|Oficina de Dra. Karina Valerio Rodriguez|
local dentists or dental clinics. How do I choose? Some have shiny new offices, speak English and most of their patients are expats and dental tourists – yes, that is what they are called. Americans and Canadians come here to get dental work done at a fraction of the cost in the states even with insurance. And do a little tourism while they are at it! There are many more in San Jose but there are some here. The English-speaking clinics charge a lot more than the local Spanish language dentists. So how do I choose?
I finally got another excuse to see Dr. Candy since I seemed to have bruised my right heel walking around town in sandals. I just walked in without an appointment thinking her assistant could probably help me with both needs, but she was there and I walked right into her office. They check my vitals, feel of my heel and she says I have some inflammation and gives me 7 anti-inflammatory capsules to take one a day for a week then come back in to see her. In two days my heel quit hurting, but I’m taking all the med and will see her next Wednesday. No charge for anything because I am a member of her clinic now at $42 a month. I have unlimited visits with all meds and supplies included and ambulance service. Her assistants are both EMTs and they have their own ambulance. 🙂 I’ll have to get photos and show her office later.
Then I told her that it was time for a dental check up and teeth cleaning. Would she recommend someone? She said, “Sure!” (She treats me like she’s my mother and is quite direct about some things.) “I think you should see Dr. Karinna just around the corner.” That dental clinic is just a half block from Su Espacio where I have my main Spanish lessons and David, my Spanish teacher, was delighted when he learned this. Dr. Karinna is a dentist the locals use and she speaks only Spanish. “And,” he said, “She charges half what the English speakers charge.” David is not only very price-conscious, but is always trying to put me in situations where I have to speak Spanish (like the barber he sent me to). And that might have been part of Dr. Candy’s motivation for the choice. Candy speaks good English but knows I’m studying Spanish and need to learn and use it.
So, I walk down to the dental clinic and walk in, ask for an appointment and get it for the next day at 1:00. It was a delightful experience with only essential communication needed in Spanish, but then one can’t talk much at the dentist anyway! 🙂 A complete checkup (no x-rays) and a very thorough teeth cleaning by the dentist herself in maybe 45 minutes at a total cost of 18,000 colones which at today’s conversion rate is $33.97 USD. Not bad! 🙂 I told her I would return in six months, Retorno en seis meses. So, one more routine is now transferred to my new country and culture! I’m settling in! 🙂 And I got her email address for my Nashville dentist to email her my records. Pretty cool!
Telling more briefly about my new dentist in Spanish on Aprendo Español en Atenas.