Tuesday’s Travel Problems: Visiting the Dentist

Tuesday's Travel Problems - Dentists...

Tuesday’s Travel Problems – Dentists…

The most important thing when we travel is of course health. It’s always number one. Without health we are bound to one place. Until this year, I had been relatively lucky in terms of dentist visits and work needing done on my teeth. I’d had a few fillings here and there and some teeth removed as a child. But for over 11 years, I hadn’t had any teeth issues. Problem is though, I’ve always had a sweet tooth. I love sweet food. Haribo Fangtastics, cake, biscuits and I always add sugar to tea and coffee.

Tuesday's Travel Problems: Teeth and Dentist Visits.

Tuesday’s Travel Problems: Teeth and Dentist Visits.

A few months back just as I prepared to leave for Brazil for the World Cup, one of my teeth completely cracked (while eating a chicken wrap), and another had a big cavity in it. I admit that life was moving too fast for me, I was often eating on the move and not getting enough sleep, this was a wake up call really.

The swanky dentist in Lok Fu, Hong Kong.

The swanky dentist is in this shopping centre in Lok Fu, Hong Kong.

I went to the dentist in Lok Fu, Hong Kong for a check up. They cleaned my teeth and exposed the two teeth that needed work done, it was actually very urgent, but there was no time to get the fillings or the possible tooth removal. Because I was flying to London in 2 days and my travel brain knew that within a week I’d be on a beach in Fortaleza Brazil playing football. This meant I had no time to get the teeth operated on, and plus a part of me still thought – I could get it done in Northern Ireland on the NHS (cheaper). When I travelled the last 4-5 months, I started to really look after my teeth and made it a priority now. Then I booked to come back to Europe at short notice, earlier than expected.

Oral hygiene products in the Hong Kong dentist.

Oral hygiene products in the Hong Kong dentist.

During that time, I cut down on putting sugar in tea or coffee, I restricted my lager quantities, I limited the fizzy sweets to twice a month and for fizzy drinks – I basically gave them up, unless it was a coke bunged in as part of a meal deal in a restaurant. I also avoided any tough food and especially food with bones in it. I am scared of dentists, I really don’t like going.

Pretending not to be nervous in the dentist in Hong Kong.

Pretending not to be nervous in the dentist in Hong Kong.

Northern Ireland being part of the UK has the NHS (National Health Service). Probably the best health service in the world (quit the moaning local people, please – the NHS is pretty damn good. Be sure that their staff work hard). But I’d been away from Northern Ireland for 11 years so had to get my NHS number again and get re-registered. It’s been a real week of health worries as my Mum has been in hospital and I’ve been worrying about my teeth.

Say cheese.

Say cheese.

My Mum found the Oasis Dental Centre in Balloo in Bangor and I called in and registered on my return to my home country. I have to admit I was pretty scared. Yes, even more scared than (1) the time I fed hyenas mouth to mouth in Ethiopia (2) the time I went skydiving in New Zealand (3) the time I was held at gunpoint in Venezuela.

Oasis - The Dental People, Bangor, Northern Ireland.

Oasis – The Dental People, Bangor, Northern Ireland.

I got into the dentist’s room and was confronted by the usual dentist’s chair. Sat down, but immediately made to feel at ease and welcome by the young female dentist, Jenny Gullen. She called me by my first name, settled me then inspected my teeth. I swear I had not had my teeth properly looked at in this way for a decade. Jaw open wide, food remnants scraped out and 2 x-rays taken confirmed that I would need work done. That was the first appointment. The next day I was scheduled in to get work done on my teeth. This worked out perfect as this lifestyle is fast moving and in two days, I’d already be in Birmingham. It was now or…wait a few more months. So it was now.

The Dental People, Oasis, Bangor, Northern Ireland.

The Dental People, Oasis, Bangor, Northern Ireland.

So I went in the next day a bit nervous as ever. I was called to the surgery and got a full scale and polish of the teeth, then a couple of injections to numb the pain in my mouth and 2 amalgam fillings. One on my left lower jaw and one on my right upper jaw. It all went smoothly and was over pretty quick. I wore dark glasses and tried to close my eyes too for most of it. Obviously with the injections, I didn’t feel the pain of the actual fillings. I rinsed my mouth out and was glad that it was over. The fillings were in place, my mouth was numb, but it felt good to have it over and done with. On the NHS the cost was £31.14 for the second visit and about £14 for the first visit. I could now concentrate on my travels again, thanks to Jenny and the staff at Oasis for helping me.

NHS Price list at Oasis.

NHS Price list at Oasis.

So now as I travel through England again (Birmingham, Nottingham and my old stomping ground of Bournemouth up next) and onwards to Romania and Moldova, I am concentrating on keeping my teeth and gums in good condition. While in the past I probably milked the free toothpaste in hotels and hostels, these days it’s my own toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash and dental floss.

Safe travels and happy brushing!

Hong Kong dentist price list.

Hong Kong dentist price list.

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27 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Travel Problems: Visiting the Dentist

  • Hi Jonny,

    Glad you were able to get sorted out, and that price is insanely cheap for the treatment you had. After living in New Zealand and having to pay $50 to see a GP, and $100 to see a hygienist at the dentist, I really started to appreciate the NHS so much more. Added to that, my motorbike accident in Vietnam ended up costing me about $300. So I am enjoying being able to make use of this system again.

    Safe and healthy travels!
    Abbi recently posted…Floating on the Mekong Delta, Can Tho, VietnamMy Profile

  • Dental care is indeed very important…for anyone. But most especially when you travel, you get to encounter all these different kinds of food that you will be tempted to eat. I am a sweet tooth too like you and it is always the sweets that I look for first whenever I go to new places.

    Taking care of your teeth is a good thing, Jonny. At least you faced your fears of going to the dentist. (I’m not afraid of the dentist though. hehe. ) You’re doing great!

    Keep it up!
    Marianne Lin recently posted…10 Most Interesting And Beautiful Places To Visit In AustraliaMy Profile

  • Great travel and dental experience Jon! Some say that as we grow older our teeth weaken causing us to start losing tooth after tooth. But that is only a misconception because the truth is if we take good care of our teeth then they can last a lifetime. So no matter where you are and what you do still do proper dental hygiene.

  • Hi Abbi, thanks for the comment, wow that seems dear for New Zealand. When I lived in Australia, everything was covered by Medicare, because I was there on a visa using my British passport and that covers you. The NHS is great and I don’t get those that slag it off! Safe and healthy travels to you too! Jonny

  • Oh wow Jonny, that sure must have been quite a relieve for you to get your teeth problems solved. I know that pretty soon my wife is going in for a pre-implant surgery session. Mainly because the dentist has seen that there are a few cavities to take out as well as several teeth.

  • The most important thing of visiting dentists is for some dental reason. The dentists suggest the patients not to smoke cigarettes containing nicotine as it can certainly affect their body. It may destroy the whole body system.Launching the dental applicants guide interviews can aid to the people suffering from dental decay. It can also be treated with cosmetic dentistry.

  • Your experience will boost on people to be more careful with their teeth. This will show them on how our teeth is precious. Keep it up and maybe next time try to lessen your expenses.

  • My cousin got his teeth knocked out during a hockey game last night and he isn’t happy about it. He wants to get them replaced asap, but isn’t sure what the process behind it is. This has some great points that I think can help him figure out what he needs to do.

  • I took an elbow to the face during a pick up basketball game and need to get a few teeth replaced. Currently, I feel like I am a walking metaphor with the idea that the teeth are the window to the soul. I’d love to get some implants as soon as I can. Do I need to let my gums health for any amount of time before getting implants?

  • That is sort of funny that your decision to take care of your teeth and go to the dentist happened while you were traveling. Sorry about your tooth though, hopefully you won’t have to deal with that again. Wish you luck on your quest for having good oral hygiene, sometimes it can be hard but you got to stick with it!

  • Hi Phillius, thanks for the comment. Yes our teeth are important and finding good dentists on the road can be tougher than you’d think. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Foreign dentistry is something I had never thought about. I have always liked to travel, and I honestly don’t know what I would do if I had a dental issue like this in another country. But it looks like you had everything under control and it all turned out all right. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Sometimes it is so hard hard to keep up with dental health when we are all on the go so much. I am glad you found time to take care of these issues! It’s not always very fun to deal with this stuff.

  • Hi McKenzie, thanks for the comment. You are right, especially when you visit so many different countries and are shoving different food down yer bake. I hope to concentrate on good dental health. Safe travels. Jonny

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