Helplessly Mute: A Trip to the Dentist

“Blessed are they who hold lively conversations with the helplessly mute, for they shall be called dentists.”
― Ann Landers

We’ve been searching for professional and trustworthy dentists in Nicaragua for three years. Finally, after excellent recommendations from several friends in Granada, Nicaragua, we found the perfect couple to attend to our dental needs.

Ron had major teeth problems and I needed a thorough cleaning. So, we contacted Dr. Erwin Esquivel Chavez through an email for an appointment. He responded the same day and set up appointments for our dental exams.

IMG_3759Meet the dentists: Dr. Erwin Esquivel Chavez and his wife Dra. Ximena Urbina Ordoez
Website: Clinica Dental Esquivel-Urbina
Office Phone: 2552-0664
The oral surgeon,Dr. Gilberto Martinez, aka TITO,
comes every Friday.
IMG_3760Dental Tourism is growing in Nicaragua. Dr. Erwin specializes in oral rehabilitation and implants. His wife, Dra. Ximena specializes in root canals.

State of the art dentistry at its best. Modern, sterilized equipment is provided for every procedure.
IMG_3762Gentle care: Dr. Erwin cleaned my teeth for over 1 and 1/2 hours. He took 5 x-rays and showed them to me immediately on his computer screen. He stopped often to ask if I felt any sensitivity. When my fingers started playing Fredric Chopin’s Polonaise (over the stereo system), he stopped suddenly, concerned that I was in pain. “Not at all,” I said, “I used to play this on the piano.” He was impressed…lol…because it is an extremely difficult piece to learn.
Ron had five teeth extracted by the oral surgeon. Next, he has to decide whether to get implants or partials. Where else can one sit in the office, watch the step-by-step extraction with a detailed explanation of everything in fluent English, and receive HUGS after it is over?


I asked the dentists if they are required to have liability insurance or malpractice insurance and they said that Nicaragua doesn’t have anything like that. So, the savings are passed down to the patients.
1. Teeth cleaning: $45
2. 9-10 x-rays:     $100
3. tooth extraction: $60
4. Ron had 5 teeth extracted, injections to numb his mouth, and stitches: $300 for all of his dental work.
5. Antibiotics and pain pills  $15
total: $460 for both of us
If he wants implants, they will cost $1,200 each for everything. For a partial denture: $300
Nicaragua is generally a cash only society, and the dentists were no exception.

If these same procedures were done in Tennessee, I calculated the cost using this website:
Dental Cost Calculator in the United States

1. Teeth cleaning     $84.71
2. single x-ray          $17.34                 for 10 x-rays    $170.34
3. Tooth extraction   $ 126.82             each additional tooth  $131.87
for 5 teeth  $ 654.30
4. Initial surgical consultation    $84.71
5. antibiotics and pain pills        $80

total:  $1,074.06

One Implant Placement:  $2,407.31
Partial Denture:                $1,544.97

We could have shopped around for a good dentist that would have been considerably less money. For example, Ron went to a dentist in Rivas and had a tooth removed. It cost $25. But, for the comfort, sterile environment, modern equipment, and dentists who speak fluent English, it was worth the extra money. They were wonderful and I would recommend these dentists to anyone seeking dental procedures. In fact, after our first appointment, we stopped at a main street cafe…a very touristy area. Two groups of people overheard us talking about the dentists and came over to our table to ask us more questions. Did I ever tell you how much we love Nicaragua…even when we are helplessly mute!

Also, see my new friend’s blog article Holes in the Head about her experience with these dentists.

18 thoughts on “Helplessly Mute: A Trip to the Dentist

  1. My daughter recommended a Managua Dentist Dr Carlos Aleman of Centro de Diseno Dental. I flew there from Naples. Florida. He did a dental implant, a root canal, and a filling. He Is now my dentist of choice. He specializes in implants and teaches in English at Universidad Americana, Managua. Teaches other dentists how to do implants. My dentist in Naples wanted to pull two teeth and do three implants. Dr. Carlos was terrific. I saved thousands of dollars and I had a vacation. He has a staff with all the specialists you would need. His clinic is near the Canadian Embassy. I stayed at the world class Holiday Inn nearby.
    He speaks English fluently

  2. I had an acute pain from mechanical trauma of the gum and I went to these dentists after reading your review. My impression was that they were only after the money. First of all they insisted on doing a full check up even though I had a very specific punctual problem. Then they checked my issue and suggested a treatment course that would run $900 and that required two weeks of time (which I didn’t have in Granada). They said nothing else would ease my pain bar painkillers. I had the impression they wanted to avoid doing any real work and only wanted to collect their check up fee. Moreover particularly Dr Erwin treated me with obvious disgust. I went to a local pharmacy and got a cheap anti-inflammation mouth rinse which solved my issue. What a waste of time!

    • If you know so much about dentistry, why don’t you just fix everything yourself? I’m a dental hygienist and your comment seems like that of an uninformed (but thinks he is) patient.

      • Not only did I fix my punctual problem with the cheap anti-inflammation mouth rinse, as I mentioned in my comment. I also later went to qualified dentists in other countries who made a full proper check-up and found the diagnosis made by these so-called ‘dentists’ pretty ridiculous. I, for one, am convinced that they are specialising in selling overpriced and unnecessary treatments to unsuspecting rich foreigners.

  3. aye, I’m one of those who have a phobia about dentists, at least I thought I did until I realized it was all about the dental hygienist . So glad you found a great dental team there. We’re looking, John needs a lot of work done I(teeth pulled and dentures) . I generally wait until I’m in extreme pain then I go to get the offending tooth yanked out.
    Hope you and Ron feel better soon. I recommend the partials , heard of so many people having problems with implants and that was back in US.

    • I don’t think they have dental hygienists here. I’ve never seen one, only dentists. John’s teeth sound like Ron’s. They were a mess. I’m so glad he finally had them removed because they were causing him so much pain. Ron will probably go with the partials, mainly because of the cost. He would need 7 or 8 implants. At $1,200 for each…that’s a huge amount of money. It would probably be beneficial for someone who only needed 1 or 2 implants and was much younger. Ron wants to outlive his teeth. lol

      • Then Ron should get dentures that can be attached to implants and easily removed for cleaning. They will also function much better.

  4. Pingback: Holes in the Head, cont’d: Medical Tourism – The Real Deal! - North of 60-Further South

  5. Um, I’m one of the “masses of baby-boomers” heading towards Nicaragua! It’s nice to find that others are also benefiting from the expertise and kindness of these dentists in Granada. They are among those recommended in Helen Korengold’s ebook “Medical Tourism in Nicaragua”, which is where I found their names. Because I was looking for someone specializing in implants who was based in Granada, Drs. Esquivel and Urbina were the perfect choice. I hope Ron is feeling perkier soon and that it won’t be too long before he has his smile back!

    • Thanks, Cedelune. I had no idea there was a book out called Medical Tourism in Nicaragua. I’ll have to look for it. These dentists are the shiny jewels of Granada. They are so cute and very friendly, too. Ron is feeling better everyday. Thanks for your kind words.

  6. I am happy to read this. I will be in Managua and have appointments with several dentists on Nov 1 because I need one or two implants. They charge about $1500 I thought this was only available in Managua. Last winter I had an implant done in Spain and it only cost $1600 for everything, the USA is very over-priced. Thanks Debbie! PS Ron looks so cute in the chair! lol

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