Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dental Emergency, what to do?

To make a long story short, the bridge on my lower four front teeth broke while eating dinner Tuesday evening.  I called my dentist the next morning and I was in to see him the same day.  He stayed after hours to take care of me. 

The bridge work is 13 years old.  One of the supporting teeth had cracked and the other showed root deterioration. So the decision was made to pull them both and do a new six tooth bridge.  

Price tag?  $6872.  With a discount if I pay cash only $6000.

He did the extraction of two teeth, the bridge prep and a temporary appliance right away. I paid for all of that, $500, at the end of the visit so I would not have an open bill. 

He wants to wait at least two months for full healing before doing the new bridge. However, given his vacation time and our travel plans, the next possible date for an appointment is in mid-September. 

What if we sell the house by then? It could happen. Would I want to come back to get this done here?

I've been mulling over alternatives.   I'm in no discomfort and as long as I avoid things that are hard or tough to bite, the temporary bridge will be serviceable for some time.

Should I go to Mexico? I know of several people, including my sister-in-law, who have had work done there. I have the names of a couple of places that are said to be reliable.

Should I go to Thailand? My son is currently teaching English in Thailand, and although I probably would not want to go to Bangkok where he is for treatment, I might consider Phuket. My daughter's brother-in-law has lived there for many years and as a retired New Zealander would be able to help me find a suitable dentist. My son will be going back there in a few months when he finishes his first teaching contract to get his final certification. I'm not sure exactly when that would be, but I'm quite sure I could fly to Thailand, get a new bridge, and fly back for less than $5500.  Phuket is both a tourist and a medical procedure destination for many Europeans, Australians and New Zealanders.  I would not feel uncomfortable there. If I waited until we sell the house Craig could go too and we could make a nice vacation of it.  

Anyway, it is something to think about over the next few weeks.

However, this emergency has made me wonder what I would have done if this happened while we were full timers. I don't wonder about medical emergencies. If something really serious happened, there are ERs everywhere. If either of us got sick or suffered a minor injury, we could find an urgent care center to go to. We have good insurance and are not tied to an HMO.

But what about finding a good dentist and getting in to see him or her quickly?  These things happen at the most inconvenient times, and when you get a toothache, a broken tooth, or abscess, you want to be treated as soon as possible! My bridge did not come out, but it was not right and my teeth hurt. I could not bite and could only eat cut up or soft food. Our teeth are old.

 Are there emergency dentists? How would you find one?  

Any insight or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I'd rather ask now than when I am in need.

As for the new bridge, Mexico, Thailand, or my regular dentist here in California?  Any opinions?


  1. Well my comment is my son had to have an emergency dental appt. yesterday, they pulled the tooth to the tune of $306. When we were in Yuma in 07 I went to Algadones and got my new dentures, top and bottom, and also new glasses. Total for the teeth and the glasses $325. I love my dentures. I did not buy new frames for my eye glass prescription as I like the ones I have. So over all It was a very pleasant experience for me.
    Hope all goes well with your dental work no matter where you go.

  2. One thing to have health insurance but not having dental insurance makes it tough....going to miss leaving mine behind. Wheeling It has a great blog on her dentist visit to Mexico you might want to search for it. Good think finding a solution...nothing worse!

  3. My husbsnd has had dental emergencys on the road. We just talk to the locals for recommendations and usually get in the next day. We have found most doctors will work you in for urgent matters. We are fulltimers.

  4. I had a permanent crown on my front tooth fall off back last year. We found a great dentist office in Bushnell, FL, which is a town in the middle of nowhere. You can find great dentists by doing a lot of research and asking around. But that was one thing that always worried me, finding a good dentist. Heck, you can sit in one spot for years, and find out later that the dentist you've been using doesn't do the best work. What wonderful choices for you to decide upon, though!

  5. Hard to know but...even though I live close I would not go to Mexico. I know a lot of people do but I just couldn't. Everything looks clean etc...but I have talked to several dentists here and they volunteer their time there...they say the sterilizing of the instruments is just appalling ...literally they have seen them being boiled in the alleys. Especially after I read an article saying the number one place for heterosexuals to contact aids is in the dentist chair....there is SO much blood during the work. I know this sounds terrible but if the intru ments are not sterilize with autoclave they are NOT sterilized ... I don't know the answer but this is my opinion only...I do know two people that had work done at Alg and they have not been happy...their bridge has broken in both cases. Lots of good dentists in Phoenix..

  6. I think these dentures are a rip off. I Tucson we have Affordable Dentures. Their prices start at $278. for full and partials. For the uppers I paid a fortune and they never fit. I had asked the so called dentist if my mouth is swollen and this plate is to big are you sure these are the right teeth. He didn't like that much. When I went back he lined them with something that has peeled off. I will be getting new ones in the fall at Affordable Dentures.

  7. A friend went to one of the "national" dental conglomerates, paid out the nose and has yet to be satisfied with the work.

    In a heart beat, I would head for Mexico...that is only if you do not want an excuse to see family...Good luck.

  8. I have a friend who knows quite a few people who have gone to Mexico for various medical, vision and dental needs. She said the people were always happy at first, but in time they had issues. She said after seeing what they went through, she would never go to Mexico.

    I have to agree with her. I've had good and bad dentists in the US, but I think if you talk to people in the town and do the research, you'd find good medical people here in the US.


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