It’s our third day in the Kingdom of Siam. Until today, I had thought I’d already set the record for marathon time in the Phuket dental chair. My two root canals of yesterday (second day in Siam) had surpassed my gum surgery of Monday evening (first day in Thailand) which had very quickly surpassed my initial one-hour dental assessment that same morning (half day in Thailand).
However, I have just spent FIVE HOURS IN ONE SITTING with Dr. Dong, preparing three of my pearly whites creams for the installation of porcelain crowns. I truly admire his dedication.
It’s been a number of years over which I’ve thrown around the idea of having a mouthful of dental work done in Asia. I’ve known for at least three years that I have thousands of dollars-worth of work within my gums, but it’s only been the last six months that I’ve had more significant discussions with my brother Tim about actually getting here and biting the bullet (if only I could).
Eventually, here we are. I say eventually because I have really dragged it out to the last minute. I had a tooth extracted five weeks ago in Melbourne during the height of a very demanding active job (because I simply couldn’t cope with the pain anymore!) and then dragged out the pain on another eventual root canal just so I could save the money in Thailand. That’s dedication to good investment I say.
On Monday we arrived at the Smile Dental Clinic which is within what appears to be the seediest part of Patong Beach (aka Ping Pong Beach… I hear there’s plenty of that here). The personnel at Smile are extremely welcoming of our patronage. Doctor Dong heads a team of the most caring, loyal, skilled and passionate people I have ever come across in the most torturous of medical institutions, the dental clinic. Truly, his desire to achieve the best health outcome at the lowest price and with the least amount of pain is completely genuine.
Think about this for a minute. Dr. Dong left after my lengthy treatment tonight wearing jeans and a t-shirt; he proceeded to the busy-tacky-street where he jumped on his 20,000 Baht ($750AU) motor-scooter and likely rode to his moderate Thai residence where he still lives with mum and dad and five siblings. He’ll do another ten-hour day tomorrow… working on Timbo most likely (my brother).
My experience thus far, has certainly reinforced my thinking regarding dental treatment here in Thailand. I’ve never doubted it’s quality – despite many voices to the contrary – and I have many doubts as to the legitimacy of the value of Australian dental costs. Those doubts have been fortified.
My experience of treatment here from the very beginning has been wonderful. There has been no question as to the genuine nature of the diagnosis. Tim and I have both had ongoing advice from our dentists in Australia as to what treatment we required. The initial advice received here was extremely consistent; no exaggerations, no additional extras… no bull-shit. Just straight-forward legitimate and caring advice from very skilled health professionals.
But bloody-hell… they do it quickly, passionately and with very VERY good economies-of scale.
Standby for more; I think I’m going to have to write in instalments due to the amount of codeine currently in the system.