Finally, my broken tooth is getting fixed. The week before we moved to Costa Rica, a filling fell out of one of my upper back teeth. Sadly, it got placed low on the priority list in light of the many other stressful, seemingly more important matters.
I was very hesitant about using someone local, as it is such a small town. A wonderful woman from our Tuesday night Bible study recommended a particular dentist, saying he spoke English and, in her opinion, was pretty good. So, with our first major conference out of the way, I knew the best time to get this taken care of would be now.
My husband, knowing how nervous I was, agreed to go with me. We walked into the small store-front office at the scheduled appointment time. The waiting room was very sparse with benches similar to those on a patio or in a park. We took a seat and waited for about ten minutes.
The first thing we took note of was the array of certificates on the wall. Steve commented, “Boy, this guy looks really young.” I responded, “Yeah, but when was that picture taken?” His reply was that all the awards/degrees/certifications contained the date 2008. My first thought was, “Well, either he’s not very good because of lack of experience or he’s good because he’s up on the newest dentistry has to offer.”
Shortly after, we were greeted by a young man that looked like he was about sixteen. That really made me nervous. His English was about as good as my Spanish, but we easily made it through the preliminary medical background stuff. I was impressed with his professionalism. He explained to me his philosophy. The room did not feel like a clinic at all. He explained the importance of making the patient feel comfortable and not stressed–his choice of paint color, the tv mounted in the ceiling, his use of aromatherpy. It was indeed comfortable and relaxing. It was no where near as posh as some offices in the states, but it was modest, and he was very proud.
I was extremely relieved by the cleanliness and his attention to detail. It was a far cry from my nightmarish visions of–well, I’m sure what you can imagine when you think “third world.” He also explained why he had no models or pictures of teeth posted around the waiting or exam rooms.
He confirmed the inevitable. At first he was very apologetic and not wanting to pressure me into having a root canal. But I quickly agreed that I was not looking for the cheapest or easiest way out. The best goal is to always save the tooth. He could have just patched it up, but more than likely I would have been back three weeks, months, or years later getting what I know needed to be done sooner than later.
He cleaned up the broken filling and put in a temporary. The first office visit, consultation, and repair cost a whopping $20. He seemed nervous and apologetic about next week’s scheduled root canal that will cost about $160. Then a few weeks later I’ll have to be fitted for a crown (another $200).
One thing I know about Costa Rica, “No wonder my Uncle Robert has scheduled a huge medical vacation next month to get his teeth worked on.”