Dental Care Belize Style

Published: March 4th 2008
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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!!!


4th March 2008

Hi Jennifer, after being with you when this current wisdom teeth episode began, I am glad to hear that you were able to have the problem "extracted" and within minutes. So much for bureaucracy and red tape.
6th March 2008

Jennifer! That is the craziest story ever. How are they doing now? My wisdom teeth extraction wasn't a big deal either, but geez, I can't even imagine having it done with novocaine. Guessing them coming in was helpful though. Hope you are having a blast! Missing your shiatsu for years now. x

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