Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guatemalan dentistry

Thursday night I started to get a little tooth-ache.  By the time we arrived in Antigua Saturday night, the tooth had stopped hurting but my face was starting to swell up.  I figured that wasn´t a good sign.  Of course Sunday nothing was open, so I took advantage of my nursing background and the prescription-free pharmacies here and started myself on some amoxicillin.

Choosing a dentist in a foreign country is a little nerve-wracking, but as it turns out a lot of Americans actually come to Guatemala specifically for dentistry services, a little dental tourism.  Many of the dentists here have an American level of education, but the prices are about 1/10th of the cost.  But rather than finding the cheapest option, I went with the most-recommended.  The dentists even spoke english, which was a definite plus.  They kept me on the amoxicillin (he didn´t seem remotely surprised that I had already started an antibiotic) just at a higher dosage.  And they had me come back Wednesday to meet with the root canal specialist.

I asked a lot of questions, and the specialist was quite comforting.  But as I lay back in the chair, he said "I think it will be better if we do this without anesthesia."  Say what?!  I was more than a little terrified, but by this point I trusted him.  And he was right, I didn´t feel a thing, and it was over in maybe ten minutes.  Just before he filled it he said "OK, now I am going to fill the canal with Clorox." ::sigh::

The root canal was finished with another visit (still no anesthesia used), and then I was back to see the regular dentist again.  I had the option of getting a crown done, or of just having a permanent filling put in, which would last long enough for me to get back to the States before needing the crown.  Since the crown would mean I'd have to stay here in Antigua another week or two, I opted for the filling.  As much as I like Antigua, I am definitely ready to get moving again.

Three dentist visits, no novocaine, I was in and out in twenty to thirty minutes each time.  Not bad.  When I was paying the final bill ($137 all included), we glanced up at the TV, and they were playing a section from the Matt Harding dancing video that we participated in for the DC clip.  It is really weird to be at the dentist in Guatemala and see yourself on TV.


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