Ecuadorian Dental Experience

April 15, 2016

This week has completely revolved around me and and my dental responsibilities! Ha! What does that mean?  13000218_738489776288105_5136897675288605681_n (1)

Well, now that all other illnesses and antibiotics have been cleared from the schedule.. it is back to reality, sometimes the mundane.. and sometimes the painful!
For me, the week went like this: dental cleaning, xrays, and diagnosis..followed by 3 fillings and 1 (of 2 scheduled) wisdom tooth removed.
All performed in one nearby location, by a woman who did EVERYTHING. No dental assistant, no extra surgeon, no trained specialist.. just 1 super capable lady!

Dental care is incredibly important for my well being, as in recent years I have been diagnosed with both Fluorosis and Periodontal disease. I also have 2 implants. Due to all of these conditions, dental insurance and care for me in the USA was incredibly expensive. General Dentists stopped treating me about 3 years ago..because of my “special conditions”, I had to schedule appointments with Periodontal and Implant specialists. These type of specialists were only covered by 50% on our GOOD insurance. I had to see at least one of these specialists every 4-6 months over the past 3 years.

I was nervous to start at a new dentist, and a Spanish speaking one at that. A new dentist, that I would have to explain all the underlying issues to. And to cross my fingers that she wouldn’t dismiss me after the first visit and then refer me other “specialists” that could be located anywhere in the country.

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I relied heavily on my husband to translate her findings and then to translate my reactions. We were both pleasantly surprised when this relatively young Dentist was able to identify all of my conditions in under 20 minutes, without any medical records, insurance papers, or x-rays. She only used the x-ray to determine if the roots of my wisdom teeth were pointing straight down. We really didn’t have to explain much, she was completely familiar and comfortable with all of my issues. She has reasonable expectations and suggestions.. and was eager to work right away.

While I was very nervous about how she would handle the prospect of pain management, I felt comfortable in trusting this Dentist. But, she handled that aspect well also, giving me as many numbing shots as needed. The at home meds, honestly, were pointless. I was downright miserable for the first 24 hours… but, when I came to conclusion that they simply do not have Tylenol with Codeine or Darvocet available…it became mind over matter. This will pass. It can’t last forever. Having your teeth pulled out isn’t supposed to be an enjoyable experience, right?!
And now 2 days have passed and I’m fine. Swollen and even bruised, but only in mild discomfort and still eating very slowly.
So, now to recover and prepare for the 2nd wisdom tooth extraction!

Before ending this post, I have to make a point to talk about the cost of the procedures being performed here vs. What the expected cost would have been in Iowa (with insurance, with my specialists).

Remember, we do NOT have medical or dental insurance here in Ecuador.
Totally procedures: full cleaning, diagnosis/treatment planning, molar xrays, 3 fillings, and 2 wisdom tooth extractions.
Grand Total: $275.
I can’t give you an exact estimate, but I’m sure this would have cost my husband somewhere in the range of $3000-$4,000 in Iowa City. After Insurance!

We are talking about 90% savings or more! Absolutely astounding, isn’t it?
I can’t stress enough how grateful we are to learn that we can get excellent and affordable medical & dental care here in Ecuador.
Not to mention how mind-shifting it can be… to start questioning why it is so expensive to get both health care and insurance in the USA?
Why shouldn’t healthcare be affordable for ALL? It is possible.
We have seen it, witnessed it, lived it.

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