My turn with the dentist

I was many months overdue for a cleaning and checkup, so I figured it was my turn to see the dentist. This was accomplished in short order for $30, and cleaning was done by the dentist himself.

I’ve had trouble with my teeth for most of my adult life – gum problems, bone loss, gum surgery, deep cleaning, loss of two back teeth, appointments with the hygienist every 3 months, etc. and even with all that, it’s been a battle to maintain my teeth. If I didn’t brush and floss and water pick religiously, my gums would get irritated and start to bleed.

But, I came to Panama with one suitcase and didn’t have room for the water pick. I hoped I could manage for a month with brushing and flossing. As it turned out, I was without my water pick for much longer than that, but I haven’t had any problems. Since coming here my gums have not felt irritated, have not bled, and seem to be healthy. I brush and floss but not as frequently as before. My visit with the dentist confirmed what I thought. He says my gums look very healthy, my teeth are clean, and all is well.

What is up with this?! Gum disease is caused primarily by bacteria. Is my immune system better here? I have a strong feeling it’s the food. Is it the pineapples and papayas every day? Do they keep my mouth in better condition? Is it the home cooked with fresh ingredients diet? The lack of chemicals and pesticides that I believe permeate the US food supply? I really feel like my health in general is better from this healthy food and lifestyle, so it makes sense that my mouth is also very improved.

Whatever it is, I’m  happy. I’ve always been very healthy except for teeth, so if they are so much better in Panama, this is wonderful news.

I do plan to get some work done though – replace two old silver fillings with white ones on the backs of a couple front teeth. One is already making a tooth look a little dark and he says this will only increase over time. And, I need to get a crown on a tooth that is much more filling than tooth. From what I’ve seen of his work with the rest of the family, I expect this will go well and won’t ruin my budget either.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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5 Responses to My turn with the dentist

  1. I am off today but putting my dental hygienist hat on for you. Just know that placing a composite (white) filling in the back (a molar) is fine and will be pretty, but they last ten years or so. They are great to bond the walls of the tooth together (so if it is large filling, but not large enough for crown yet, then perfect). They just don’t hold up to the forces as well as the old amalgams (silver) do. I would put a composite in in a heartbeat. I just wanted to make sure you knew the longevity and what they can and cannot withstand. As far as periodontal health, you are probably more rested, relaxed, less stressed, taking time with oral hygiene, immune system is up, and the foods you are eating most likely have lots to do with it also! Keep it up!


    • I just re-read that you are replacing silver in the BACKS of the front teeth. Okay, ignore the first half of that post (or it will be info for others)–definitely change those out. Those must have been placed when! And why hasn’t anyone changed them out before! I know insurance dictates in the States and lack of time and if they weren’t showing through, then why bother!


  2. kristc99 says:

    Don’t put your work hat on when you have a day off! But thanks, I appreciate your input 🙂 Yes, we are changing silver for white in the front teeth, and we are changing silver for a crown in a back tooth. I’ve been told for over two years that it’s only a matter of time before it breaks, so it’s living on borrowed time. I’ve had the silver in the front teeth for so long I can’t remember when they were put in. I had so much other expensive work that needed to be done I’ve been doing it little by little over the last 4-5 years, 3 crowns, replaced some cracked fillings, extracted two back teeth, etc. plus 4x/year cleanings, x-rays, couple scaling and deep cleanings, it just never seemed to end so I’m thrilled things are looking so much better. If I knew what I know now though, I would have come here for all that dental work!
    Now go back to enjoying your day off!


  3. Anonymous says:

    This is so great to hear…and yes, stress increases systemic inflammation including the gums….Michael’s step father needs deep cleanings and 7crowns p,us root canals, and is a diabetic. I’m going to email your dentist and he wants to fly down for his work there based on what you have been saying. He can’t pay $18k for 7 root canals, posts, and crowns…..I can only work a miracle here for cleanings and one tooth…so Panama is the answer for him for the other 6. I’m glad to keep hearing about your positive experiences 🙂


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