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seeking dental care at Mahidol University

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Some members of my wife's family are in need of extensive dental treatment.  We priced out various treatment plans at the private clinic where we have our regular dental care, but it was very expensive.  So, we went to Mahidol University School of Dentistry which maintains a clinic open to the public.  I was very impressed.  The system is well-organized and efficient.  It took about two hours to get them registered, reviewed for medical problems, and then forwarded upstairs to a dentist who would perform essentially a triage function resulting in a referral to a specialist who will develop a treatment plan.  The visit to the triage dentist was a trip.  We went up to the second floor into a warren of cubicles each one of which had a dentist, a dental assistant, and a patient stretched out receiving treatment.  There must have been twenty such cubicles in this area.  Our dentist was an older lady who was working away very efficiently without wasting any motion, but who was quite cheerful and friendly.  She seem intrigued with me, understandably so since mine was the only white face in the place.  She asked me where I was from, how old I am, etc., etc., even though I was not the patient.  She explained that she teaches at the School of Dentistry all week and is available in the clinic only on Mondays, but invited us to contact her if we had any questions on the case in the future.


There were two options for treatment. The first option is treatment by a dental student, presumably under the supervision of a licensed dentist.  The wait for that treatment would "in years."  The second option is treatment by a faculty member at a somewhat higher cost, which is what we chose.


As it turns out even under this option there is a waiting list for appointments.  We scheduled the appointment with the specialist for one family member in January and in February for the other.  It may be that the schedule for actual treatment once we decide on a treatment plan will involve further delays.  So, this option would not work for tourists in Thailand only for a short time.


And the price is right.  Total cost for today's consultation was 250 baht per patient.  All in all, I found it impressive that the University is at least partly setup to provide low-cost, high quality treatment for Thai people on a large scale.  My wife remarked that many of the waiting clientele looked like they had come in from the provinces for care.  To me this is what medical care should be: accessible, cheap, tidy, if not luxurious, and high-quality.  If I needed major treatment I would go there in a minute.


The US could learn a lot from Thailand.  

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I've been there many times. An due to get x-rays for an implant next month, done by a university staff member. He removed my badly broken molar without any discomfort at all. Thought he may have a problem with it as most of the tooth above the gumline was gone. Yes the queues are very long - usually 2-3 months between appointments. I did start some root canal work there but had to finish it at a local clinic (and ge the crown done) because the tooth was starting to break away (due to the long wait period). 

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