Before I left New Zealand to go work for 9 weeks on the Tiwi Islands 90kms off the coast of Darwin Australia, I visited my dentist for a check up. Now teeth have been my number one hazard, brought up in the 1950’s. The dental nurse always seemed about 80yrs old, wore a dark brown cardigan, would clutch you around the neck stretch your young mouth with a finger and examine your teeth with a fairy mirror. Then would set to work with the dreaded foot operated drill, boring holes in your teeth that I now have serious doubts were entirely necessary, we the victims should have a public apology.
I was given the bad news and several options to ponder on, the bottom line was, I did want to retain my natural teeth and if so I had to spend a large sum to do so. The sum of money involved was so astronomical that it had completely slipped my mind by the time I reached my car; such is the power of the brain.
So back to the drawing board, as you have probably gathered it takes all my strength to go to the dentist, my mouth dries up and I have been known to call from outside to say I have a gastro bug and bolt for the hills. So off I went to the Tiwi Islands with a few patched up teeth not knowing what side to chew on, as I quietly made up my mind about dealing with the problem in hand.
Four weeks into my contract at the health clinic I had lost two of the temporary dental patch up jobs and simultaneously had met a colleague who had just had his dental care attended to at a very smart Dental Clinic in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The results were brilliant and he was full of praise at the professionalism, dedication and friendly approach (no brown cardigans), plus the cost of the work was about ¼ of the price he had been quoted in Australia.
I perused the dental clinic online; it looked very modern and was situated in the smart end of Chiang Mai City. The dentists were all highly internationally trained and there was a price list for the various treatments. It didn’t take much thinking about, a quick e-mail to the dental clinic, arranged the appointment at the end of my contract, then booked a flight to Chiang Mai, also some accommodation that was recommended on the internet and I was away.
The Husband and I set aside 2 weeks as advised, we booked into a nice central hotel that supplied breakfast and had a good swimming pool, within walking distance to the inner city, markets and restaurants. We hailed a Tuk-Tuk the next morning and off we went to see the tooth fairy.
The dental clinic was extremely professional, crispy clean, friendly front line staff, chilled water, good coffee, excellent magazines none with Brad Pitt on the cover, several languages were spoken, one being English with an American accent. The atmosphere and equipment was all excellent.
After intense examination, several x-rays, the bad news was I did have a lot of dental work to do and could get some elective work done also if I wished. The sum total was 3 root canals, 7 crowns, a few old fillings needed spruced up so no mercy, retuning that afternoon the real work began with vengeance and a smile.
The organisation was great and everything flowed beautifully, all the dentists had their personal expertise. I became so programmed into getting up and going to the dental clinic that I turned up one day when I was completely free of appointments, they all howled with laughter.
We did have 2 days off so we did hired a 4WD and disappeared into the mountains near the Burmese border. We wallowed in hot pools, rode elephants, rafted rivers and walked in the hills; this was an excellent interlude and refreshing after days on end at the clinic. The end result was a vast improvement; I could smile happily flashing my very natural looking teeth as I travelled back to the lovely Tiwi Islands for another five weeks contract.
Arriving back to my lovely balmy island, slightly over the noise smells and bustle of Asia, the silence, air quality and lack of smells was music to my ears and nose. The welcoming mob was at the back door of the clinic all lined up to see the end result, after all, seeing the end result is the bottom line.
Elaine and Richard Bryant have spent the last five winters in the northern regions of Australia, where Elaine takes short term contracts as a Remote Area Nurse. Between contracts they may go camping, or explore interesting South East Asian destinations. Follow their experiences and make a comment on their website at http://www.adventurealive.com