There was no choice – I had to replace my six front teeth. They were cracking. The enamel had long gone and no amount of bleaching could hide the yellowing tone. I was too embarrassed to smile for photographs. The dentist in Australia said he would do his best to keep the total cost down to USD$7,800. It would take weeks of dental visits (and temporary front teeth in the meantime) to complete the whole job of capping the six teeth. I was resigned to a long and expensive dental saga.
My friend Jay had another idea. Go to Thailand. The previous year Jay had been told that he needed several implants. And although he is the wealthiest friend I have ever had, he opted to have his dental work done in Thailand. During his misspent youth Jay had lived in London and befriended a young Australian model. That model, who still looks glamorous decades later, now lives in Bangkok and swears by her dentist.
But how do you make a dental appointment in Bangkok when you are sitting in regional Australia? No problem, it is all done online. I filled in the form, emailed it off and had a reply within the hour. Once the appointment time had been agreed, the receptionist wanted to know the address of my hotel. A car and driver would pick me up from the hotel and deliver me back after my visit. This sounded promising – and it was.
A Mercedes with a friendly English speaking driver collected me on time and thirty minutes later I was being offered a cappuccino in a very sophisticated dental surgery. There were several dentists and orthodontists in the practice, many of them US trained. My dentist was English speaking, very caring and blessed with a good sense of humour.
The end result – the most pain free dental appointment I have ever had (and that includes teeth polishing). The six front teeth were capped. They look marvellous. It took just two appointments and only five days with temporary teeth (which incidentally looked better than my original set). The cost all up was just over USD$2,350 – less than a third of my ‘rock bottom’ Australian quote.
The dental surgery I attended was Thantakit Dental Center in Petchburi Road. The website is www.thantakit.com.
Australians spend an estimated $300 million seeking medical and dental treatment abroad. Of course, not everyone has such an upbeat tale to tell – but my experience was a happy one. And now I can smile for photographs.