The Pros and Cons of a Honduran Morning

At 8:00 I decided the day was sunny enough to dry a load of wash. Meanwhile Wes was trying to call the dentist to see when we might be able to get 5 people in for our “annual” cleaning, which we’ve been due for for about a year. The local dentist was recommended to us as excellent and trained in the US. Wes came running into the house calling for us to get our shoes on. The dentist was ready to see us right away! A pro of a Honduran morning.  The dentist in Pinalejo was able to squeeze in 5 cleanings that morning!!

It is our desire to pay into the local economy whenever possible, and teeth-cleaning seemed like a safe way to do it. Yeah. That was BEFORE the dentist pulled out his drill to clean our teeth. No, I’m not kidding. A CON of this Honduran morning: we weren’t sure if that was a drill he was using, though it sounded and smelled and FELT like he was using a drill. And then what do you say? And HOW, when your mouth is full of … whatever it’s full of when you are at the dentist?

Well, apparently Wes had his suspicions when he was in, but I figured he was joking or wrong. The kids had all gone after Wes and before me. I had watched the dentist doing Abigail’s cleaning, and he didn’t use a drill. But then it was MY turn. As I sat there with my mouth wide open and some cotton in it, he began to spray something in my mouth – nothing unusual. A little water, right? YIKES!! Is it purified? I can’t see where his tube connects, but it sure SEEMS like it comes right from the wall. He wouldn’t treat his patients with impure water, would he? But wait! The flavor – it had flavor – was sour! It was more like vinegar than water. We have friends who have better water than we do in Pinalejo and they use vinegar to wash their vegetables. So … am I rinsing with vinegar? And out comes another tool. No sharp metal pick. He had just told me that I had a spot on one tooth that needs special care to not turn into a cavity. He got out this thick paper that looked like super-fine sandpaper and gently shoved it between my two front teeth. He sawed back and forth several times and came to the conclusion that I don’t have a cavity. Now saliva spits out when I talk fast!He also used some light that seemed high tech to say that there was not a cavity. He sure SEEMS to know what he’s doing. And then it comes. He pulls out the drill. But it can’t be a drill because he’s going over all my teeth with it! But it sounds like a drill. It feels like a drill. It SMELLS like a drill!! It was a very prayerful experience! And now we are praying that the Lord will restore what the drill has eaten!!! When we got home, I saw that my back molar is a different shape than it used to be! There was nothing wrong with that tooth before, but now it has a little cave in it. And it’s no longer smooth.

As we were leaving, the kids across the street were getting out of school – at 10:30 am! The parents were told they’d be out at noon, so no one was there to pick up the two kids that live on camp. We offered them a ride, but there was no cell signal on camp to let the parents know that we had them. Suddenly one of the kids realized she was supposed to wait with her cousin, so we went back to the school. The little girl was waiting alone, so we called her mom, who left work immediately to pick her up. She had been told school would end at 11:30. So we were off – again! We stopped to get propane, but there was none to be had. Just as we were leaving town, we got a call from one of the staff that they needed flour and Coke. So we went up and down the street trying to find the store where they have credit. We found it, sent their daughter in for the food, and went on our way.

Well, I typed all that as I sat waiting to hear the orthodontist’s opinion on the fate of our teeth!! He didn’t notice anything wrong with the kids’ teeth, though a cavity that the dentist said needed to be filled he says can probably be treated with fluoride treatments and brushing. It’s more like a pre-cavity. And he looked at my teeth. He can see where the enamel was … shall we say buffed? Sanded down? But he doesn’t think there is real damage. With fluoride treatments, I should be okay. OH! And the drill-like thing was NOT a drill … we don’t think. It only smelled like a drill because there was so little liquid running through it. And we’re pretty sure that liquid was mostly vinegar. That’s better than water here!! I just hope it wasn’t watered down! So we were advised not to return to that dentist, which was a conclusion we’d already come to. He’s probably well-educated and able, but doesn’t seem to have all the tools needed to care for teeth. We’ll stick to buying dry goods, fruits and veggies in town and see to our medical and dental needs in the city!!


One response to this post.

  1. Mental Note #1 :: Warn the team not to have any dental issues while in Honduras this summer. 🙂

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