Friday, February 27, 2015

Algodones Dental Experience, Day Three

This was a frustrating day. All they had to do was fit the temporary plates. I asked for an early appointment so we could get back to Palm Springs but the lab would not have the teeth ready. So, my appointment was not until 4:00. I showed up early and was not called until almost 5:30, an almost two hour wait!

The first dentist I saw asked, "So I understand your dentures do not fit?" I explained that no, that was not the problem, I was there to get new temporaries fitted. Well, that was not his specialty so he sent me to another room and doctor. The new doctor could not find the appliances and it was now after 6:00 PM. They finally found the partials and she started to bend and grind them to fit. She snapped them in and the fit was good but I could not move my tongue, it was pressed between the top and bottom. She asked how they fit and I said I could not talk. She told me I would have to learn how to talk with them and that I had to talk with my mouth wider open than I was used to. She also told me I could not eat with them in and had to remove them for eating and sleeping.

I hated the feeling of the damn things and asked what they were for. She told me they were cosmetic only, that my smile would look better. Well, I couldn't care less about that. I told her that no one explained that to me during the consultation and that I did not want them. She said to take them with me and maybe I would feel differently in a week or two. I just said no, I did not want them, period. My smile is just fine thank you.

There was no problem, she sent me back up front and the accountant peeled off three one hundred dollar bills and refunded the full cost of the temporaries, I was not even asked to pay the lab fees, they took the loss.

This was the only problem through the whole experience and it wasn't a real problem at all, just a waste of a lot of time for a lot of people. I will be eating soft food until the next round in six months as I have no back teeth. I can't say enough about the great people at Sani Dental Group! They are very professional, very competent and were virtually painless. This was a major procedure and I breezed through it quickly and with no problems.

If you have major (or even minor) dental work to be done, go the Sani Dental Group in Algodones. You will save thousands or even tens of thousands as in my case over Canadian or USA prices and get a vacation in the desert along with it. The only condition for the free room is that your bill must be over $1000 for one free night and over $2000 for three free nights. The more you spend, the longer you stay. A reasonable condition. If you spend less than the minimum amounts, the patient rate for the room is only $35 per night and $50 if you are not a patient at all. A cheap rate for a nice, spotless room even if you have to pay them. And the cook is very accommodating to special requests.

It was about seven when we got back to the hotel where the chef put a large bowl of her delicious vegetable lentil soup through the blender for me. When we finished eating a couple of other residents were in the courtyard having a drink. The hotel bar was closed so we went and got a drink from our own supply. A few more couples joined us and we soon had a party going. I made my way to bed at about ten and Norma joined me a half hour later. Needles to say, my head was a little sore this morning. It's OK, I needed that drink!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Algodones Dental Experience, Day Two

WARNING: You are about to hear more about my successful dental procedure than you may want to know. I am doing this because many people are interested in dental work in Mexico.

Today was the Big Day. My appointment at Sani Dental was for 11:00 and after a short 20 minute wait I went into the treatment room. The dentist and two assistants were waiting. He quickly told me the order they were going to do things in as it would be difficult for me to ask questions after he started. He started with the simplest job, removing the upper left bridge and pulling one bad tooth from under it. He did this and then told me the anchor tooth had to come out as well. We had discussed this tooth yesterday but he thought he could save it. It turned out he could not. Add one more extraction and one more implant added to the bill! He then did a deep cleaning to the remaining top teeth and did some small bone grafts up there as well.

He then let me rest for a few minutes before starting on the bottom. The right bottom bridge had to be cut in half as half was to remain in place. He actually cut it in half with a tiny saw! I of course did not see any of the process as they had my eyes covered with a cloth the whole time but I could hear and feel it. Once it was cut through he removed the part with the bad tooth. The bottom left bridge, the reason I came in, was last. This is where the current infection is running wild. It came out the easiest, taking two anchor teeth with it with hardly any resistance. There was not much holding that bridge in, the bone was gone and I probably could have pulled it out with my fingers. He then deep cleaned the remaining teeth on the bottom and packed a ton of bone grafting material into the large hole in my jaw bone after thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the sockets..

This "Deep Cleaning" involves pulling the gum away from the tooth and scraping the tooth all the way down to where it meets the bone and maybe further. Yes, it felt about like how it sounds. Not a pleasant experience although not nearly as bad as I expected. It is the most expensive single item on the bill at $300 per quadrant = $1,200.

His extraction method was virtually painless. The same method was used on the bridges as on the individual teeth. He gave me several needles (I don't know how many as I could only feel the first two), latched onto the bridge or tooth with a tool that felt similar to a pair of vice grips and started wiggling. Eventually he increased the pull while still wiggling and out it came, virtually painless. I winced once and he stopped to add two more needles. That was the only glitch except he muttered "shit" twice as he was packing the "Big Hole" with the bone grafting material. I asked him after what that was all about and he just shrugged and said, "nothing really, it just wasn't going where I wanted. No problema"! They also recommended a laser treatment that they said would aid in and speed up healing. It was extra cost but I went for it. "In for a penny, in for a pound" (think old British expression).

I was in the chair for just over three hours. I sat for a minute or two to get my bearings before walking up front to pay my bill. There is no additional fee for paying with cash or by cheque but if you use a credit card or debit card, there is a 4% add-on fee. I paid today's $2750 USA with a cheque. This was $550 more than the estimate because of the added on extraction and the laser treatment.

I am back at the hotel with a totally numb face and can't feel a damn thing from the neck up. I took a 600 mg ibuprofen that they prescribed because I know it will hurt when the freezing comes out but so far, so good. Norma went over to the restaurant and had them run a large bowl of vegetable soup through the blender and I am letting it cool for a while before trying it as all I need is a burned, numb mouth!.

I have to go back in the morning to get temporary plates installed. I don't really know the value of this as they told me I would have to take them out to eat. Norma tells me they will help let my face keep it's shape as I wait the six months before they can do the implants and final bridges. The kind I can eat with were going to be $1000 extra, Nuff said. Six months is going to be a long time eating soft food!

No photos. Be happy for this.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Algodones Dental Experience, Day One

We got up at 6:00 AM this morning for our 7:30 departure on the three hour trip to Algodones, Mexico and the Sani Dental Clinic. It was only 11:00 (Algodones time) when we arrived and my appointment was not until 1:00 PM but we thought they might take us early and that was what they did. We had a room booked in the hotel that is owned by the Sani Dental Group. I headed into the waiting room and they gave Norma a ride to the hotel where she checked in.

They called my name and I got a full scan x-ray and was sent back to the waiting room. A half hour later I was called in for a consultation. I thought (hoped) I could get away with a simple filling but that was not the case. They pointed out where I had suffered a lot of bone loss around the back tooth holding my bridge in place. In fact they pointed out that the back tooth was just "floating" and not supporting the bridge at all. Two more of my four bridges were in trouble as well and had to be replaced with implants and new bridges but he thought one of them might be good for another year or two and could be put off for now. He gave me a price of $6300 USA for the full job, $2200 today and another $4100 in six months! I signed my name and went back to the waiting room.

Soon I was called back and talked to the dentist who would be doing the actual work. He said he really felt the other side had to be addressed now instead of waiting. I agreed and he revised the estimate up to $8100 USA, the first $2200 to be done tomorrow after I started on the antibiotics he prescribed for me as there was a current infection going on.

They gave me a voucher for two free nights in the hotel and I walked to the hotel where Norma was waiting. She was in the coffee shop where she had just ordered some soup and I joined her. After the soup we walked to a neighboring bar/restaurant where we had a margarita and then downtown where we had a cold beer. It had been a long day so we walked back to the hotel to put our feet up before looking for a nice place for dinner.

At about 6:30 we headed downtown only to find that every restaurant was closed! They roll up the sidewalks after the gringos from Yuma cross back over the border. We walked back to the hotel where luckily they were still serving food. Norma had a beef fajita and I had cheese enchiladas. Everything was good but I could have used a little more food, I should have had a double order.

Well, off to watch TV and get to bed early, it will be a tough day tomorrow when they are removing the bridges, pulling several teeth, deep cleaning the rest and grafting some bone. I suspect I will have a sore mouth when they are done. The majority of the work including the implants will be done in six months when everything has healed.

Welcome to Mexico, no guns por favor.

Soup. Very good actually.

The room. Free if you don't consider the $8,100 USA.

Margaritaville. I needed this!

With live music.

And more booze!

More tomorrow (if I feel like blogging).

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Here We Go Again

We have both been down with the flu for some time now. Two days ago Norma starter to hack and cough and today I got the beginnings of a sore throat and a minor headache. Damn! Maybe I can knock it back with lots of water and Tylenol.

I have decided I need to visit the dentist in Algodones, Mexico. The bottom left rear molar that supports a five or six tooth bridge has developed a huge cavity below the bridge. The tooth must be saved or else I will need an implant to replace it. It does not hurt as it had a root canal 25 or 30 years ago but I can feel the cavity with my tongue. There is also some gum damage back there. Best to get it dealt with now.

Because of this we have added ten days to our stay here at Desert Oasis so we are here till the end of the month. I will call the Sani Group for an appointment, hopefully early next week. It is a three hour drive each way so I hope to get a noonish appointment and then stay one night at a $50 per night hotel in Algodones owned by the clinic.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Oceanside, CA

What a great weekend! The weather cooperated by staying clear and in the high 70's, the hotel was just fine and the food was great. What's not to like?

We arrived on Friday a little after 1:00 and checked into the Beachwood Motel. It is a typical two level walk-up motel that probably dates back to the fifties but it was freshly painted and clean. It was the kind of place that could have inspired Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson with the parade of characters living there! I booked it through for $140 for two nights, a great savings over it's more glamorous neighbors that wanted up to $880 for two nights. The owner was friendly and gave us a fan to plug in to replace the non-existing air conditioning.

We carried the bags and coffee maker up and then walked the short block and a half to the ocean and along the beach to the pier. There were lots of surfers and sightseers around. We stopped in at Hello Betty Restaurant to enjoy one of their "famous" margaritas on the roof top open air bar with a great view.

Later on Friday evening we decided to try out Harbor Fish and Chips for dinner. We goofed and ordered way too much food. My $13 three piece dinner had three foot long slabs of cod and at least a pound of fries and could have fed two people easily. Norma's $12 Friday Special had one slab of cod, one large shrimp, a pound of fries, a cup of clam chowder and two or three cups of cole slaw. There was enough food on the table to feed a decent sized family. Friday night we were too full to do anything so it was a hang around the motel and watch TV night.

Saturday we were up early and walked over to the Breakfast Club Diner for a California Skillet for me and Eggs Benedict for Norma. Both were very good but enough food that we did not need lunch.

We walked along the Strand that follows the beach and then out to the end of the famous 2000 foot long pier. Walking back towards the motel we picked out a couple of possible places for dinner not really thinking about it being Valentines Day! Later on we got dressed in casual clothes and walked into the 333 Pacific Restaurant. They were full but found us a small table. The "menu" came and it was a fixed price Valentines Day five! course dinner for $60 each (before wine). Well for us a five course dinner is a joke, specially for Norma who would not get past the soup and salad! A gigantic waste of money!

We left and walked back to Hello Betty where they were serving the regular menu. There was a forty five minute wait but it was still the best option available. Saturday night was spent strolling the interesting area where we were staying.

Sunday morning we were up earlier than we planned for some reason, loaded the car, found a nice breakfast place and headed home by a more interesting route than the one we came on. The return route took us past the Julian Pie Factory where we stopped to buy a pie.

All in all, a nice break from the desert.

Some photos:

The Strand

Margarita Por Favor!

Beachwood Motel

Breakfast Club

The Pier Looking Out

Surf's Up

The Pier Looking Back

This guy was doing a pretty good job with some Gordon Lightfoot songs

And Finally....

Saturday, February 14, 2015

We Made It

We are in Oceanside but too busy to Blog right now as breakfast calls. Here is our return route. The return will take us past the pie factory so I can restock!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

(Visualize Croft jumping up and down in glee)

Canada's Sun News Network, otherwise known as "FOX News North" shut down at 5:00 AM this morning after failing to gain more that 0.1% of Canadian viewership after three years of broadcasting  their garbage in a country whose broadcast regulations actually require that anything broadcast as "news" actually be true. Unable to find a buyer the plug was pulled and the network went dark. The on air personalities who had for years decried Canada's "Socialist" programs like Employment Insurance were soon at the head of the line applying for their "dole".

I do not feel sorry for the affected workers. They made, or attempted to make, their living working for a network that spewed nothing but racism and hatred. So long and don't let the door smack you in the ass on your way out.

One more windmill successfully tilted!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bloggers Happy Hour

We got an invitation from Rene' and Jeanette for a Happy Hour at their RV spot a couple of blocks away. He also invited Rick and Paulette who are wintering just down Dillon Road. They had two more visitors, Hector and Diane, non-blogging friends of theirs from Lantzville on Vancouver Island.

We were the last to arrive at just after 4:00. We quickly grabbed a drink and entered into the conversation and fun. There was lots of food and many topics as we exchanged stories around the patio. Before we knew it, it was 7:30 and the sun was down. Time to head home!

Rick, Paulette, Hector, Diane, Rene', Jeanette and yours truly. Paulette has her own Blog - "Sweet P" a very popular quilting blog.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Road Trip!

We just booked a two day getaway to Oceanside, CA. We found a reasonably priced motel one block from the beach for Friday and Saturday nights. We need a vacation from our vacation!

All Star Burgers

We have listened to fellow residents here talk about the great food at All Star Burgers, a little nondescript joint on the corner of Dillon and Corkill for a couple of months. Yesterday we decided to give it a try and was it ever nice! You order at the counter and they bring the food to your table. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their specialty is burgers but they also serve Mexican food. Norma had a patty melt and I opted for the fish sandwich, two large pieces of hand battered fish on a huge bun. The burgers alone are $5 - $6 each but we opted for the combo meals which included drinks and fries for an extra couple of dollars each.

When we got home I recalled reading about this place in Rick Doyle's old Blog. Sure enough I looked it up and discovered this was Rick and Paulette's favorite burger joint as well. Rick and I have a lot in common!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I Am Not Dead

I am still kicking, just taking a break from Blogging. Not much happening around here so as my mother used to say, "If you don't have anything good to say...".

We are over the flu or whatever it was. Still tired much of the time but generally over it. That last bug was not stopped by the flu shot, nor will the next one coming along. The bugs have figured out the formula.

The Big Game is now history. I guess the Seahawks do not need me telling them they blew the last play. As some famous player said, "If you throw the ball, three things can happen and two of them are bad". They should have given the ball to Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch and let him carry it across. But then they know that now. Next year!

Our time here in Desert Hot Springs is winding down. We are booked until Feb 18 and are trying to figure out what to do after that. If the weather continues to improve to the east we will probably head towards Phoenix with a stop at Hope, AZ to meet my old Blogging buddy Bill. After commenting on each other's Blogs for years, I have a chance to meet them!

After Hope we are looking at Eagle View RV Park at Fountain Hills above Phoenix but when I go on their reservation system, they are full for the time we would be there. A fall back would be one of the Cal Am parks in Mesa. At least one of them is Passport America.