Dentistry and Costa Rica, again

I mentioned in my last post that I would be returning to Costa Rica once again for dental work.  This is actually my 3rd trip down here since January of this year.  Fortunately, for me anyway, this trip isn’t for my own dental work, it’s for my 20 year old daughter.

Molly has 4 baby teeth that never had adult teeth develop behind them. One is impacted and has decay, another the roots are totally reabsorbed and 2 more, well, no one knows how long baby teeth will last.  Let’s compound all this with my daughter having severe dental phobia, so the idea of extractions and implants puts her into a tizzy.

We saw 3 dentists and an orthodontist in the US before making the decision to leave the country.  Dentist #1, did a crown on her and pretty much said he didn’t want to work with her anymore, so he referred her to a practice that specializes in anxious patients.  Dentist #2 was one her dad wanted her to see because they had good prices on implants, they couldn’t give her full anesthesia, so they were out.  The practice that specializes in anxiety wanted a second opinion from an orthodontist, to see if we could extract the teeth and use braces to realign things, rather than implants…the orthodontist said no, that wouldn’t work, it would make her look 40 years older!  So, our option in the states was the dental anxiety specialists.

After examination, they determined that she should get one implant now and quoted us close to $7000 for the implant, crown and anesthesia…no kidding, 7 grand!  Yowza!

Anyway, so here we are back in Sunny San Jose, Costa Rica visiting Dr. Cavallini.  For the same amount of money as one implant in the states, Molly will get all 4 of her baby teeth extracted and she’ll get implants with full anesthesia.

We checked into the Dental Recovery Center Sunday afternoon. The Recovery center is actually part of the clinic. Molly was seen by the dentist at 10 Monday morning and Monday at 4 pm, she had the first two teeth done.  As a parent, I cannot describe my own angst.  Her needing me by her side for the process, watching the anesthesiologist put her into deep sleep, the dentist start to do his work, her frantic expression and tears, OMG….it was awful!  I hate general anesthesia, it scares the crap out of me, and of course, being in a foreign country where, unless you know spanish, you can’t speak with the practitioners compounds things a bit.  I will add that I have total trust in this dental practice, if not, there is no way I would have brought my daughter here, but still, it ain’t easy. I’m sure if I even were able to be with her for the same in the states, I would feel the same way. We hate to see our kids go thru anything other than that which is pure joy.

The anesthesiologist I was told retired from one of the local hospitals here in Costa Rica and basically does per diem at local medical/dental offices. Nice man, although speaks no or next to no English.  I totally relied on Dr. Cavallini to help translate what he was saying to me. Having already gone through a lot of my own dentistry here in Costa Rica, knowing the language differences, I have developed a lot of acceptance and trust.  I’m not saying I wasn’t anxious myself, I shed more than a few tears going thru this, my daughter with her deer in the headlight eyes, but I trusted….and that’s what it’s all about.

So, day two in San Jose, Molly spent most of the day sleeping, she got up to get some breakfast and lunch and spent her time sleeping outside of that. She had a request for a stuffed animal to hug during today’s procedure, so we managed to find a purple stuffed bear.  Once again, her appointment was at 4 pm, only today was a little different, the doctor prescribed a tranquilizer for her to take ahead of time, this made her sleepy before the procedure and relaxed her a bit. All total, two extractions and two implants were done in about 15 minutes, the IV anesthesia however, takes hours to wear off. After about 4 hours, Molly was looking for food and drink and although still groggy, thankfully no pain…that is the part that is amazing!

So, no pictures of anything yet. I’ll try to get around a bit with my camera soon though! I should add that  since I was here anyway, I decided to get a check up and they found one of my really old (10 years old?) crowns was loose enough to pull off easily, so I’ll be getting a new post and crown.  $250 for a crown here vs $1200-$1800 in the states, yeah, I think I’ll have the work done.

Hope I didn’t bore you too much with this saga!  We hope to be touring the beautiful country of Costa Rica later in the week!

Till later…

Karen

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