My experience at Bangkok Dental Care, another dental holiday

For all y’all just tuning in, I’ve elected to have my dental work done in Bangkok,Thailand this time. The majority of my dental work was done in Chiang Mai (HERE’s the post about that experience). This time, I didn’t go to Chiang Mai because the general consensus was that the process would need 3 weeks and I can’t be in Chiang Mai because I really wanted to meet the guys and gals behind Travelfeed.io and other travelfeeders (which was totally worth it) and to check out Steemfest as well. Oh well, another chance for me to step outside my comfort zone and have a stranger muck around in my mouth, YAY, NOT!

Bangkok Dental Care is located on the top floor in Century The Movie Plaza, right beside On Nut BTS station. There’s even a connected walkway into the 2nd floor of the mall from the BTS station. My first impression was that it looked decent and well lit but in a mall so the prices may be higher but I didn’t find that was the case after doing some Googling so I went in to inquire about getting partial dentures done and they fit me in so they could have a look and advise me on costs etc. The dentist could speak English well enough to explain to me the procedures and differences between the different types of dentures although a bit labored at times or maybe I was just asking stupid questions like “would I get a refund if it turns out I’m allergic to the metal” or “if they had a test metal strip I could put in my mouth” haha. The answer was ‘no’ to both questions so I decided to go home and do some more research before committing but I couldn’t. As luck would have it, it was a Monday and the dentist who does dentures is only there on Monday’s so I made an appointment for later that afternoon.

I get to my appointment on time and had to wait about thirty minutes. I’m thinking ok, not so bad since I am kind of last minute rushing things. So it’s finally my turn and I’m asked to go in but before I do I have to take off my shoes and wear the provided slippers. Kinda normal here in Thailand so no big deal. So here I am sitting in the dentist chair waiting and waiting and well you get the idea. I sat there looking around for about 45 minutes. A lot of time to notice things like spots on the wall that I thought they were roaches but they weren’t. Maybe lizard droppings? I couldn’t tell. I also noticed the equipment was dated and lots of saran wrap used to cover things. Then I saw a drip pan made from a re-purposed water bottle. I hope it was a drip pan cuz it was hooked up to that mouth rinse thing. So now I’m having second thoughts and asked one of the dental assistance, who happened to be walk by, how much longer I’d have to wait. Of course she didn’t know and went to go ask. Well, at least the dental chairs are all in their own little room connected by a “back corridor” so if I was to get up and leave no one would see, oh wait, I’d have to get my shoes. Hahaha.

Anyways, the dentist comes in 10-15 minutes later and we get started. She had to make notches or something in my teeth for the partial denture clips to grab hold of as well as to make a mold of my teeth. I don’t know if she was mad at me for rushing her (just kidding she and all the staff are quite friendly) but she felt heavy handed. Maybe I’m over thinking / reacting but the corner of my mouth did crack/tear a bit. Granted the weather is different than what I’m used to and my lips were dry and cracking so the tugging sure didn’t help. NOTE: I’m not blaming the dentist for ripping my mouth and it’s not like I Look like The Joker or anything. I’m just recounting my adventure and sharing my thoughts.

After the session I felt kinda violated, I can feel the dents and grooves on my teeth with my tongue and quite unhappy about it since I don’t have too many original and intact ones left. Oh well, life goes on. A week later, here’s my brand spanking new partial metal dentures!

This time around, the dentist was still kinda rough but was very patient with me when I complained my bite was uneven. She had to adjust/modify the dentures several times and then some. After that came the denture care counseling and stuff where I got a free “tupperware” to store my dentures in, bonus! Haha.

After wearing my dentures for the week (HERE’s the post about it) was painful even the putting on and taking off. Which was fixed in my “after care” appointment. Now 2 weeks after first putting them on, there is absolutely no pain from putting them on or taking them off or from eating.

OH, the few times I was there I noticed that a lot of the clients were foreigners so don’t worry about the English language barrier, they’ll understand you just fine. The total cost I paid was $12,000 Baht (over 4 visits), If you shop around more than I did, especially the less touristy looking clinics you may find the services a bit cheaper but even at this price, it’s still cheaper than what I was quoted in Singapore. I would still recommend checking them out if you’re in need of dental care while in Bangkok because I’m completely satisfied with the work done for me.

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What it’s like wearing my new metal partial dentures

What a weird topic to post about, right? To coincide with Steemfest I decided to get my dentures done in Bangkok, since I already have accommodations in Bangkok it was cheaper to have my partial dentures done in Bangkok rather than in Chiang Mai where I had all my previous dental work done. Yup, it’s all about cost cutting. Anyways, if you’re interested in a dental holiday, consider coming to Thailand. HERE’s my post about my dental work done in Chiang Mai. My last dental appointment/checkup in Bangkok is next week so the post regarding the clinic will be forthcoming.

Now the point of this post is to try and help anyone who is thinking about or about to get partial dentures but even after reading loads of stuff on Google, is still unsure about what it’s going to be like . . . Here’s my experience, hope it helps!

I’ve never had dentures before and had to Google the pros and cons of partial dentures before deciding to get the metal one as opposed to a fully acrylic one. I know it looks kinda gross, but it’s hard to explain without seeing it.

After agreeing the consultation and my agreeing for service, the dentist started making grooves / attachment points on my existing teeth then makes molds of my upper and lower teeth. So those metal hook looking things are what’s going to ‘clip’ onto my teeth to hold the dentures in place. It doesn’t look very secure but it fits snugly and securely because on the other side the acrylic is molded so your gums sit snugly in the groove. I haven’t had my partial dentures fall out or become dislodged yet and I can’t dislodge them using my tongue.

So it’s been 5 days since I’ve had my partial dentures fitted and frankly, it kinda sucks. The first day it was just a weird feeling and I found myself speaking a bit weird although everyone said they didn’t notice any speech impairment. It was neither painful nor uncomfortable putting in the partial dentures nor taking them out. The first thing I did after I left the dental clinic was find something to eat. My dentist (as well as everything I read on Google) recommends starting out with soft food so I figured rice with some thinly sliced beef should be ok. Just my luck, I was passing a Japanese restaurant so I ordered a beef don. My dentures wiggled a bit and see sawed if I only chewed on one side. Food seemed to be everywhere in my mouth. Even after swallowing the mouth full of food, it still feels like there’s food everywhere, much like sand in your swim suit. I think it’s because food catches on the ridges of the acrylic (top of the groove) as well as between the metal and the roof of your mouth. Having a glass of water on hand is helpful to rinse your mouth but for me nothing but a full on gargle gets the bits out.  Not something I’d recommend doing in a restaurant. I remember thinking, this feels so weird but at least it’s not painful. Later on, I decided to have McDonald’s for my “midnight snack,” I couldn’t even eat a fry, it was really painful to chew on both sides. So I waited until I got home to eat. After taking out the dentures, I ate my upsized meal without any issues, no soreness or pain anywhere. Weird, right?

Day two…putting on the dentures sucked. There was a slight pinch of pain when the clamps clamp on one particular tooth and I could feel the soreness around that tooth but it quickly went away. Chewing hurts and the pain is contingent on how much bite force I use. I’m pretty sure my denture is not sitting on my gums because with no food in my mouth I can bite down and there’s no pain at all but even biting a Pringles chip causes discomfort depending on how hard I bite. It’s been days now and still the same so I’ve pretty much resigned my self to eating noodles cuz those are the least painful (udon is the best, it’s thick but soft and there’s enough resistance so you can feel the bite and adjust). If I can’t find any noodles then it’s rice.

Having the dentures in my mouth doesn’t feel awkward or unnatural. For me, it’s only the metal bar across the roof of my mouth that I can feel and since the plate is narrow and slim it doesn’t feel like it taking up space. I suppose over time, I wouldn’t even notice it’s there. Does my partial denture make me feel like gagging? No. Although once, on the first day, right after I left the clinic and was waiting for my food, I was using my tongue to ‘fidget’ with the dentures and that brought on a gag reflex. Needless to say, I don’t do that anymore.

The wiggling around of the dentures while chewing can feel disconcerting which is probably why there’s denture glue? At the moment I’ve found that taking smaller bites than normal and trying to chew evenly, as in have food on both sides of my mouth to even out the pressure helps prevent my dentures from wiggling to the point where I wonder if they are going to get displaced. Smaller bites also helps me to remember not to bite so hard. I don’t notice any temperature difference of the metal (or acrylic) when I’m eating hot or cold foods either.

The care and cleaning of my partial dentures is what gives me the most problems, my dentist said, “just soak in water when you take out at night and brush them (regular toothpaste is fine) before you put them back in, in the morning. Also best to take them out and rinse them after each meal.” Yeah, I’m not taking them out after each meal when I’m out but honestly there has been times when I really felt like I needed to. A few discreet gargles solved that problem. There’s so many conflicting info on how to “properly” clean dentures, that I gave up reading and just did what I feel like. My routine is so far is, I take them out, rinse them off with water, (it’s really amazing how much “stuff” I can rinse off. It’s pretty gross, haha). I then brush them (as part of the 2 minute per quarter cycle of my electric toothbrush) then dip them mouthwash (Listerine) for a bit then rinse and store with plain water. In the morning I take them out, rinse with water, then mouthwash, then brush them. Oh I usually use alcohol free mouthwash but I bought the wrong one this time and I don’t really know how big a difference that makes.

Anyways, I figured I’d add my 2 cents in on this topic since I can relate to the apprehension, even though I read up on it and had gotten solid advice from my bro, who’s a dentist. He recommends that I just use the partial dentures but it’s such a pain, literally but it is nice to have a fuller set of teeth though. Anyways, I’m hoping I’ll get used to the pain soon or the the pain will go away, if not, I’m not entirely sure I won’t stop using them.

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Visiting Wat Pho, a top ranked royal temple.

I finally made it to Wat Pho! Although I took a huge detour (which was worth it), I did make it before they closed. If you want read about my “forced” detour to the Grand Palace/Wat Phra Kaew complex it’s in THIS POST, and how I ended up there is detailed in THIS POST. Anyways, back to the subject at hand . . .

Wat Pho is one of the oldest and largest wat complexes in Bangkok (it’s actually comprised of 2 walled compounds dissected by a road). One of the buildings houses one of the largest Reclining Buddha statues in Thailand. Wat Pho is also recognized by UNESCO, has chedi’s which contain Buddha relics and some that contain the ashes of the royal family. On top of all that, Wat Pho is recognized as the first public university in Thailand where the Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School was the first school of Thai medicine approved by the Education Ministry. If that’s not enough, Wat Pho still sells amulets within the temple grounds. I’m a huge fan of UNESCO recognized places and temples with Buddha Relics. If you’re so inclined to believe, it’s said that an amulet’s “power” comes from the temple and monk who made the amulet and the amount of prayer bestowed on the amulet. The higher the “power” of the monk and temple, the better the amulet will be. I’m not a scholar of these beliefs so if I can’t explain it well, my apologies. So to ensure I got an “authentic” amulet I chose Wat Pho’s “gift shop” as opposed to the shops on the streets or even right outside the temples. You’d be hard pressed to find a “better” temple in Bangkok than Wat Pho.

I’m so glad I was able to visit. When I first arrived at the entrance, the first thing I noticed was the line of tuk tuk’s parked on the street, then I noticed the street art vendors who had their goods out even in the drizzling rain. Goods which consisted of amulets, Buddha busts, statues, painting, posters, keychains etc. I thought that was a bit out of place since I’ve seen a lot of billboards trying to prevent the sale and export of such items. Anyways, I ignored the tuk tuk drivers’ touts and went straight into the Wat Pho Complex, found the easy to see ticket booth and paid my $200 Baht entrance fee, which came with a coupon for a free bottle of water. I didn’t immediately see where to redeem the water and stopped looking because I got distracted by the “gift shop” which was right at the ticket gantry a few steps away from the ticket booth. Just thought I’d mention this as there’s more than one entrance/exit. Right outside the gift shop, I think I saw the booth to redeem the water coupon but I got distracted by the entrance to the Reclining Buddha statue which is the main tourist attraction of Wat Pho.

 

The Reclining Buddha statue is by far the biggest reclining statue I’ve seen to date, measuring 150 feet (45m) long. Recline, in this sense context, is Buddha lying on his side with his head propped on one arm. The statue is surrounded by a wooden picket fence that’s far enough away to prevent even the tallest basketball player to reach out and touch the statue (yeah, I have no idea how far away the fence is from the statue) except the feet because the building isn’t long enough. Along the front side, there are little sections for prayer and some sections for viewing/picture taking between the pillars. Along the back are some other artifacts as well as some prayer bowls (a whole row of 108 of them) that you can toss coins into while praying/chanting. You can donate $20 Baht for a plate of coins to drop into the prayer bowls. I don’t know how many coins I was given but I had more than enough coins to put 2 in each bowl. I was fortunate that it wasn’t that crowded when I was there but there was enough people around which made getting pictures a bit of a challenge (plus the pillars were in the way a lot). I can’t imagine how packed it would be if a tour group or two came through, well I can and it’s not pleasant, haha.

I didn’t expect the complex to be as big as it was. I thought it was just he usual chedi, main hall, ubusot type of complex. Yes, I was wrong, there’s a lot more to see. I exit one area only to find myself at the start of another interesting area. I wouldn’t say I got lost but it just seemed like I maze where everywhere I went was something cool to look at or a place where I felt an image to be made, I just had to stop and find it. Unfortunately for me, time was what I didn’t have that day. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get to see 1/2 of the complex, by that I mean literally see it and not “seeing” it creatively. Although I wasn’t rushed by anyone, the closing of gates and such pushed a sense of urgency to find an exit, plus I had no exit strategy to get to my dinner appointment, which I ended up being almost 2 hours late for (transportation issues posted HERE if you wanna read about it, lol). I’m really wanting to go back in the evening just before closing, on a nice day to catch the sunset light on the chedi’s, I bet that would be an amazing picture.

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Tiger Street Lab – yummy food and beer

So I was killing time at Singapore’s Changi Airport and was getting hungry so I walked around the newest addition to the airport named “The Jewel” and found “Tiger Street Lab” on the top floor. You probably don’t know but I’m a big fan of beer and Tiger beer is one of my favorites, so finding this joint really made my week!

I thought it was just a bar with snacks but I was wrong. I had a glimpse of their menu, not too many items but enough for a quick light meal. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some merchandise so I went to check ’em out first. There were some t-shirts, hoodies, baseball caps, bags/pouches and other stuff. Pretty cool looking designs but most of the items were, imo, kind of pricey. The décor looked pretty cool, I especially liked the tables and the carved tiger design.

There was a big sign promoting a new beer, Tiger Crystal. It looks good! Yes, I’m a sucker for cool looking marketing on beer containers. So I headed in and got a table. Once seated, I flipped through the menu and saw another Tiger beer that I hadn’t seen before, Tiger Dragon fruit Beer. This draught beer is sold in 1/2 pint or full pint glasses only and only at this location, The Jewel Tiger Street Lab. Well, I figured I can probably get the Tiger Crystal everywhere else so I ordered the Tiger Dragon fruit pint and a side of truffle fries. Dragon fruit is one of my favorite fruits. I prefer the purple ones over the white ones (I’m referring to the inside of the fruit). I’ve seen yellow ones too but haven’t had the opportunity to try those yet. Anyways, my beer is here!

So is my fries. The fries were ok, you can taste the truffle oil on them. The dish comes with a mayo based dip but I asked for ketchup instead. What I got looked like ketchup but it wasn’t tomato ketchup maybe it was banana ketchup, my fault for not specifying. It wasn’t bad tasting or anything I just prefer tomato ketchup. Having a closer look at the menu, I think this place is called ‘Street Lab’ because the food is akin to street food. I was still hungry so I wanted to order some food (not bar, finger food) but the kitchen was closed for meals between 3 and 5 pm (only snack items were being served). I don’t know why but I saw a coffee spare rib dish and I really wanted to try it but It was only 3:30pm. So I decided to wait and opened up my laptop to do some “work” while I waited, all the while enjoying my beer and fries.

So 5 pm rolls around and I order the dish, I smelled it before I saw it and boy did it smell good! Just like waking up to the smell of fresh gourmet coffee, so nice! It tastes as good as it smells, the meat is so tender! After a few pieces, I found it too sweet and savory to eat on it’s own so I asked if they served steamed rice, they didn’t. Although the dish was really yummy, I have to say it was a bit of a chore to finish the last few pieces, lucky the beer did a fantastic job washing it all down. It didn’t taste weird at all, well I didn’t find it weird, haha.

I think the ambiance is as close as you can get to an outdoor street food stall/bar venue without actually being outside. There was plenty of staff and the food came quickly. If you don’t mind paying airport prices for food then go check out the Tiger Street Lab (the beer prices around avg I think). At least you’ll be indoors ample space between tables and air conditioning so strong you may need a light jacket. The airport setting pretty much guarantees there won’t be any hooligans or drunk shenanigans goin on, lol.

If you’re wondering what’s so special about The Jewel at Changi Airport, other than the shopping and eats, it supposedly houses the world’s largest indoor waterfall. I thought the one inside Gardens by the Bay or even the one at the Jurong Bird Park was bigger but anyways this one looks the coolest, by far. I’ll describe the features in a later post but here’s a couple of pics for now.

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My accidental visit to the Grand Palace complex and the surrounding vicinity.

Although I would like to tell you the most efficient and inexpensive way to get to Wat Pho, Grand Palace etc. I can’t. Due to my time constraints as well as there being no BTS station close enough (the closest, on the same side of the river, being Sanam Chai) to walk from I chose to take a Grab taxi. As usual nothing goes exactly as planned (well for me anyways), my plan was to get a Grab taxi to and from Wat Pho, piece of cake, right? I managed to get a Grab taxi pretty easily and quickly from where I was staying (near On Nut BTS) at a cost of $271 Baht which is an acceptable fare if I had been dropped at the correct location.

The journey towards the Grand Palace was relatively quick traffic wise but that all changed when you get close, specifically around the the large oval field. The sight of things was both spectacular and scary. The streets became “managed” as in funneled and directed by gates, barriers and security check posts. Starting from the huge parking lot of tour buses and fences to herd, I mean, direct people in an orderly fashion towards the Grand Palace which is a good 15 minute, mostly uncovered, walk without any crowds.

Having gotten through the traffic choke points, my Grab driver indicated we had arrived so I paid and got out in front of the Ministry of Defense building. If you’re interested in a vast display of cannons, you’ll enjoy the view here. On the opposite side of the road was a wall and behind it I can see the roofs of wat styled buildings. I had a choice go left or right. Since I saw the majority of people going right plus the Grab driver should have dropped me at the closest entry point to my destination (Wat Pho), following the crowd was the correct choice. Well, it turned out it wasn’t (going left would have taken me to Wat Pho). After about a 15 minute walk back from the direction I came including wait time (I had to get into the line that I had passed while in the taxi) I got to the entrance gate. It was here that I realized (after seeing the guards in full military uniform) that I was about to enter the Grand Palace Complex. What else could I do? I was already there, so I went to the ticket counter and paid my entrance fee of $500 Baht and proceeded in. The details of which I’ll put in a separate post.

Oh, unlike the soldiers in front of the Ministry of Defense building, the soldiers at and around the Grand Palace don’t appreciate, like or permit their picture being taken. If you ask they will say, “NO” if you don’t ask and get caught, they will just yell, “NO PHOTOS” at you. I decided not to press my luck so I stopped.

After the Grand Palace, whilst walking around the complex, looking for Wat Pho, I was able to find 2 ferry boarding points, to take you to Wat Arun, (which is another top 5 spot to visit in Bangkok) amongst other places and a historic river side, dried seafood market. Although it was quite interesting to see, the aroma was a bit too strong for my liking and coupled with the fact that I still needed to find Wat Pho, I didn’t explore it. Eventually, I managed to find and enter Wat Pho, but I didn’t find the amulet market. I wish I had more time or had properly planned to visit this area but as luck would have it I didn’t and plus it was raining hard which limited exploration and photo taking. If I had to do it all over again, I definitely would plan a whole day in this area.

Here’s some tidbits of info. Due to the size of the complexes, it could be a long walk between destinations. I didn’t notice many taxis or tuk tuks around but there were a few here and there at the areas with shops around, like the ferry access points. Be wary of the tuk tuks as they will try to tell you of places they think you should go and will probably take you there even if you say, “no.” There aren’t many people walking around this area at night and it’s not that well lit in most places. I’m not sure why, but Grab taxi in Bangkok is not as convenient or efficient as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai or even Singapore. It took me an hour to get into the 4th Grab Taxi I booked as the first three cancelled. Maybe it’s just my luck or lack of it but it would be less stressful for you if have an exit plan.

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