I was recently in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico checking out options for Spanish language immersion schools. Ever since I was stationed in Germany, it’s been a goal to spend some time as an expat.
I did not realize that I was going to get a more fully immersive experience on this trip than I had originally planned.
I was there for eight days, primarily to check out a school and secondarily to poke around neighborhoods and see what life would be like if we decided to move down to Puerto Vallarta, even if temporarily. It was the second trip with the expat immersion language school as a goal; we’d also looked at Playa del Carmen during our 20th wedding anniversary trip.
But, despite me nerding out in Costco and local grocery stores, I did not realize that going to the dentist would be on the itinerary. I had joked with my wife that I should go to the dentist while there to see what it was like, but I was not particularly serious about going.
I was not serious about going until I got a call from my dentist in Fort Worth informing me that my cleaning appointment scheduled for later in the month had been cancelled because the hygienist had quit.
Inspired by my blogging buddies at All Options Considered, I sprang into action and scheduled an appointment at Big Sonrisa with Dr. Israel Blanco. It took a couple of calls, as my Spanish is not particularly good, but, we eventually got one locked in for the evening before I left.
The office was small, but comfortable. It had air conditioning, which, if you’ve been in the hot sponge bath that is Puerto Vallarta, is no small amenity. I waited about 10 minutes and filled out some basic paperwork, and then the front office assistant took me into the back to where I’d be seated.
Not that I am an expert in dental chairs and setups, but that looked modern enough for me.
First, she took a picture of the teeth to have the before of the before and after.
Then, she proceeded, in English, to tell me what she was going to do. Mainly, that involved a high pressure water spray to clean in my teeth and along my gumlines. It was fine and uneventful. It wasn’t as pleasant as, say, a long back massage on the beach, but it was fine, and there were no sharp instruments used to scrape out remaining tartar and 40% of my gum tissue.
Then, she polished my teeth and flossed them. Afterwards, she took another picture of my teeth to show the progress she’d made and told me to get another cleaning in 6 months.
The price tag? 700 pesos in cash, 721 pesos if I used a credit card. Based on the exchange rate that day, that was $35.20 in cash, or less than my copay had I received the same treatment back home.
I would definitely go back there for other treatments. This is the second time in about a month we’ve experienced good medical care in Mexico.
For basic, routine care and maintenance of our bodies, I’d have no problems getting medical and dental professionals in Mexico (at least, in the Cancún and Puerto Vallarta areas) to take care of us.