When we set out on our 1-2 year adventure to Spain, we had no idea we would keep on going. Nor did we ever imagine we would be living in Southeast Asia with budding tweens. And with that comes changing bodies and teeth! About 6 months ago, we decided to go ahead and begin orthodontic treatment in Spain for Lars.
We were informed he would need to wear an upper and lower retainer for about 18 months prior to wearing braces. This is to align his lower jaw and bring it forward a bit. Since he was soon to be 12 years old, we wanted to be sure we started the process while his jaw was still growing.
At the time, we were aware of our travels to Southeast Asia and informed the Orthodontist too. We just figured we would find places along the way for Lars to have a quick check up. The orthodontist in Spain provided us with all of the necessary paperwork, photos and description of the treatment plan.
Once we settled in Chiang Mai, we knew it couldn’t all be fun and games. We visited the Elephant Nature Park, waterfalls, and loads of street markets. Now it was time we find an Orthodontist. I remembered spotting one, while on our search for rentals in Chiang Mai. I walked over to their place a few times and they were closed. There were several dentists in the neighborhood, so I started inquiring there. Each and everyone referred me to the one Orthodontist that seems to always be closed.
Finally, one rainy afternoon, I made one last stop by the Orthodontist. They were open! I found out they are only open from 4:30pm – 7:00pm. Go figure! I made an appointment for Lars for the following afternoon. Appointment made!
Our visit to the Orthodontist in Chiang Mai
Lars and I walked there the following day and I think we were both a little nervous. I was hoping language wasn’t going to be a problem and I am sure Lars was hoping he wasn’t going to be tortured. As we approached the front entry there were pairs shoes lined up nice and neatly on either side of the door.
Standard custom is to remove your shoes before entering a business. If you want to know when to do this vs. not…just look for shoes at the front door.
Lars and I remove our shoes and enter into the sleek modern lobby, with AC, fountains and white leather couches. While I filled out the required paperwork, Lars kept looking around amazed. “This place is so modern and nice.” It wasn’t what we were expecting at all. I of course visited the day prior, so I knew it was nice.
We turned in our paperwork and there we are sitting on a cool leather couch with a fluffy rug on the floor, in our bare feet! After about 10 minutes or so, they called us upstairs for our appointment. We were guided by the receptionist to the back stairs and up we went, in our bare feet!
We were greeted at door number 4 and entered into the spotless, spacious and beautiful examination room. I wish I took photos! Lars hopped into the reclining chair and couldn’t get over how nice and modern everything was. We also had a good laugh about him being longer than the reclining chair, at 12 years old. This place wasn’t meant for tall Americans.
Side Note: Apparently many foreigners come to Thailand specifically to have dental work done. Top notch work for a very small price.
The orthodontist and 2 assistants came out to greet us. Her English was absolutely perfect! Phew. She reviewed our paperwork from Spain and stated she agrees with the treatment, but she likes to be a bit more aggressive. She wants to see faster results and gave us an expedited plan to follow. She also provided us with a key to make adjustments to the upper retainer at least once a week.
We agreed with a plan and off we went back down to reception, in our bare feet. I had no idea how much this was going to cost. I never did ask, because we need to do this regardless of the price. It was time to pay. I was hoping it would not be any more expensive than it was in Spain. In Spain we paid 40 Euros a visit ($55). She told me the price, in perfect English, yet I had to ask her to repeat it again. She said it was 400 Baht ($12.50)! What?! Seriously? We were in with the Orthodontist for about 30 minutes and you want to charge us 400 Baht ($12.50)? Okay by me!
I quickly paid, hoping there was no mistake. We made an appointment for 6 weeks out and we were on our way.
Finally time to put our shoes on!
It rained while we were in the office! UG!
Well, it was time for us to put our wet shoes on.
Lesson: When removing your shoes upon entering a business, place them under cover!
I’m glad we are covered for the next few months while in Chiang Mai. Now that we have a key to adjust the retainer on our own, it will be easier for us. We will see what the next year holds for us. Now, on to the eye doctor next.