Aug 17 2011
Gangs of Westerners roam Thailand hunting out affordable plastic surgeons in order to ameliorate, elevate or eradicate various bits and bobs about their person, and the land of smiles is a top destination for cheap dental surgery too. Of course, the idea of seeking out dentistry in Cambodia while actually conscious and in control of one’s destiny is an absurd one — or so you’d think, but things do change.
Reports kept coming back of a dental surgery in Siem Reap where foreigners were braving root canal work and crowns and all kinds of weird, wonderful and terrifying things. No-one had been taken to with a rusty pliars, or had an eye taken out with that horrible pokey, scratchy thing, so it was rumoured. Naturally, the reports were at first greeted with a good deal of skepticism, but finally it had to be tried, and the experience was an utterly horrible one – just like going to the dentist at home.
The surgery is called Pachem, and it’s on Charles de Gaulle Avenue, on the road that leads towards Angkor Wat. It’s not possible to recommend somewhere based on third party reports alone so I went for a scaling, polish and bleaching and I’ll tell you how much it all cost later. In the meantime, as you would expect at home, the surgery is immaculate, the receptionists speak English and, comfortingly on purpose I’m sure, the first thing you see is a very equipped looking sterilisation room.
The three dentists who work out of the surgery have been trained in Phnom Penh and Malaysia, and the new and modern equipment comes from Japan. I’m only Irish, it should be said, and not American. It wasn’t that long ago in Ireland that all a model needed to make it to the top of her field was a full set of her own teeth, so it’s possible that state-siders might dimly recall the same equipment from their own trips to the dentist in the 70s, but from where I come from it looks modern and up to date.
The service was prompt, polite, efficient and professional — in fact that bit was much better than going to the dentist at home, where service providers tend to look at their customers in the same way most people would regard a rat’s leg in their sandwich. I had a short chat with the dentist, who listened and then professionally carried out the work as requested, without trying to sell me porcelain veneers. He didn’t talk to me about his golfing weekend while I sat there with a gob full of pink paste unable to yawn either – so that bit was better than the dentist at home too, come to think of it.
The next bit, the scaling, was the same screechy horror it always is. I tried to push myself physically into the comfy leather chair I was reclining on like I always do, and she very patiently kept going, making that awful noise with the sonic scaler, frightening me and my teeth to death. Of course, one of the nice things about Cambodia is that everyone is so much gentler here than at home. So, yes, that bit was slightly better too.
It’s a broad-service surgery, offering dentistry, orthodontics and periodontics. For simple matters like cleaning and bleaching, it’s hard to go wrong, especially when compared to the prices at home. It’s as well to know they’re there for emergencies too so, for example, a temporary crown is only $5.50. More permanent crowns start at $139, a big drop from the costs at home. Root canal work ranges from $35 to $68, and fillings from $8 to $19, though up to $300 for a gold one if you’re feeling trashy.
The decision on whether to go through with these procedures would have to be based on your own determination following a consultation with the dentist. For the simple procedures above though, a scaling and polishing will only set you back $15, nothing compared to the cost at home, whereas the home bleaching kit was a snap at $99. Now, say “Cheese!”
Pachem Dental Clinic
242 Mondul, Siem Reap District
T: (063) 96 53 33; (013) 83 83 03
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