How Overseas Dental Care Really Works
Billy and I like to share our foreign country medical experiences with our readers because we believe it gives firsthand insight into what goes on. We have been proponents of medical tourism for more than two decades now, and these personal experiences allow you to hear how the service went, if there were problems encountered, and what the pricing is like.
Hopefully, it gives you a clear idea of what it's like to receive medical care in another country.
Regardless of how good one's health is, most people have had dental work. It's not an unfamiliar circumstance, and of all the categories of medical tourism, this one seems to have the safest image.
Since we were going to be in Chapala, Mexico, for several months, we decided to have our teeth cleaned and checked out.
Because this isn't one of my favorite things to do and I have had trouble with my teeth all my life, I can be a bit resistant to actually going to a dentist to begin with. I keep meaning to do it, but, well, there are so many other things I would prefer to do. And the dentist I had been using for cleaning was in a town a few bus stops away -- and the long and short of it is was I never got it together.
So Billy spoke with a friend of his who recently had excellent major work done right here in the town of Chapala. Since I could just walk there in less than 10 minutes from our house sit, Billy gave me the business card and encouraged me to go there.
Believe it or not, because it was so convenient and I really did need to have my annual cleaning, I promptly made an appointment for the next morning.
Both the receptionist and the dentist spoke English, so I felt very comfortable plopping myself down (can anyone really say that?) in the dental chair. What was so exceptional about Dr. Sandra was that before she did anything. she explained what was going to happen next.
No surprises! Isn't that great?
"I'm going to check out your teeth here with this tiny camera first," she said. And into my mouth went a camera-on-a-stick. On the video screen in front of me was an inside look of my dental work. Mama mia!
"OK, I see some problems, but I'm going to clean your teeth first, then take a look with the camera again to be sure," the doctor explained while she showed me certain teeth on the video screen. "Have you ever had your teeth cleaned with powder before? It's quick and efficient and doesn't disturb your enamel."
In all my years of cleaning I have had the scraping and poking, the high pressure water, and the intense laser styles. Never the powder, so this would be a first.
Powder was puffed into my mouth directly onto the teeth, and literally within moments, my teeth were cleaned without pain. It was so enjoyable that I was sitting in amazement.
Another look with the camera and Dr. Sandra showed me my problem areas. There was no denying that several of my aged fillings had expanded and were cracking my teeth. Not only that, but lordy, lordy, my old bridge was a-crackin' too.
Results and pricing
Bottom line? I needed four new inlays, one cavity filled, and a new four-tooth bridge. To make a very long story short, over the next couple of weeks, my dentist drilled, filled, and inlayed my teeth. She cracked and replaced my bridge and adjusted my bite.
I could see the dollar signs accumulating, but the alternative was not pretty. Dr. Sandra said I could wait for the work to be done, but eventually the tooth would crack then perhaps a root canal would be in order. I knew this was true, because I had just had the same experience the year before. Better to get it done and over with, right now. So I paid her the 150 pesos for the cleaning (about US$12) and went home to discuss my situation with Billy.
The total for four gold inlays, one filling, and a four-tooth porcelain bridge came to 12,850 pesos, or about US$1,028.
Billy wants to have fun, too!
Meanwhile, Billy, not wanting me to have all the fun on my own, broke a molar while we were out at lunch. He goes to a different dentist, and she recommended a porcelain inlay for 1,450 pesos, or US$116, and scheduled an appointment for the prep work on the following Monday. She drilled out the old filling, prepped the tooth, and finished up by taking a mold of his mouth. The inlay is produced in Guadalajara, and and one week later the work would be completed.
However, just four days later Billy received a call from his dentist letting him know that his inlay is already finished and that he could come in the very next day to be fit. This was normally her day off, but Doctora Lourdes knew we were leaving for Guatemala the next week and wanted to be sure there were no problems with the dental work.
When was the last time your dentist worked on his or her day off to be sure it fit your schedule instead of his?
Pricing we were quoted for bridges and inlays in the States far exceeded what we paid for this work to be done in Chapala, not to mention the prompt and professional service we received.
About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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