03 April, 2011

It's Like A Root Canal Only Different

No it isn't. It's exactly that - It's a damned root canal, or, at least it will be. A few days ago, we were enjoying a nice dish of lasagna that Dianna had made, when suddenly - Crunch! Bright lights went off and something like a dagger was jammed up into my skull from my jawbone.

Well, after coming down from the ceiling, I managed to gingerly check my teeth on the right, upper side of my jaw. It felt like everything was still in place. Still hurt like hell but nothing seemed to be missing.

I figured I'd go ahead and finish eating and maybe see if I could finagle a quick appointment with Dra. (Dra. is the Spanish abbreviation for Doctora, the femine of Doctor) Glenda Major. She's a dental surgeon who lives just up the road from us. She also has her clinic on the back part of her lot, convenient for her as well as us as it's within an easy walk from our house.

First time I went to a dentist's office after dark. 6:30 PM, I knock on her door. She buzzed me in and I'm in her simple and efficient waiting room. Of course, there was the usual form to fill out - no not for insurance, but just some personal information and dental history.

After that, I was admitted to the surgery. A nice, clean dental room with the contour chair, overhead light that always seems to shine into your eyes when you're the patient, and something I haven't seen for years in a dentist's office - the swirly-water spittoon beside the chair. I always enjoyed seeing that appliance. Most times nowadays, a visit to the dentist makes you think water is severely rationed. They give you a tiny little squirt and the suction tube whisks it away before you even have a chance to do a good swizzle and spit. Well, at Dra. Glenda's, there'll be opportunity to do just that.

For this evening, she concentrated on my broken tooth and not an overall exam and cleaning. That will come later. She poked and prodded very gently and blew compressed air gently over the tooth which got a rise from me. That confirmed to her that this, indeed, was the problem tooth.

She determined that the tooth did need a root canal to be performed before it could be crowned. Unfortunately, she doesn't do root canals. So my first visit to her ended rather shortly.

Dra. Glenda did refer me to another dentist for the root canal. That is Dra. Monica Vasquez, who along with her husband, who is an internal medicine doctor, have a clinic and pharmacy (Hope Medical - Dental Centre & Pharmacy), located in downtown Corozal.

I managed to get an appointment with her the following morning when we went through similar forms and formalities. Her office was similar to Dra. Glenda's. Anyway, after her exam, she determined that the break in the tooth was too deep for her to deal with in its present state and that I would have to see a dental surgeon who had the necessary equipment to perform the needed surgery. In this case, that involved removing a bit of the gum and some bone around the tooth, before she could complete the root canal.

So, from her place, I had to wait a couple days to head over to Chetumal, Mexico, to visit Dr. Jose Alberto Solis. He has offices in Merida and in Chetumal. His Chetumal office is open only on Thursday and Friday. I managed to coerce Edna, our housekeeper to go with me in case translations were needed. She also helped with navigation.

Dr. Jose admitted us into his surgery. After reading the notes Dra. Monica sent along, he asked a couple of questions - allergies to anesthetics, etc., and then it was into the chair. Interesting tidbit - both Dra's Glenda and Monica had assistants to help. Dr. Jose runs a one person shop.

Anyway, after making all necessary preparations, Edna went back out to the waiting room and I jumped into the contour chair. Bing, bang, boom - about a half-hour later I was done. It was a virtually painless experience. I left his office with what felt and tasted like a whole pack of chewing gum stuffed into my gum to protect the surgery area till it could begin to heal. It was actually a very nice experience, as far as such things go.

I bet you're wondering about costs... Uh huh, I thought so. Ok. Here goes. The initial consultation with Dra. Glenda cost $20.00 BZD. Dra. Monica's consultation cost $15.00 BZD. For the surgery, Dr. Jose charged me $1,700.00 MXP. Translate all that into US dollars, it comes out like this: $20.00 BZD = $10.00 US, $15.00 BZD = $7.50 US, and $1,700.00 MXP = $139.86 US, for a grand total so far of $157.36 US.

Of course, I'm not done yet. I still have to get the root canal and crown, but no complaints at all about the costs. More than reasonable. And the care, although with probably not the newest, flashiest equipment or facilities, was absolutely first rate.

I'll be posting more on this in a few days. I go back to Dr. Jose's on this coming Thursday to have him exam how I'm healing. If everything is ok, then it's back to Dra. Monica for the root canal and crown ceremony, and finally, back with Dra. Glenda for cleaning and possibly a couple of fillings, or at least replacing old, old metal fillings with plastic or whatever they use now. So, stay tuned.


Vivien said...

Sorry to hear about your dental problems. It is good to hear that you were so well looked after by the local dental community. As you know I have seen Dr. Glenda for a crown and most recently for a tooth repair. Both were very well done and just as good as anything I have had done in Canada. The cost of the crown was amazing, and less than my Canadian insurance co-pay.
I think we should start encourage people from Canada and the US to come to Corozal to have their dental work done. I know of a nice two story place that they could rent while they were there:)

Dave Rider said...

Hi Vivien,
I'll second that motion. I can vouch for that nice two-story place as well.
Thanks too for letting the Men's Group use your facilities yesterday while we had our meeting under the palapa.

Dentist Omaha said...

Ugh, root canals are the worst! I hope yours went smoothly. I can't even imagine how bad a "bad" root canal would be!

Winjama said...

Hi Dentist Omaha,

Thanks for your comment. Root canals certainly have their share of horror stories connected with them. I've always had good experiences with them (I've had three).

Again, thanks for your comment.