Only minor dentistry should be trusted in Cambodia

That's mean and Ana.  We faked the photo when her work was completed, so she's not wearing gloves and I lack a bib.

That’s Ana and I.  We faked the photo when her work was completed, so she’s not wearing gloves and I lack a bib.  Incidentally, shorts and t-shirt are my usual attire and not only when the mercury soars.

The European Dental Clinic has a generally good reputation among expats in Phnom Penh, and it is conveniently close to home.  I’ve had nothing but good experiences there on my three visits, two of them for routine cleaning, in the last year or so.

Although the treatment of any serious dental issues such as root canals or tooth implants, like any serious medical ones, is ill-advised in this country, ordinary work can be achieved successfully.

There are many reasons to appreciate the clinic.  It is light, airy and welcoming, though modest by comparison with the plush suites that I have seen in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.  A bonus is that the Cambodian staff members allow me to practice Khmer on them, and  at least one of them speaks English passingly well when my attempts fail at communicating in Khmer.

The two professionals with whom I’ve interacted speak English especially well, one of them being from Australia.  The other one is from Spain, and both of them are charming, conversational and competent.

They are the best two reasons I know to count on the clinic for dental care.

Angela is my hygienist, and as far as I can tell, she does the job about as well as the nice woman who I saw every six months in New York.  The biggest difference is the price, only $40 a visit.

happy-tooth-early-damageThe other good aspect of Angela is that she was able to overcome my persistent objections to x-rays, which I ordinarily oppose because they have never once uncovered problems that hadn’t already surfaced, as it were.  Thanks to her persuasiveness, the x-rays revealed the presence of two suspicious shadows, and the two bitewing shots cost me a total of $10.

So two days later, I returned for my appointment with Ana, a cheerful Spaniard trained in her home country who happened to clean my teeth at the facility on her first day not only in the job a year ago but her first day after landing in Cambodia.  (Luckily she didn’t fall asleep and didn’t abuse my gums that time.)

Ana frowned at my x-rays, hummer as she poked the questionable areas and decided there was, in fact, one cavity.  My confidence grew by the minute as she injected the anesthetic literally without my feeling more than pinprick.

I was out of there in well under an hour, richer for knowing my dental health was back up to par and poorer by a mere $75.  And so much for rejecting x-rays.

My positive experience notwithstanding, should I need major work before one of my annual visits to New York and the opportunity to see the estimable Dr. Russ B. Mandor, on whom I’ve depended for decades, I’ll head to Bangkok.

E-mail: malcolmncarter@gmail.com

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