Nicaragua – A Tooth Story

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Dear Friends,
This post is not about food or restaurants or other culinary related Items you’d usually expect to find on ChefsOpinion.
(It might inspire you to save big bucks next time you need extensive dental work (cosmetic) which the insurance does not cover).
Rather, it is about my one week trip to Managua / Nicaragua and the reason I undertook that trip, which was entirely Dental-related.
First of all, let me explain why I chose Nicaragua of all places to have extensive dental work done.
My best friend Dieters wife , Chacha, was born and partially raised in Nicaragua. About two years ago Dieter had an accident which knocked out some of his teeth, requiring implants to replace them. Chacha’s family, which in part still resides in Nicaragua has this great dentist to which they entrust all their dental requirements, so Dieter decided to check it out. After all was said and done, Dieter was extremely happy with the results and recommended I should go there if ever I needed major dental work. It is now nearly two and a half years later, and still dieter is totally satisfied, his Miami dentist even complimented on the work done 🙂 .
(When I talked to the doc, I found out that most of he’s patients are actually flying-in from the USA and Canada). The clinic is very well-appointed, super clean, super modern and very comfortable, with another onside dentist, numerous staff and an assortment of treatment rooms.)
Low and behold, two years after Dieter had his teeth fixed, I needed similar work done as he had, so I started inquiring about quality and cost in Miami, Germany and Hungary. I needed three implants, 5 crowns, deep cleaning and whitening. (I had the necessary bone graft done 6 months earlier in Miami)
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Total estimate by my Miami dentist:  $ 18,000.00
Total estimate by various German dentists:  $ 18,000.00
Total estimate by some Hungarian dentists:  $ 9,000.00
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Total cost by my Nicaraguan  dentist:  $ 3,200.00
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Add to this the price of the airline ticket $ 350.00, as well as one week in a great Bed & Breakfast, including chauffeur for the week which all amounted to $ 300.00, and the total cost was just under $ 4,000.00 compared to at least $ 18,000.00 to 20,000.00 in Miami.
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So then, on to the trip.
Because of the short duration of the flight between Ft Lauderdale and Managua, which takes a little more than two hours, I chose Spirit Airline, because before you can get uncomfortable, you will have arrived already. Plus, I splurged, as I usually do, on extra-large seats and leg room. On this flight it was only additional $ 40.00 each way, so no big deal.
To my surprise, on spirit and on this plane, the extra space are the first two rows at the front entrance. These were actually the original first class seats (Just four of them), so this was the best bargain I ever scored on any flight in my forty-five years of air travel.
We departed Ft Lauderdale at 1:30 am for our short hop to Nicaragua
Upon arrival in Managua International Airport, Maria, the owner of the B&B I was staying at, and her two son’s picked me up. I finally got to sleep at around 5:00 am local time, just a few hour before my first appointment at 9:00 am. The Doc worked on me that morning (Friday) for about three hours (Deep cleaning and drilling the holes into the jaw for the implants), 3 hours on Saturday (upper row, two crowns and first half of the bleaching)  and 3 hours on Monday (lower row, second half of bleaching and setting three crowns.
And that was it – all done ! 🙂
My flight home was Thursday night around midnight.
When I planned the trip, I assumed that the dentist would check what needed to be done on Friday, then I would have had Saturday and Sunday to explore the culinary riches of Nicaragua.
Well, that did not happen. Here is my menu for the week (All white food and drink because of the bleaching, and soft because of the implants and stitches in the gums:
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Friday – Great breakfast before the first dentist appointment,
– afterwards, milk water, potato soup
Saturday – milk, water, small pieces of croissants
Sunday – milk, water, chicken broth with soft small pasta
Monday – milk, water, small pieces of croissants
Tuesday – milk, water, poached fish, mashed cauliflower, rice
Wednesday – milk, water, chicken broth with soft small pasta
Thursday – milk, water, small pieces of croissants and plain bread
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Back in Miami, another week with only white food and drinks, then slowly back to normal 🙂
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My impressions of Nicaragua were 100 % positive. A wonderful country with wonderful people,  clean, friendly and organized, with a population of mostly well-mannered, friendly, clean and organized people. However, the day I left we passed by a street demonstration, which at the time seemed nothing to worry about.
Next day at home I saw in the news what happened and I felt sad and disappointed that, as usual and in so many countries, a few bad apples can upset the freedom and well-being of its people in an otherwise wonderful country such as Nicaragua 😦
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I hope things will settle down quickly and I can return to see more of this beautiful country and have the opportunity to get to know its cuisine 🙂
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Before and after :
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Ma Man, with his Assistant :
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Maria, her Son’s, her B&B and her “Taxi” :
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On Tuesday, I cooked a meal for us ;
Sautéed snapper fillet, cauliflower salad and rice 😦 . See above)
However, for myself,  (white food only)  I prepped the fish poached and the cauliflower mashed 😦 . See below)
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And here is my main nutrition for the duration of my trip 😦  :
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Some random impressions of Managua, Granada and Masaya;
(There is not much tourism, so these are not some show-off places and locations, but rather this is how the country, its cities and attraction for its own folks look like 🙂 :
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Aaaand, back to Miami.
I hope I’ll be back soon to explore all I have missed in this great place this time 🙂
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