They say that one of the main evolutionary factors contributing to the current longevity of humans is the invention of advanced dental care. British people aside, the great strides in dentistry have also contributed to the general attractiveness of our race. So, when we experience issues with our chompers, it is no wonder that we seek care as immediately as possible. In my case, it wasn’t as immediate as it should have been, but I might be excused on account of the fact that I was half a world away from home, and my regular dentist. Seeking oral care in a foreign nation can be daunting, especially when, as far as we could tell, the general populace lacks the access to basic dentistry that we take for granted.
I had somehow managed to sneak a peach onto the plane for our long journey from Australia to Thailand, and had paid for my transgression by biting too hard into the juicy, forbidden fruit, and like most things from Australia, it had bitten back. One of my molars had cracked clean in half, leaving a pit of misery that I was only distracted from by the novelty of our journey.
After a week in Thailand, I had decided enough was enough, and that I ought to seek dental care. But where to go? I didn’t want to pick any old dentist on the street, for who knew what sort of treatment I might receive? Having all my teeth pulled by ‘accident’? Being giving too strong a dose of whatever horse tranquilizer they used, and drifting off into an eternal slumber? Waking up from my experience to find I had been turned into a ladyboy? I had heard nothing of the quality of dentistry in Thailand, so I did the most logical thing. I walked into the first dentist office I spotted. Clean, well lit, and looking more like a spa than a dentist office, I decided I liked the look of the place. Maybe I would even get a massage out of the deal. Although I was definitely not interested in a happy ending, except where my teeth were concerned.
The examination took place almost immediately after talking to the receptionist, which was a sign that they were either very efficient, or were avoided by the locals, and it was determined that I should have a crown put over the poor unrepairable fang. Booking an appointment for several days later, I was struck by the trepidation that comes with all serious dental work. By this, I mean anticipation beyond just the physical pain. Having this work done in Canada would cost over a thousand dollars. Were we going to have to forego some of our journey simply for the sake of being careless with a now very costly peach?
Nervously eyeing the horse tranquilizer sized needle that they were preparing to inject me with, I started to have second thoughts about my hasty decision. I mean, this wasn’t Bangkok, where anything could happen, but still, I was putting a lot of trust in these folks, who’s only recommendation was the sign hanging outside their window. Sufficiently numb, they set to work on removing the broken tooth, grinding it down to something small enough to fit a crown over, making a temporary crown for it, and fitting and gluing it into place.
Then we got down to brass tacks. Or copper. Or bronze, gold or platinum. I had my choice of final crowns from various metals, with gold and platinum being the only choices that are considered safe and non-toxic. Daring to ask the price, I was pleasantly surprised. Platinum topped out at $500, with gold at $400, copper at $300, and I didn’t even hear the other choices. After all, who doesn’t want a gold tooth for only $400? Returning a few days later for the fitting of the final crown, I received the final bill. $500, all materials and labour included. I decided that at that price, it would be worth flying to Thailand the next time I needed major dental work. After all, who wouldn’t like to squeeze in a little vacation to ease the pain?