The State of Chinese Private Practice Dentistry

While I was in Beijing, I wanted to get my tooth looked at. If you have been reading my blog regularly, you’ll remember that I chipped it in Lhasa. I asked Elyse if she knew of anyplace good. She gave me their name, but said that they were closed for the New Year and wouldn’t open until Monday — 2 days before we were hoping to leave. Monday we were going to visit the Great Wall — a trip that usually takes around 8 hours because of the horrible transportation to the part we wanted to see, so I was going to have to go to the dentist on Tuesday.

On Sunday night, the epoxy that the doctor in Lhasa had applied came out when I was eating at Pizza Hut. So I was broken for a couple of days, but I was good about brushing and rinsing so that nothing got stuck in the hole (picture). On Tuesday, I tracked down King’s Dental and caught a cab up there.

I knew immediately that I was out of my league, as this was the nicest dentist’s office I’d ever seen. The pleasant receptionist greeted me and informed me that the next day was the earliest I could have work done. I explained that I’d be headed to Mongolia and asked if there was any way it could be earlier. She said that I could get a cleaning done that day, but that wouldn’t have solved my problem. I asked to speak to a dentist to get their opinion and she motioned for me to have a seat in the waiting area, which looked more like a restaurant. She brought me some kind of rasberry flavored tea which was quite good.

In a few minutes, I was greeted by a young woman who spoke very good English. I explained my problem and showed her the affected tooth. She said that it would probably be OK until I got back from my trip if I were only going to be away from Beijing for a few days. So I had to explain that I wasn’t coming back and it’d be over a month before I’d be able to see a real dentist again. She agreed that something should be done and that she’d see if she could find someone to take care of it. Shortly she returned and said that it was alright, I could have work done. I was relieved.

The fee to see the dentist was 200 Yuan (~$25). I went back and sat in the nicest dentistry chair that I’ve ever seen, surrounded by some of the most modern technology that there is to be had. In the waiting area, I’d read a writeup about the dentist’s office that said they were trying to bring Beijing dentistry into the 21st century. They succeeded. The dentist poked and prodded and poked some more. She explained that I’d need to have it drilled out and filled in again properly. They had two options, one is a plastic like the one that I’d gotten in Lhasa, but probably better, the other option was to have them make a replica of the part I’d lost from ceramic right there on the spot. The ceramic option was 2500Y, the plastic 600Y. I figured that I might need more work on the tooth when I got back to the US, so I opted for the cheaper patch.

She began drilling with very clean and precise instruments, something that the dentist in Lhasa did not have to work with. After about 20 minutes, she was done and began the process of applying and setting the epoxy. During the entire procedure she took photographs for the records. After the epoxy had set up, she began shaping it and did an excellent job (picture). It feels nearly identical to my other tooth. She explained that I shouldn’t eat or drink anything too hot for about a week to allow the epoxy to completely set. I agreed, paid, and left.

On the whole of it, 800 RMB (just over $100) isn’t bad, considering the quality of care the I received. I’d gladly go to King’s Dental if it were in the US. In fact, if I were staying a few more days in Beijing, I would have gotten a cleaning and possibly even ceramic veneers put on. The prices were very reasonable, and the quality excellent.

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Posted on March 5, 2007, in China, Round the World and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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