Friday, 17 April 2015

Two Very Different Lakeside Dental Experiences

The First Experience

I have to say that one of the scariest things I’ve had to do since moving to Ajijic 5 months ago was to think about finding a new dentist. Bearing in mind that Dave has been my one and only dentist since he was a 4th year dental student at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Dental School way back in the Dark Ages, this was not going to be an easy task. Dave decided he needed a clean and polish too so we asked around and got various recommendations from new found friends.

Eventually, we opted for one dental practice on the “recommended list” as not only did it look modern but it was the nearest to our house and had easy parking outside. The appointment making process was very easy as all the staff speak very good English as they cater mainly to expats and we managed to make a first slot of the day appointment 10 days ahead and the names of the dentists we would be seeing were printed on our appointment cards. So far, so good.

Private Practice
Being good clients we arrived 10 minutes early for our appointment but unfortunately the staff weren’t so prompt, arriving in dribs and drabs up until our 9am appointment time. No-one welcomed us nor did they bother to tell us our appointment would be delayed as they’d decided they were going to have a short staff meeting.

Eventually, 15 minutes after our scheduled appointment time we were taken to individual cubicles where a very cursory medical history was taken before the most impossibly rudimentary examination took place. This consisted of a quick look around with a mirror – no probe, no intra oral camera, no x-rays, no perio probe or pocket charting, no questioning re any dental pain or problems. UNREAL! On the plus side, I think we both received a reasonably thorough cleaning with an ultrasonic scaler but again, no hand scalers were used to check whether all sub gingival calculus had been removed. Guess we’ll be trying the next practice on our list next time. Not impressed!

The Second Experience

Centro de Salud
Now this experience has absolutely zero to do with our own dental treatment. On the contrary, it has to do with an experimental free treatment clinic which has opened at the Centro de Salud, Ajijic and is equipped courtesy of funds raised by various local expat groups. Each weekend from 8am – 7pm it is operated on a voluntary basis by Dr Miguel Villasenor Calvillo, a specialist Orthodontist whose week day practice is in Guadalajara. Weekends he provides any and every kind of dentistry from fillings to dentures to oral surgery – whatever is needed in fact.

I spotted a post on a local web board begging for volunteers with dental experience to help Dr Miguel as he had no chairside or admin help whatsoever and was treating up to 24 patients a day! Dave and I promptly offered to help but as Dave was away playing with paragliders in Orlando last week, it was down to me to do the first weekend. And what an eye opener!

First off there are hardly any hand instruments and no x-ray developer, although there is an x-ray machine. Dr Miguel needs to take the x-rays to his practice in Guadalajara to develop them, then bring them back to the clinic the following week! The volume of patients is so great (all of them need urgent treatment) that instruments are just scrubbed under running cold water and reused. Many people who come for treatment arrive with family members in tow who just automatically clean up after their relative has finished treatment – cleaning the spittoon, scrubbing instruments, washing the floor. They are so grateful this clinic is providing much needed treatment, you just wouldn’t believe it. One guy stayed for 5 hours helping out last Sunday after his three children had been treated …… and this is a guy who works two jobs over 12 hour days Monday – Saturday to provide for his family. On both days, someone turned up with chicken, rice, tacos and juice for us to make sure we were fed and watered. This is true gratitude.

My role last week was to tackle the admin side of things and needless to say, government forms in Mexico are as onerous to complete as the NHS forms in the UK. Plus they’re in Spanish! This was a huge challenge for me but fortunately I speak Spanish well enough to cope although inevitably I couldn’t understand everything and got a trifle confused at times! It’ll be interesting to see how Dave copes this weekend but to be fair, I have volunteered to go along and help him understand what he needs to do. Once we’ve got that out of the way, we’re hoping between us we can provide a full two days of cover between us each week. I think there may be another dental post hot on the heels of this one!

No comments:

Post a Comment