Published: March 4th 2008March 4th 2008
Before I left the states for Belize, my wisdom teeth started coming in. Now don't ask me why they waited so long. I thought maybe it was significant with the timing of leaving for my trip. Maybe I would need extra wisdom for what was to come, or maybe deciding to go to Belize was a wise choice and my wisdom teeth were letting me know. I even searched online to see if there is an 'old wives' tale about wisdom teeth and how they became known as such. I found no such tale, so if anyone does know and they care to share, I would love to hear it.
Anyway, I went to the dentist before I came down and they recommended I get them taken out. Both uppers were coming in and impacted. Without insurance, the estimates I was getting were $900 - $1200 total, which included local anesthesia (not the put you out kind). For a few reasons (including cost), I decided to wait. At the time I realized this was a risk, going to a '3rd world country' with a issue that would need to be addressed.
Well, my wisdom teeth continued to come in, and I have been quite happy with my decision to keep them. I thought, maybe it is more natural to keep them. You can't tell me that people since the beginning of time have had to have their wisdom teeth extracted. I mean, if that's the case, doesn't that seem like a design flaw? I believe there is a purpose for everything. They have been yanking appendixes out of people for a long time, and just this year discovered that, duh, this thing must have a purpose. (Sorry, tangent).
So all was well with this plan until 4 days ago when the area around my right wisdom tooth started to get inflamed. I waited for it to get better, but since I am leaving to study with Rosita again on Friday, I decided to have it looked at today. Everyone I have spoken with about dental care have referred me either to dentists in Belize City, or in Chetemal, Mexico. Well, somewhat extensive travel is involved with both. So this morning, I headed down middle street, to find the only dentist in town that I have heard of. With no phone number in the phone book, or a number posted outside, and others telling me they have tried to go to this dentist but he is never there, I was a little nervous. I found the place all right, stopped in and had a seat on the plastic lawn chair in the waiting room. I could tell someone was in the other room talking on the phone, so I picked up a In Touch magazine from June 2005 with Julia Roberts and new born twins on the cover. (It is impossible to get a magazine here unless it's brought in from the states). The dentist then had me come back to take a look. He said for $100 belize dollars each (that is $50 US each), he could pull them right away. Well, this is a lot less money than the states, and right away? I have to schedule my every 6 month cleanings 7 months ahead of time in the states!
I decided to take a small walk just to be sure this is what I wanted to do, and took a Belizean friend back with me that speaks spanish. I could tell we were going to have a little language barrier.
Back at the dentist, I had a seat in the 1970's dental chair as he tilted it back. After putting some cherry flavored ointment on my gums, he numbed them with some novocaine. Within 5 minutes he pulled the left one. I didn't even feel it or know he pulled it until I realized it was sitting on the tray. Then another 5 minutes and he pulled the right one. Is this what all the fuss was about? Month's of thinking about the procedure and a few tooth infections, all to be relieved in a 3rd world dental office in 10 minutes? I think I'll have all my dental care here! I mean, a cleaning probably cost $15 bucks!
A written prescription for Amoxicillon and Ibuprophren for the next couple days, and I am set! The pharmacy was able to give me the exact number of pills I needed and it was all over the counter. The total for the medication was $21.00 belize, or $10.50 US.
Not bad at all!!!