It was time to get our teeth cleaned. Fortunately there are several dental offices in the town of Esteli, Nicaragua. I even had a recommendation from a local friend. Instead of tracking down my friend's dentist (addresses are almost nonexistent in many small Central American towns), I decided to go the convenience route and try the dental office next to our apartment. I stopped by one morning and was initially happy to learn that they could get all of us in that day.
I should have known right then and there. Walk away. Do not make appointments with an office that has day-of availability.
I did not heed the obvious logic. I made an appointment for myself and both kids for later that afternoon.
I arrived back home, happy with my efficiency, and told Ken to go next door and make his own appointment. He looked at me like I was crazy. "No Way! I'll wait for some first hand customer feedback" he told me. He preferred to let me and the kids be the guinea pigs and would book his appointment after he heard how ours went.
At 2:00 PM, the three of us headed next door. There were several locals waiting for the office to reopen after the lunch break. The office staff arrived around 2:20. Since we had appointments, we were brought back to the dental chairs immediately. I think several of the others didn't have appointments and were waiting in line to see the dentist.
I went first. It was a bit old-school, but they did have a nice TV on the ceiling. However, it was never turned on while we got our teeth cleaned. The hygienist did the usual scraping, but it was quick. There was one kind of toothpaste, so forget kid-friendly bubblegum flavored toothpaste. Then, the electronic brushing began.
I could tell she wasn't the most experienced, however I had no idea how bad it was about to get. After a quarter of the brushing was done, I felt an immediate pain under my tongue. It hurt...a lot! I made a loud grogging noise, and she gasped. She started saying, "tranquilo, tranquilo" (translation: calm, quiet) under her breath. In retrospect, I'm not sure if she was talking to me or to herself.
I'm pretty sure I tasted blood. However, she was in there with the water and suction tool and must have sucked it all up.
Finally, I was finished, and I was a mess. I'm still not sure exactly how she did it, but I had toothpaste all over me. She tried to wipe some of it off the area around my mouth, but it was on my eyelids, forehead and even my chest.
I did look for signs of blood and didn't see any. Maybe there was none.
The kids went next. Yes, I still had the kids go. She did a mediocre job, but I didn't expect anything more.
We didn't receive new toothbrushes or any of the other goodies we're used to getting in the States. At $25.00 for each cleaning, I can always buy them myself. We were never flossed either, but they may be a blessing.
When I got home, my tongue was still throbbing. It hurt to move it around too much. I found where she nicked it with the brushing tool. There was a small slash. It took about 36 hours before it was back to normal. Luckily, the mouth heals quickly.
Obviously, Ken has no interest in making an appointment with this particular office. Smart man.