May 9, 2011

Good dentistry

Dr Francisco Javier Canales, or simply Javier, is my dentist on the island. He works in his private practice when he is not an oral surgeon for the Navy. Sometimes he takes a night shift at the Navy Hospital, so his hours do vary. And I see him the day after tomorrow in the morning after a week of antibiotics to recover from a complication of the oral surgery to implant bone powder into the site where a failed dental implant, gotten in Ohio nearly 20 years ago, failed.
It also infected the adjacent molar, which had to be pulled, meaning I had quite the hole to fill. Dr Canales put some bone powder in in last year, enough to get by with an acrylic bridge. Now I want a permanent bridge.
He is a meticulous man and honest. As he was implanting the powder, he said, Mexicans don't think to restore bone when a tooth is pulled or an appliance surgically removed. Had he had access to it a year ago, he would have grafted in piece of bone to do what the powder will hopefully get done. Instead he installed a little bone powder then also.
The post surgical infection occurred when the casting material disintegrated and I didn't notify him. The surgical site should have remained covered. Not his fault! My bad.
I know I Tweet ad nauseam about this. I'm on Cipro, I took some gifted Vicodin. That's all over now, but it struck me that the readers might think the care is bad here. It is not.
It is true, the equipment isn't the absolute latest, but it is good. He doesn't casually x-ray, believing it's bad for the body. And his x-ray isn't panoramic or digital. It is an old machine and he processes film in a dark sleeve set up. When he is done, he pulls his hand out of the sleeve and puts the x-ray to the light. "Ah, ha," he'll say. Just as he thought, the x-ray confirms.
At any rate, I will need two new crowns and two fake teeth in this bridge when we are ready. It a will cost in the neighborhood of $1,600US, not $20,000.
A friend is here getting a porcelain crown for $400, not $1,200. She's not crazy about his drill with the squirting water. But she liked the price and found his injection technique to be painless for the local anesthesia..
I highly recommend him and am coaching his English a bit. This has led to philosophical discussions about "rinse" versus "rinse and spit." In my opinion, rinse and spit is the way it's said in the US because that's what dentists say to kids who don't know to spit and they just keep saying it. "But who would swallow?" he asks. "It's redundant to say," he argues. Well, I am comforted to hear rinse and spit, so I think Javier has incorporated into his routine. If I am wrong, well, don't forget to spit! Ha, he's right, isn't he?

No comments: