D minus 8 - dental in Juarez

Ok, my numeration may be off.   Worked Sat and Sun so I am off yesterday and today.  Office holiday tomorrow and Thursday.  Friday will be my last day of work, and I will be off standby Friday morning.

Mexican dental work

I recently reached “substantial completion” on my dental work.  There is still a final visit in Feb to replace some temp bridgework with permanent;  I had a couple extractions and the dentist wants to see the healed shape of the gums before installing permanent hardware.   But I have teeth where I am supposed to and none where I am not.  This is a first since I was in college.

The dental experience in Juarez was an example of how much less “good enough” costs than the usual American approach.  Overall the cost was 1/4 to 1/3rd the cost of the same procedures done in the US.  My root canal, for example, was $250.  But the most interesting difference is the attitude.

The office was in an unassuming part of Juarez.  Off the tourist-friendly market area but not sketchy.  There was no receptionist so the front doors were locked when no one was going in/out.   A large hallway was offered as safe parking for my bicycle.

Inside it was plain office space.  Nothing fancy, no extras. No magazines, motivational posters, etc.  The posters that were up were directly dental in nature.  There were, I think, three clinical rooms with the stereotypical dental setup.  Nothing extra.

Anything non-implement supplies were generic - The dixie cups,  paper towels, and mouthwash were Sam’s Club for example.   Implements were in sterile packages but stored and moved in simple containers.   The root canal specialist, for example, carried his gear from room to room in a tackle box.

The dentists were straightforward and businesslike.  No fake friendliness, fawning, or sugar-coating.   They were craftsmen and you were the work.   All costs and options were discussed ahead of time by the chief dentist (owner) who spoke excellent English. The assistant and subordinate dentists used procedural English like “Any pain?”, “please rinse”, “open, please”, “close, please”, “bite hard”, etc.  Every hour or so the chief dentist popped in to give you an overview or talk about any challenges.  In my case my natural front teeth were slightly angled back and they recommended correcting the angle for better bite when the crowns were installed.  I agreed and it turned out well.  No cost involved, the grinding and setting was just acommplished differently.

I did need one more shot of novacaine in the 11hrs of chair work;  the dentist noticed immediately and added some in the problem area.

I didn’t need any meds this time.  Last time they prescribed a non-narcotic pain reliver and some antibiotics, which the assistant went and bought for me from the pharmacy.  Receipt and change in the bag.  :-)

Overall very happy with Mexican dentistry.  They had a US phone number and billing address so no international calls or credit card surcharges were required.

passport vs passcard

One of the reasons my dental work was delayed was my passport expired during the interim.  I can plan ahead and get stuff done in order when I am not pulled in different directions.  Unfortunately, my work schedule had been so crazy I couldn’t plan well enough.  So I missed getting the renewal done earlier.

I opted for the card instead of the passport book;  It saves ~$100.  I don’t plan on flying internationally so the card is sufficient.