Dental Follow up in Panama

The tale of continuing dental woes is not very exciting, which I consider to be an entirely good thing!

I went for the implant on Thursday. Our neighbor’s friend was leaving at the same time we were, going to the same general area, so she gave us a ride. We’d planned on getting there an hour early, to allow time for detours or bus mishaps, but with direct transportation, we were there TWO hours early. So, we decided to stop into Arrocha, a big, upscale(ish) department store in David. I thought perhaps I’d pick up a refill on my Loreal foundation, but changed my mind when I saw the price — 90% more than what I pay in the States! For that big of a difference, I can wait a month, until we do our autumn whirlwind tour of Palm Beach/Philly/Indiana. I found the same sort of price difference in all of the cosmetics and skin care brands I recognize. I guess I need to find some local brands to switch to.

Afterwards, we meandered over to the office, probably a 15 minute walk. The traffic in David is quite a bit different from in Boquete, and with very few traffic lights, we had to be alert to avoid getting squished.

Once at the dental office, everything went smoothly. First of all, the woman in the office who deals with the English speaking patients is charming. Her English is “bastante” (sufficient) and she was sweet about addressing my nervousness. Dr. Halphen also speaks English well, and was conscientious about addressing my agitation without being condescending. Because I was so nervous, I opted to have an anesthesiologist rather than just Novocaine. It upped the price by 10%, but was well worth it to keep my dental fears under control. The anesthesiologist Dr. Halphen brought in was Dr. Thompson, who  works with Operation Smile, a non-profit group that does cleft palette surgeries for children. (, a very reputable organization.)  His  English was perfect, his “chairside manner” was calming, just what I needed, and he explained everything that was going into the “cocktail” (an IV in my hand) he used to sedate me. I forget the names now, but at the time, they sounded familiar, like what they use when you have a colonoscopy. I woke up in the chair an hour or so later, no drooling, bleeding,  pain,  or memory of the procedure. Mark was waiting for me in the waiting room, and friends of ours picked us up and took us home.

I have been following the post-op instructions very carefully, including taking the pain medication (Enanthyum, a non-narcotic pain reliever, like a super Advil), using ice as prescribed and “No hace ejercicios hasta que los puntos”. (Don’t exercise while I have stitches!) I’m pleased to report no real pain, just minor discomfort. Unfortunately, sleeping was a problem, but that was mostly because am not supposed to lay on the side of my face that had the surgery.

This is MUCH less stressful and traumatic than I remember from my last experience. There’s more work to be done to complete the implant procedure, but this was the only part that is considered “surgical”.  If anyone in the David area is considering this procedure, so far, Dr. Halphen and team get a big “thumbs up”!