In June 2020 I was informed that I had 2 teeth that had “blown up.” I needed a root canal retreated in one tooth, and the other needed to be extracted and an implant put in place. While I was relieved to figure out what was going on with my teeth these are ‘big ticket’ procedures that were going to cost me. What alternatives were out there, other than an endodontist and/or oral surgeon in the US, in the middle of COVID?
While Ecuador is not Peru, I had been to Ecuador a couple of times so I knew the drill about travelling to that corner of the world, and I had been looking for a reason to visit Peru but COVID put that idea on ice. But now things had changed, maybe Peru was an option. A quick search on the web came up SurgeryinPeru at the top of the list, some poking around came up with their dental services. The description of their services had the right buzz words so I chanced an email… I got a reply back the next morning from Lloyd Hannis, SurgeryinPeru, the email had the numbers that I needed and provided their strategy for the procedures that I wanted. It felt like an easy fit and I was glad that I was able to connect with these folks.
So this was (is) ‘dentistry in a time of COVID’, not quite the same but that’s ok, nothing was moving, certainly not in Peru. I was able to get inexpensive plane tickets even though I had no idea when Peru was going to open up. Fortunately, LATAM said that rescheduling wasn’t a problem, even offered a refund without penalty if that was needed. I rescheduled twice as LATAM cancelled flights for an opening that didn’t happen, which was fine. I just had these teeth that needed to be taken care of and Peru had boiled down to the best opportunity to deal with them. Through this period, 4 months, Lloyd kept in touch, feeding me updates on changing travel restrictions, domestic/international flights and the resumption of services.
Finally, Peru opened up. I booked my flight, again, and my plane left the ground on Nov. 5. Lloyd had connected me with a couple that has been providing room and board, and transportation, for SurgeryinPeru clients for the last 10 years. When my plane touched down at LIM the next morning, Alfonso was waiting for me as I walked out the door. He whisked me through traffic (maybe ‘whisked’ isn’t quite the right word) and delivered me to my dental appointment… My teeth were clearly my top priority and the idea of getting off my plane and sitting down in the dentist chair was just right.
1st impressions: as we drove up the building looked professional, a bit of a step up from the normal drab brown of very large Latin American cities; underground parking, which was nice; walking into the front office it was clean and modern… I didn’t pick up any ‘uncomfortable’ sensations; a nice walk-through of the procedures and what to expect from Lloyd, and my card worked without a problem; they dressed me up, smock, booties and walked my back into the dental area. In back I saw up to date hardware and great imaging and the operating areas were actually spacious. My endodontist/oral surgeon, Dr Daniel Yuen, was (is) intelligent, clearly versed in the trade, well-travelled and had an excellent command of English, which was good. Lloyd Hinnis also has an excellent command of English, confirmed from our emails and our conversation that morning.
Daniel used the imaging to walk me through the issues that my teeth were having, which I already knew about but from a different perspective, and the procedures that were to follow. He was reassuring, too, “you have plenty of bone for the implant…” His technical skill set made quick work of my two teeth, even with my squirming.
My procedures were done before I knew it. Alfonso and Emma were waiting in the lobby and transported me to their flat in Miraflores, Lima’s tourist mecca. The flat is simple but very comfortable, and only a kilometre of so from the beach… I was fed and subsequently collapsed in my private room for some much needed rest. Here is a certain metric to size up the success of my procedures: pain. While I was still pretty sedated when I went to sleep I woke up later in the evening with a certain soreness in my mouth, “where did this come from?” I simply doubled up my pillows and laid on my back. I was back asleep in a couple of minutes. I never felt any more pain after that single event even after I finished my anti-inflammatories. I think that is a good sign.
I was scheduled to return in ~2 weeks for a crown on my root canal and to have the sutures taken out. I finished up my meds in a few days with nothing to report, and now it was time to take a drive around freshly opened Peru. Off I went, it was a good trip: everything was squeaky clean, I had most of the places that I stayed to myself, no crowds, folk were glad to see me walk in and I usually got a nice discount, too. With no crowds, I didn’t have to worry about mingling or second-hand air. Peru is an interesting place, I enjoyed my travels.
But back to Lima I went for my follow up appointment. The sutures came out and I got a 3D scan for my crown on the root canal and a few minutes later their CNC mill was carving up a piece of ceramic into the crown. 20 minutes later the crown was in place with a really nice fit. A day later I was back at the airport heading home. I return in 3 months for my crown on the implant…
I have had oral surgery before so I am familiar with the way things go. If I were to rate my experience at SurgeryinPeru would say that it exceeded any expectation. I look forward to a return trip.