It is not without some trepidation, that I find myself in a dentist chair in the city of Yogyakarta, in desperate need of a tooth repair.
I am a big baby when it comes to my teeth. And….I am very picky about what dentist I go to, at the best of times.
Going to a new dentist, in any city, is not something I would choose to do, unless I absolutely have to. I prefer the “tried and tested” and “like very much” approach.
So I am in Indonesia, unable to eat on one side of my mouth due to a chip on a back molar. I had made a point of going to the dentist in the U.S. before embarking on this journey. However, chipping a tooth and then being unable to eat on that side of my mouth without pain, means I have no choice but to deal with this situation urgently. Oy!
It is of comfort to me that the dentist I am about to meet is a Professor of Dentistry at the local university in Jogja. It is 7pm at night, as this is the only time he has available to see patients, and has given me an appointment.
Yikes, I admit to being somewhat nervous…. I am going to a dentist I don’t know, in a city I have been in for a week.
My fears turn out to be unfounded.. Firstly, the dentist is particularly friendly and personable and makes me comfortable right away. Dr Sudibyo notes my anxiety and finds a way to be both comforting, calming and funny. His assistant, a junior dentist is equally nice.
This turns out to be one of the very BEST dental experiences EVER! What a great surprise….
First thing I do, naturally, is to ask for the mirror to show the dentist where the culprit pain in the tooth is lurking. He laughs. How quaint! He swivels his ultra modern Japanese equipment, puts a shiny stick in my mouth, which immediately projects a picture of my mouth onto a large screen, magnified for all of us to see. It’s very clear where the problem is.
In fact, as he comments to explain his diagnostic, I can follow with him because I am looking at the same thing he is looking at. This is patient-doctor interface at a level I have never experienced before.
What was particularly cool is that he paused several times during his procedure, put the magic stick thingie in my mouth and showed me progress along the way, keeping a sequence of the digital photos, so as to document the stages.
I don’t know exactly what he did, but it all felt much easier, less painful, less scary and much quicker than anything I have experienced in the U.S. Wow!
So much so, that I decide to show him another tooth, which the L.A. dentist I recently visited said was cracked and would need a crown. (At the time… we were leaving the next day. Didn’t have the funds for what that would cost and decided that I would take care of the crown, a non urgent problem, once we get to Thailand, which is known for its low cost excellent dental care.)
10 minutes later, the dentist fixes that tooth as well. No crown needed. He uses some kind of high tech hard resin which moulds and dries super fast.
All smiles, and a bill for two teeth repairs of a grand total of: $40. (You all know how expensive dental work is in the U.S.)
As we are leaving, Dr Sudibyo tells me that many Europeans and Australians come to his clinic to get dental work done at a fraction of what they pay at home, and with more advanced technology.
I am including the email and website so that anyone needing extensive dental work might want to combine a vacation with quality, low cost dental work:
www.dentalcenter-sudibyo.com; email firstname.lastname@example.org Dr Sudibyo, Dental Center, Yogyakarta.
|Here is the high tech screen from camera in my mouth|
|Dr Sudibya takes the time to show me exactly what the problem is and how he intends to fix it.|
|All done, all smiles…|