When I was a kid,
somewhere around the age of 5 or 6, my parents began taking me
to the dentist for
routine, annual checkups. I should have
realized that any dentist whose name is Hackmeier
would eventually conger up images of torture and mayhem,
much the same way as the name Mengele resonated fear
in the hearts of millions of Europeans!
Needless to say, back in 1956,
when my fears of dentistry were in their formative stages,
the thought of the dreaded Heir Hackmeier and his
archaic tools of torture, established a foundation that
would eventually manifest itself into a full bodied fear of
dental practitioners. My parents were no help either helping me
overcome this irrational fear. In fact, as role
models, they sucked as evidenced by the fact that both Mom
and Dad were sporting full choppers by
the time they were in their 50's.
Thanks to this phobia and the
years of neglect that followed, I am now paying the price...
literally. But at least it's at a rate of 80% less
than what I'd be paying back in the States!
Saying Aaah to Costa Rica's Growing In
Popularity As A Dental Destination...
I was first introduced to Costa Rican
dental excellence when a friend of mine in North Carolina, Sean
Lowther, opted to travel to Costa Rica to have a significant set of
dental procedures performed. His dentist in North Carolina estimated the
procedure would cost him about $75,000. However, by traveling to
Costa Rica for this work, his out of pocket expense would be reduced by more than half.
That even includes all the expenses associated with his travel. Sean tells his story in a very compelling
(self-produced) 13 minute video.
Now, eight years later,
Sean reports no problems or complications. Every thing is A-OK.
So how does that
Well for starters, I am a dental
pussy. Heir Hackmeier left his mark by instilling a
phobia that is alive and well today. Now, the only way I can
sit still in a dental chair and not whimper and scream like a baby,
is by taking a drug induced trip to Never Never Land at the
capable hands of my dentist. YES... drugs, and lots of them,
are my salvation. Am I proud of it? Hell no, but it
works for me.
So when I moved to Costa Rica, I began looking
for a dentist that possessed the following qualities:
Graduated from an accredited
school of dentistry within the last ten to fifteen years
Age should be around 35-40 years.
I'm of the belief that young dentists know more than the old ones!
Hands appear still and free of
Dental equipment appears modern,
relatively quiet and free of rust. I immediately rule out
any dentist drill that sounds like a Lear Jet taking off
My dentist believes with all his
heart that a sedated
patient is a good patient... and lastly
Must be able to give AWESOME
Experience In Liberia...
I found exactly what I
was looking for in dental surgeon Dr. Eric Bussing. He
practices his craft in a modern medical office building, just two
blocks from Liberia's Avenida Central.
I came to Dr Bussing for some
quick relief after an old crown had finally given way.
Once in his chair he began checking things out. I
could tell by the sounds he was making that the news was not
going to be good... and I was right. Pandora's Box had been opened
and the only way it was going to get shut was with lots of
nitrous oxide and Novocain!
Dr. Bussing took X-Rays and
spent nearly an hour with me and Fran explaining my
situation to us in great detail. He then detailed his
plan to remediate this initial issue.
This is the first time I've ever had a dentist sit down and patiently discuss a
treatment strategy. He was not running back and forth
between multiple patients because I was his only
patient! I received 100% of his time and attention.
The final stage
of my dental endeavor will involve the following procedures.
It would be interesting to compare how much this might cost
in the U.S. This far my treatment has entailed the
Panoramic X-Ray of
full mouth (provided by 3rd party private x-ray specialist) -
including a full set of individual x-rays
Three root canals
with temporary crowns
on one tooth
(necessary during the healing process)
replacing 7 aging caps and crowns plus 3 new crowns)
The total Out Of
Pocket cost for this treatment will be $4735.
It always hurts having to
dig into one's savings account to pay bills like this
but just consider how much it would have cost back in
the U.S. One estimate would put the cost of this
treatment at between $22,000 and $28,000.
Based on the
recommendations I have heard about Dr. Bussing and my
own personal experiences, I have nothing to complain
IN THE HOTSEAT!
Yes I took the gas and it was wonderful. And with my
iPod cranking out Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, what
better way to undergo a root canal than by listening to the
dulcet tones of "Comfortably Numb."