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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Serious Dental Work in Panajachel, Guatemala

Panajachel, Guatemala

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Anyone who knows me also knows that I have had dental work done in just about every country I have visited. Itís not something I look for or that I enjoy, itís a stressful challenge for me. Every country is different and I have had to learn to relax when it comes to hoping I get the best dental work done possible within my realm of control.

More dental work for me!

As you might know yourself, sometimes dental issues show up as a surprise; a tooth cracks, a cap falls off, a bridge breaks. And none of it is fun.

Oh dear.

 

A troubled bridge

One day, while eating my meal, I noticed that my bridge seemed to wobble. Could I be imagining it?

Unfortunately, as the days passed, my hoped-for scenario of it just being my imagination gave way to a full blown issue. My bridge was broken.

We are living in a small lakeside town called Panajachel on one of the most beautiful tropical lakes in Central America. Thatís great most days of the week, but this day Iím asking if there is a qualified dentist who can help me here in this tiny town, or will I be forced to go to a city 2 hours away by bus and take care of it there?

Garden entrance to dental office

As luck would have it, one of our friends mentioned a dentist whom he could recommend, one he has known for decades. He apparently does just about everything one could want, except root canals. For that, I would need to make an appointment in the next large city.

Making the appointment

Dr. Garcia works out of his home and his office is at the end of a little side street that is easy to overlook. I would never have found this entranceway myself no matter how many directions I received, so I took a tuk tuk and asked the driver to take me there. Dr. Garcia is well known here by the locals it seems, because the driver took me there straightaway when I showed him the business card.

The Adventurer's Guide to Guatemala

I arrive to a garden entrance and climb the stairs. A small waiting room is at the top of the stairs and there are two people inside. There is no receptionist. I ask the other patients if I need to knock on the door, but they recommend that I hold tight. When the doctor has a moment, he will look outside and call the next patient in.

After waiting about 15 minutes, the doctor opens the door and I grab his attention. No, I donít have an appointment, I want to make one. You see, I think my bridge is brokenÖ The doctor snaps up his appointment book and makes a note for me to return a week later.

A whole week with a moving bridge? Oh noÖ

What needs to be done?

I return a week later and the doctor and I discuss the situation. He takes a look at my moving hardware and says that the bridge was not initially seated correctly, and so now, it has broken with my usage. Depending on how long this has been going on, and depending on if food has gotten up under the cap, I might have a real problem here. New caps? Root canal? A post to stabilize a wobbly tooth? Should we involve another tooth in the structure for more stability?

I breathe in deeply. Itís always so much fun visiting the dentist.

I can see money flying out of my wallet as I speak with him, and Iím imagining Novocain, drilling, yanking and pulling, cleaning, picking, plus a possible hours-long trip to the next town and then back here to his office to finish the work.

Trying to keep my spirits up in the face of all the negative possibilities, we discuss pricing and make another appointment for him to cut the bridge apart so he can see what needs to be done.

Dr. Garcia explains that itís only fair that he tell me all the options so that I am not surprised, should he need to perform any of them.   

Oh I understand, Doctor. I completely understand. I sigh deeply and think to myself, ďHow many hours have I spent in a dentistís chair?Ē

He begins the process

The next appointment arrives without fanfare and I take my place in the chair. He asks how Iím doing and I tell him that Iím nervous and that I have brought ear plugs with me so I can muffle the sound of the drill.

 

He smiles and says it will be ok.

My appointment is for about a 4 hour block because he doesnít know what he will encounter. I have had a bridge taken apart before and that can involve hours of sawing. With another deep breath, I allow him to begin.

He gives me Novocain and starts sawing. I am completely amazed because 40 minutes later he has my bridge taken apart and out of my mouth. Examining the teeth underneath the caps, he said the bridge was caught just in time. There is no decay, no need for a root canal, and no need for a post.

Iím about as thrilled as I can be for the position I am in. I wonít need to go on a long bus trip and have the joy of a root canal! There is no decay and my underlying teeth are in good shape!

Iím halfway through the worst of it, and my pounding heart begins to calm down.

Taking an impression

Dr. Garcia says he must take an impression in order for the laboratory to make another bridge exactly to my mouthís specifications. Ok. Iíve had this done before, no biggieÖ

Except that he does something different and that I have never had done before. He takes what looks like dental floss and pushes it down in my gums to create space around my teeth. And then takes the impression.

You know how sticky those impressions can be? If you are not missing any fillings before the impression is taken, when the gummy glue is removed from your mouth, who knows what might come up with it?

I start to stress again.

I am spared once more and nothing complicated happens when the drying glue-y paste is removed from my teeth. Pleased with what he sees, Dr. Garcia installs a temporary bridge and takes the old bridge along with the impressions and sends them off to the lab. I make an appointment for 10 days later.

I get a phone call

Apparently under a microscope the impression wasnít as perfect as it needed to be and I must come back in for another one. The lab has called Dr. Garciaís office and has requested that he do this work one more time.

The doctor apologizes over and again, but emphasizes that if the impression is not perfect, then the rest of the work is for naught.

The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement, 3rd Edition

I come in the following Monday and Dr. Garcia works on me during his lunch hour. This time, he repeats the dental floss procedure twice just to be sure the lab will have a positively perfect impression from which to make my permanent bridge.

Voila!

Off to the lab these imprints go and I am to return the following Friday to fit the permanent bridge.

Except that this is national election weekend and the roads to and from the lab are closed and the bridge cannot be sent to Panajachel until Monday. So thatís when I come in to finish this procedure.

No worries. Iím keeping my optimism high, as Dr. Garcia has been honest, conscientious and gentle throughout the whole course of action. I am expecting the best.

Dr. Garcia and his private office attached to his home

Monday arrives, and Dr. Garcia pops off the temporary bridge and places the permanent one on to see how it fits.

Perfect!

I couldnít be more pleased with his workmanship, and am thrilled that itís all over.

Pricing

Mine was a four unit bridge. I researched pricing in the States to give me an idea of what I might need to pay for comparable service here in Guatemala. I found bridges of this size to run from $6,000 to $8,000USD. I paid Dr. Garcia 7,400Q or about $924USD.

This included everything, all appointments, all Novocain, all three impressions, the temporary bridge and the permanent one.

From first appointment to receiving the completed bridge took just under a month. If you find yourself in Panajachel, Guatemala and need dental work, I would certainly recommend this dentist.

Dr. Carlos Rodolfo Garcia Garcia

Panajachel, Guatemala near La Dispensa Grocery Store

Monday through Friday 8 am to Noon, 3pm to 7pm Saturday 7am to 2pm

Tele: 502. 4158 or 502. 5514. 3107

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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