lot I was a bit more at ease.

For some reason the route we took from the 3rd party shuttle company was a bit out of the way.  However, it was a scenic tour in a place I had never seen and I was never nervous about the journey.

While awaiting dental procedures patients lounged overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the property at a local B&B 50 yards from the office (Photo by Chris O’Connell)

We arrived at the location in a gated community overlooking the Pacific Ocean; literally we were right on the water.  My bus mates and I were then escorted over to a house (B&B) overlooking the ocean.  Think of it as your not so typical dental waiting room.  This was a house with wifi, a tv, a kitchen, bathroom etc and the backyard is the Pacific Ocean.

There were 6 others who had driven down on their own.  So now a house full of strangers all with dental issues it was actually pretty funny sharing dental war stories.  People popping out flippers, smiles with holes in their head, tooth aches etc.  I met people from Denver, Saskatchewan, Sacramento and two locals who were even familiar with the Clairemont Times how about that!

I was part of the second group called over so in the meantime I fell asleep listening to the ocean waves on a deck chair under June gloom skies, then I went for a walk found some chickens and a goat.  Others went and had fish tacos and a beer at a restaurant adjacent to the property.

When I was summoned over for my turn the place was bustling.  There were the dentists from all around the country, dental assistants, and specialists from the CIP and of course the friendly face of my dentist Dr Steve.  I had two dentists one from Reno, NV and one from West Palm Beach, FL who were going to be working on me.  All 4 of us 3 dentists and myself talked about what they had researched on my chart and we all went over again what was going to take place.

I will not bore you with my particular mouth dilemma, but suffice to say the most important takeaway is the atmosphere is professional, clean and safe.  I had plenty of Novocain and experienced the usual dentist chair excitement.   I had work done by licensed dentists with their own respective practice all while under the supervision of my dentist, Dr Steve (plus others from the CIP).

Is this for everybody? Not sure that is your call.  For me, I am just beginning the process; saving multiple thousands of dollars on necessary dental work is a no brainer.  I would encourage everyone to discuss their particular needs with their own dentist or of course call Hurst Dental Care.  One does not have to be a regular client of HDC you can still have your own dentist and just take part in this program.

Key Facts about the Program and the Day of:

  • Talk with your dentist about your dental implant needs, then call HDC to learn more
  • A CT mouth scan (paid out of pocket $190) is 100% necessary prior to partaking in the program, the Dr’s need the best images prior to any procedures (inquire with HDC)
  • Plan on a day in Mexico. A passport is necessary. You can take the shuttle r/t for $90 or you can drive yourself down or find your own way to the Rosarito office.
  • Bring a book or something to occupy your time in addition bring lunch, snacks etc.
  • Confidence, at least for me, knowing this was a professional and safe environment

I would encourage everyone to do their own research.  If you have specific questions,

The massive property alongside the toll road also had some chickens and a goat.

please feel free to call me about my experience I am more than happy to share my day with you (858) 752-9779.  Please note, I am not a shill for Dr Hurst I am a paying client of his and have been for close to a decade.  Just so happens he has a great program for which I need the service and it will save me a great deal of money.

To learn more call Hurst Dental Care on Genesee Ave at (858) 223-0233 or visit or