I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I hate going to the dentist. It's a fear left over from when I was a child and lived in England where the dental practices hadn't changed in a hundred years, or so it seemed. Then when I was new in Canada, at the tender age of 8, a dentist here slapped me at the end of whatever it was he was doing to my mouth and declared that I was the worst patient he had ever treated. So yeah, not overly fond of dentists.

As a result, I haven't gone very often as an adult - usually just when the pain becomes more than I can stand and I end up needing a root canal or an extraction, or both in the case of a tooth that abscessed after a root canal. I have taken very good care of my teeth since the last visit, sometime back in the early 90's, so haven't had any pain until recently; the enamel, and more it feels like, has worn away from the back side of my front uppers and so now when I eat or drink anything cold, they zing with pain, and I noticed recently that there are fine cracks running vertically down each tooth. A couple of other teeth have started to feel quite sensitive as well. And I have a broken tooth from one of the root canals that never got a crown because I couldn't afford it at the time. So it would seem that I have scheduled this appointment with a dentist in Mexico none too soon.

I have wanted, for a long long time now, to fix my smile. I have a few gaps towards the back where molars were pulled, and my two front teeth cross over a bit thanks to one of those backwards dentists in England who determined that the best way to fix my buck teeth as a 6 year old was to make a plastic mouthpiece that went between my lips and teeth which I wore to bed every evening to push them back. So back they went - crossed. I have hated my smile ever since. In photos, the one tooth is always in the shadow of the one that crosses over it and so looks grey. And when I smile big or laugh, the gaps from the pulled teeth show. So I have altered the way I smile over the years to minimize showing any of these flaws and I laugh behind my hand. All I want is to be able to smile and laugh again without feeling self conscious. I have watched makeover show after makeover show for years and envied the women who get their smiles made over with pearly white veneers. Finally I am hoping to have my turn.

I have a limited amount of money to spend on this, $6,000 to be exact. I have saved for it over the past 8 months. If I were to be getting this work done in Canada it wouldn't even scratch the surface of what needs to be done. I was searching the internet a year or so ago on a totally unrelated topic when I came across a few posts from people who regularly go to Mexico for dental work and the incredible prices they pay. This piqued my interest greatly, and I began some serious research (I love researching stuff on the internet). I discovered that many, many Americans and Canadians travel to Mexico for dental work and that the cost of travel plus the dental work plus a weeks vacation costs less than the price of having the same work done here AND the quality is just as good if not better. Of course, there were the nay sayers and those who had work done that they weren't satisfied with or that they had to have redone at home, but many months of research narrowed my choices down to Los Algodones, a little town across the border from Yuma Arizona filled with dental clinics. I found a place called TLC Dental that had glowing reviews on many various sites dealing with other topics (RV lifestyle, Mexico travel, medical travel, etc) and was delighted to discover that they even have a B&B for their patients at the incredible price of $35 a night (since booking my appointment with them, they have opened their new B&B which has a pool!). The plan is to get the necessary work done first and then, hopefully, there will be some left over for cosmetic dentistry! I really hope so. The price list gives me hope that there will be:

Porcelain/Metal Crowns $250
Veneers Total Crowns - Emax $400
Plates Upper or Lower (Dentures)$350 ea.
Extractions /Normal $60-100
Bleaching (Home Kit) $125
Bleaching $200
Partial (Acrylic w/Metal Hooks)$180
Partial (Flexible)$400
Partial (Flexible w/Metal Mesh)$500
Fillings (White)$40-80
Pre-Fab Post (Pin)$125
Root Canals $350
Implants (for Crowns)$1200
Crowns for Implants $400
Cleaning $40
Wisdom Teeth Extractions $150-$250

And just a week ago I found out that a friend of mine had gone to the same town 6 weeks or so ago to get his dental work done. Estimate from his dentist - $12,000 - $14,000; paid in Mexico - $1,200!!! He had no idea I was going nor I him. I called him and asked him about his experience and he said that his dentist had done a fantastic job, that he would pay it again tomorrow for the same work, and that he was going back soon for more work after a bone graft he had done was healed. He even had a bone graft done for that money! Incredible. I was hoping he had gone to the same dentist I am booked in with but he went to The Smile Shoppe. He said that all of the dentists in the town are the same though. I know that the practice I chose is owned by an American dentist and that the other dentists he employs are well trained so I am not concerned.

Well, other than the pain involved to get the smile I want, that is.

In that light, I went to my doctor and had her give me a prescription for Xanax, one of the drugs highly recommended by those as terrified of the dentist as I am. She told me to try it out before I leave for my trip to figure out the dosage I would need; each pill is .05mg. So yesterday evening I took one and waited, and waited, and waited - and never felt any different so took another one. Woah! Within 10 minutes I felt very woozy and sleepy. Can't say I felt any less anxious, I have been feeling a bit of nerves about the whole trip (I am a nervous traveler but that's for another post) but felt off kilter when I tried to walk around. I ended up in bed just after 9, I was that wiped out. So... not sure if it will do the trick on the nerves but I might fall asleep in the chair.

I will, of course, let you know how it goes.
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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