It happened one night in May. I was eating dinner and I felt it, in that moment I knew something was not right in my mouth. It was my crown. My tooth underneath the crown had broken and I now had a hole where my tooth should be. And just like that I was faced with the realization that I would have to go to the dentist in Mexico.
Now, understand that going to the dentist is one of my least favorite things to do. I will procrastinate, make excuses, and deliberately ignore my appointments until I have something festering and turning abscess in my mouth. (Yes, I’ve have actually let it go that far, embarrassing, I know). So to be faced with such a dilemma, knowing I couldn’t run back to Louisiana, and that I was going to have to venture into the world of health/dental care in Mexico, was a little unsettling (ok, it was downright terrifying). But, like all big girls do when they have a hole in their mouth – I wiped away my tears and pulled on my big girl bikini bottoms and decided to go to the dentist.
Turns out that I didn’t need to be worried at all, but that comes later in the story.
As is the custom in our neighborhood, when we have a question, we post in our group messaging, so my first task was to ask “Where do I go to the dentist?” followed by “Do they speak English?”. Turns out “Do they speak English” is a pretty important question when you don’t speak Spanish – yet.
So I found a dental office in Tulum, who quickly had me in within two days for a consultation. Two days. Ok, I’m impressed so far. Since we’ve moved to Mexico we have had to become accustomed to things moving a little (or a lot) more slowly that what we were used to. But in two days time, I was sitting inside this small dental office in Tulum, Mexico and I couldn’t help my first thought, which was, “Well, it smells like a real dentist office”. That’s it. The qualifier. It smelled like a dentist office.
Actually, it was a very efficient – one person at a time (really, only one dentist chair) – professional, competent dental office. I’d like to say I relaxed, but that would be a lie. But there was no reason to be nervous, after all, it was just a consultation.
I was expecting the worse news. Expecting to hear that the dentist couldn’t do anything for me and that I would have to have an implant. But instead I heard that the dentist could fix it! It would require a root canal, a pin placed in my root to reconstruct a tooth around, and a new porcelain crown. All for the USD equivalent of about $300! WOW! In the states, I knew I would be looking at a $1000 deductible plus probably another at least $500 out of pocket – and that would just be my portion.
Ok, I was now in love with the dentist. When I went back to the counter after my consultation, expecting to pay for my visit, they gave me their cell phone number instead – yes, their cell number – in order to stay in contact with them if I needed anything. No bill, nothing due, just all part of the complete package. For $300 USD. Wow.
So, appointment number two. The root canal. The most dreaded portion of this ordeal. I think by the time I was sitting in the dental chair I was drenched in a cold sweat. I mean, I’ve had these in the states, I hate them, and all I could think was it was going to be worse in Mexico. I mean, are they even going to give me that horrible shot to make my mouth numb? For such a cheap price, they must be skipping steps, right? Wrong. To say that this was the most gentle root canal and easiest experience I’ve ever had at the dentist would be putting it mildly. I was so overjoyed at my Mexican Dental Experience! I was shocked actually.
Turns out, my first dental “experience” ended up being actually six trips to the dentist’s office. Consultation, Root Canal, Reconstruction, Fitting for the Crown, Placing the Crown, and a Follow Up visit. Oh, and did I mention that all of my appointments started on time! I know, who has ever heard of such a thing! Imagine an appointment that actually starts when it is suppose to.
So, today was my follow up visit. Everything looks good and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.
Scared to go to the dentist? Well, it will never be my favorite thing to do, but at least now it isn’t my least favorite!
Have you had a dental experience in Mexico? Leave us a comment, tell us your story!