Thailand, February 9, 2013
After four days of suffering with a sore gum/tooth, I decided to take a chance and find a dentist. I mentioned my aching tooth to some friends who immediately knew where to send me. Like most places in the world, when you are new in an area, you rely on networking – friends, neighbors, locals. Our friends gave us some tips and clues as to the dental procedure here in Thailand, and off we went. We were told that we could call and make an appointment: if we were lucky, we might find someone at the clinic who speaks English. Their advice? Just go. Thais never say no so you may have to wait a little while, but they won’t turn you down.
The Clinic is in Rayong. We knew how to get to Rayong, and fortunately, the clinic was not that difficult to find, as it was situated on a corner on Sukhumvit Road (all main roads leading through cities/villages/towns are called Sukhumvit Road), but this clinic was very conveniently located across from the old Bangkok Hospital. Drove right to it.
Since Rayong is a relatively large city with the clinic right on the Sukhumvit Road, I wasn’t going to leave my good sandals out on the street in front of the dental clinic, so I took them inside, took a pair of indoor flip-flops and placed my street sandals on the shoe rack inside the door in place of the indoor flip-flops. Nice reception area, air-conditioned, clean, comfortable chairs and sofas, flat screen t.v., friendly personnel. I presented my Thai I.D. – primarily my driver’s license and was asked to fill out some papers. Sometimes when I present my Thai driver’s license, I get a discount, but not in this instance. Of course, even in Rayong, Thailand, there was another “Jensen”, but I told the receptionist it was not me. She could not
understand that. How could there be two Jensens in Rayong at this clinic? Well, I can’t understand it either, but my common surname seems to follow me everywhere.
We waited about 45 minutes, as more and more Thais came into the clinic. Now there quite a few files lined up on the counter, and I was beginning to worry that I would have to wait all day for my turn. The receptionist pointed to my file and assured me that I would be next. Sure enough, a few minutes later, a pretty Thai girl came out, took my file and just nodded at me to follow.
I can’t say that my dentist had his work station in a room with a view, but it was a nice, clean station. He was very young! He was a bit nervous which, of course, affected his English. I smiled at him just thankful that he spoke any English at all. He wore a mask and asked me “What can I do for you today?” I told him about my tooth, after which he took a little rubber hammer, put on some rubber gloves and gently knocked on my teeth until he found the one that hurt. He suggested that we take an X-Ray of my tooth.
His assistant placed a small towel over my eyes, put on her rubber gloves, then came with a little hand-held X-Ray machine, put that little cardboard in my mouth, held it in place and touched the button on the X-Ray machine. Voila finished. I waited about 4 minutes until the X-Ray was ready and Dr. Santi revealed that my filling was fine, but I had a laceration which antibiotics and pain killers should cure. He advised me that he would write out a perscription which would be delivered to the reception area where the girls would take care of me.
I waited a few minutes until I was called to the receptionist, who gave me two little packets, one with antibiotics and one with pain killers. Since everything was in Thai, she gave me verbal instructions in Engllish. For the consultation, X-Ray and perscription I paid Baht 300. and I was on my way. I was assured that I was welcome to come back if I had any more problems or if the antibiotics did not cure the tooth ache.
Thank you, Dr. Santi. Everything is just fine and I can eat again – actually, now that I think of it, it might have been good for me not to be able to eat so much delicious Thai fruit and food!