My five dentists

Dr. Silva’s office. My old Honda on the corner yesterday.

As I have three water heaters, I have five dentists.

When I arrived in the state capital more than 21 years ago, among the first things I looked for was a dentist. A Gringo couple I met at the language school recommended a woman dentist, and she was exceptional. Even after moving to my mountaintop town eight months later, I continued with the same dentist until 2014.

Why did I abandon her? She became scandalously pricey. By 2014 she was charging 1,250 pesos for a standard cleaning. That is high today, and it was even more so seven years ago. I asked around, and a friend recommended a dentist named Baltazar Silva. He was charging half the other dentist’s price for a cleaning, and the cleaning was better.

Silva has a woman dentist working for him who does mostly cleanings, and she does better cleanings than anyone I’ve ever encountered in my life. I thought she was a dental hygienist till about two years ago when I heard someone refer to her as doctor. I asked her if she were a dentist. She said yes.

So, a dentist employed by another dentist. I imagine she simply did not have the finances to open her own practice, or she just prefers less hassle in her life, which her own practice would entail.

She’s been working with Dr. Silva for about 20 years, so it’s not a temporary situation.

Coincidentally, the first dentist also employed a dentist, but the employee was young, and I think it was a temporary gig. Above the border, I never encountered a dentist employing another dentist for any reason. Maybe it’s a Mexican thing.

Silva is a tall, good-looking guy and a superlative dentist. In addition to normal upkeep, he’s given me one implant and four to my child bride, all expertly done and reasonably priced. Oddly, however, he does not do root canals. For that, he sends patients to a nearby specialist.

That’s his office in the top photo. Do you notice something strange? That is correct. There is no indication of any sort that it’s a dental office. He is purely word of mouth.

Not even in the Yellow Pages.

My mountaintop dental office where there is a sign.

Truth be told, I’ve long wished for an equally talented dentist in my mountaintop town, purely for convenience, and I’ve tried two or three here over the years, but Silva was always far better.

But a couple of years ago, a cap fell off a tooth, and I walked to a dental office I’d noticed downtown simply to have it glued back on. It was, from the street, a humble looking establishment.

A woman dentist ushered me in, and glued the cap in place. I was surprised at the office because the entrance and tiny waiting room were very misleading. Inside there are three modern work areas and lots of high-tech gear, more than Silva has. There are three work areas because there are three dentists, siblings with different specialties.

The woman and two younger brothers.

They even have their own laboratory in the rear, staffed by one or more technicians, where they make their own dental gear. And the woman dentist, unlike Silva, does root canals.

So I’ve found a local dentist where you sometimes get three for the price of one. She consults with her brothers. I let her do a cleaning once, and it was adequate but not even close to the loony thoroughness of the lady doctor at Silva’s place. So I still drive to the state capital for cleanings.

Plus if I ever need another implant, I’ll return to Silva even though one of the local siblings does implants too. Actually, I would return to Silva for anything big-league. I just have lots of faith in him.

View from inside the waiting room, which is where I was today.

12 thoughts on “My five dentists

  1. The reason the dentist sent you elsewhere is because root canals are performed by dentists with a postgraduate specialty in endodoncia. It takes several years of study after getting a degree in general dentistry. Apparently, Dr. Silva didn’t specialize.


    1. Antonio: Well, of course, he sent me elsewhere because he was not trained to do it. I didn’t think he did it because he found me to be a disagreeable Gringo!


        1. Antonio: Sometimes I make no sense? All of my wives would agree with you. As for why it struck me as odd, my dentist in Texas before moving south did root canals. My first dentist here, the one who priced me out of her office, did root canals. The dentist here in my town does root canals. I’ve almost never encountered a dentist who did not do root canals. And the fact that Dr. Silva does implants, but not root canals, also strikes me as strange. I think that makes a bit of sense.


  2. Doctors and dentists are both very good in Mexico. When I had a root canal done, the dentist had a set of tool boxes, and she traveled to dental offices around the area plying her trade. She was excellent.


    1. Kirk: Well, many medical professionals here are superlative, but not all of them. Some are next to useless, so you have to find the good ones, which is not difficult to do. Interesting approach that itinerate doctor takes with the root canals. Have toolbox, will drill. Smart. She does not have to pay for her own dental office.


      1. I experienced one of the itinerant root-canal specialists in Manzanillo when a molar cracked under a crown. She was determined that she could root out the infection and save the tooth. After a year and 13 visits (each time with an attempted root canal) she ran up the flag. That tooth is now an implant.

        This is the part you will like best. She charged me for only one root canal.


  3. I had a lot of dental work done in a Mexican border town, the ex had even more. Then the dentista somehow got crossways with Narcos and disappeared. He was a really good dentist and a great guy. Trained young dentists, then set them up in business in other parts of Mexico.

    Noticed the two necessary concepts you enforce in this post: back-ups and faith

    Both are really nice to live with.

    Saludos, señor!


    1. Ricardo: I hope that dentist simply moved to another part of Mexico, leaving no forwarding address, and that he’s not pushing up daisies.

      Saludos to you too.


  4. You’re living large, man! When are you going to write about the bling?

    Hehe, cheers,

    Kim G
    Roma Sur, CDMX
    Where I’m not entirely happy with the cleanings I’ve gotten in Ajijic.


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