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.
Dental Work in 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
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.
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?
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
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
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
A whole week with a
moving bridge? Oh noÖ
What needs to be
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
I couldnít be more
pleased with his workmanship, and am thrilled that itís all over.
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.
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
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.
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person Ė the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesnít
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.