For many people that travel, regular checkups and health appointments can be difficult to figure out, and very often staying on top of your health means finding emergency care should something go awry. As an American without health insurance, I try to inquire about medical care options wherever I'm traveling. It had been more than a year since I had seen a dentist, so I asked around. I don't know many people who like the dentist, and usually visits in any country are accompanied by tales of terror.... This I was trying to avoid!
There happened to be a dentist 5 minutes down the road, where the manager of the Chez Jacques had gone the previous week without incident. I decided to investigate. I found the small office tucked in the nearby shopping strip, and the receptionist happened to be outside smoking with a neighboring shop owner. She was able to take me for a cleaning the next day. I walked in Tuesday afternoon 10 minutes early with a book, expecting to wait. I was greeted by the dentist and receptionist, and brought directly back. No forms, no fuss, and everything looked clean. After 5 basic questions, I was reclined into the purple chair and the games commenced.
My cleaning began with a metal instrument that sounded like a couple of sharks attempting to chew through a metal roof... The sound was so excruciatingly piercing I thought there might be a pack of dogs waiting outside the office. I guess my teeth needed a cleaning, and he was thorough. After a few minutes I began to feel like a an old Dodge pickup with someone tinkering under the hood. I closed my eyes and thought those happy thoughts...
When that glorious symphony had finished, the sand blasting began! I believe he used baking soda, but it could also have been lemon Ajax. The safety glasses were crucial - the pressure was so high my entire face was covered in powder and droplets of blood by the end. After some major rinsing, the dentist assured me that we weren't quite finished... Reclining slowly back into the antiseptic comfort of that purple chair, he began searching for the English words for what was to come... "You know the volcano rock that floats?" Ahh, let me think ... Pumice? Yes, he was going to polish my teeth with pumice. Hey, why not?
I have to admit, this I kind of enjoyed. It was gritty, but didn't taste too awful - and by the end my teeth felt incredibly clean. I gave it a few more rinses and when he said we were finished, I exited ejector-seat style. I paid my 1800 rupees, we discussed why an American was seeing a dentist in Tamarin, and I was out the door. My teeth were clean, I had been talked through each step with no major harm done, and I saved about $100. The reason to come to Mauritius? Probably not, but I do recommend that every traveler be proactive when it comes to their health and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Ask around for recommendations, check out the office in advance, and make sure you can understand the procedure.
Combining a passion for travel, the desire to make a difference & a love of maps, MaggieMaps was born.
Unless otherwise noted, all prose, poetry, maps and photography posted on this blog are Copyright 2013 Maggie Maps
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