Ruth and Max enjoying a beautiful rainbow at the Natyra e Qete Restaurant & Camping near Berat, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Berat, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Greece.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

We love going to the dentist!

Said no one. Ever.

However, when you can go to the dentist and are confident that you are getting good value for your money, it makes the whole experience a little more enjoyable.

I had been to see a dentist in Albania back in the springtime. I had a bridge that had come loose, and it turned out that one of the anchor teeth needed to be rebuilt. I had four different appointments and the final bill was so inexpensive that I thought he forgot to add a zero or two!

So, when we knew that we were going to be returning to the city of Berat, we made an appointment for both of us to see that same dentist again. Our appointment was for 6:30pm in the evening, and the weather forecast wasn't great so we wanted to move Max to a location closer to the dentist office. 

We found a big parking lot that is actually used by many motorhomes because of its location to the central area. There are no services, but the owner of the lot has actually fixed up a few grassy spots for the motorhomes, with some small trees and flowers. It's actually quite nice, considering it is so close to downtown.

Max, parked up at GPS 40.701147, 19.955775

As I said, it's just a parking spot and there are no services, but it only cost 600 lek ($7 CAD, $5.50 USD, €5) for 24 hours.

I managed to get that photo above during a ten minute or so period where the sun made an appearance. Much of the day was actually cloudy with showers.

And, it was raining when we walked over to the dentists office just after 6:00pm.

The waiting room is simple, but comfortable.

There is no receptionist. Obviously this keeps costs down. During the day, he has two assistants who look after people coming in, but they also assist with doing some procedures. He was squeezing us in at the end of the day, so the assistants had gone home.

The wall of qualifications.

Everything is very modern, with the latest computerized equipment. 
Except for his paperwork system. We'll get to that later!

There are two other chairs in the same room. 
You do not get your own private room.
This also keeps costs down.

Ruth, in the chair.

Ruth has fairly nice teeth, and they are all her own. She only wanted a cleaning and inspection. He used a new high tech ultrasound cleaning technique (far less painful and annoying than the picks that many used to use), but also did the standard polishing with paste. 

The total cost of the cleaning and inspection was 1500 lek ($17.70 CAD, $13.90 USD, €12.30). Yes, that is correct!

He said that she has no other problems. Although we got to talking about how her lower teeth have become a little crooked over the past ten years. He suggested a transparent treatment that will take about six months and will require another visit in the spring. We do not know the cost yet because he did a computerized mold that needs to be analyzed and he said he will get back to us by Friday with more details.

Me in the chair.

I knew I had one small cavity on the side of one tooth, and two other teeth that I wasn't sure about. It turns out that yes, the one cavity needed to be filled, and the other two teeth were actually old fillings that had been done many years ago that were discolored and just needed cleaning up.

Total cost for me was 2,000 lek ($23.60 CAD, $18.50 USD, €16.50). Yes, those figures are correct!

This is what the locals pay. This is not "dental tourism", or overinflated prices just because we're not from around here. He even has the pricelist on the wall, and when he told us the total, he pointed out the pricing on the list.

We paid in cash. He opened the cash drawer, and that was just what it was. A regular drawer, full of cash from the days work. Not organized or anything. Too funny.

He got out a paper filing system and found my "file" (just a piece of paper) from the work I had done in the spring. He then wrote out a new sheet for Ruth. No need for a computer for this stuff!

Obviously there are other factors, but one of the reasons that dental work is so inexpensive in some countries is because there is no insurance company involved. You become the customer because it's actually you who is paying the bill. That creates pricing competition which makes for a fair marketplace.

It would have to be an extreme emergency for us to ever get dental work done in Canada or the U.S. In fact, we haven't done so for over 15 years. At these prices, it would be pretty easy to justify the plane fare to Albania for anything more than a basic procedure!

Just a reminder once again that our travel medical insurance company Heymondo is having a Black Friday sale for our readers. Normally, readers of this blog get a 5% discount, but from now until next Monday that has been increased to 15%! It's a great deal for travelers age 69 or younger, and you can buy the insurance now for any future travel date! Here is the link... 15% off Heymondo insurance.

Record low deal on the popular Taco vs Burrito Card Game.

And in Canada...


  1. In Canada orthodontists practise with all patients in the same room however it doesnt make the services any cheaper😉 Sounds like Invisalign with the clear retainer, hope it works.

    1. No, it certainly doesn't! I think orthodontists make the most money when it comes to dentistry for probably the least amount of work. Both our kids had to have braces and I remember taking them in for their monthly visits and they were lucky to be sitting in the chair getting the adjustment done, for more than 10 minutes and a $100 later, this was in addition to the price of putting the braces on to start with. And, that was like 20 years or so ago!

      Yes, I believe that it is Invisalign or a product very similar. We haven't decided if I will do this or not, it will all depend on the price and what the dentist says is necessary to have it work and if we will be able to visit with him again when the time comes. Hopefully we will know more by Friday.

  2. In Vancouver Island, I got an infection from a bug bite. I went to urgent care. There was no nurse to take my vitals, no assistant...just the doctor. Total cost $76.00 with prescription. Plus she gave me a copy of the bill to turn into my insurance company from USA. I thought that was really reasonable.

    1. But medical prices are totally different to what the dental prices are! Doctors prices are regulated in Canada but not so for dentists!

  3. Amazing prices! I had a few teeth cleanings and one small cavity filled in Mexico and paid quite a bit more than that, but still nowhere near US prices. You can hardly get out of a dental visit here, even an uncomplicated cleaning and checkup, for under $200 USD. It does sound like an Invisalign-type retainer for Ruth. I have both top and bottom retainers like that after having braces a few years ago. I still wear them religiously to bed every night.

    1. You also lived in an area that had more tourists/expats when you lived in Mexico, we find that makes a big difference in the pricing of the work, compared to say our dentist in the little farming town of Valle de Juárez, where the she deals with the locals. As you said though, the price was still a bargain when you compare it to the prices you would pay in the US. Kevin's sister just had her teeth cleaned and inspected and it cost her over $200 CAD.

      Yes, I believe that he is talking about the Invisalign-type of aligner. Our dentist in Mexico had also mentioned this same product but she doesn't do that type of work and had referred me to another lady in Guadalajara but we never got the time to go and see her for her opinion. We will see what this dentist/orthodontist has to say on Friday and also find out the cost before making a decision on whether I will have this done or not.

    2. I don't think it will be expensive, Ruth. Since you won't be doing the Invisalign process, which involves progressing through a series of aligners over a year or two, but just getting a retainer to keep your lower teeth from getting more crooked than they are now, it shouldn't cost that much. My orthodontist offered a complete second set of retainers (top and bottom), which involved taking a second mold of both arches, for $275. And that was in Florida! So considering where you are and that you'll only need one, I'm betting no more than $100. Will be interesting to see!

    3. But he is talking about the progression of different aligners over a certain period of time. Although from what he was saying, I wouldn't have to go for a long time like two years, perhaps six to twelve months would be more along the time frame that is needed as they are super crooked but they are crooked enough that they need to be realigned. Anyways, we will see what he has to say on Friday.

    4. Ah, I didn't catch that -- was thinking you were just talking about a single retainer to hold them in place where they are now. They will keep getting worse without doing that, in all likelihood. My 87-year old mother is contemplating having one of her lower front incisors pulled because it has continued to worsen in alignment with the others over the past 20 years, making cleanings difficult, and she's even gotten a slight lisp from it! Good luck, Ruth!

    5. And this is the problem that I am having with my front lower teeth, it is hard to clean in behind them. The dentist said that was the only place that I had a bad area of plaque build up. Good luck to your mother as well.

  4. 20% inflation in October caught my attention and thought I'd share the article with you fwiw. Turkish lira plunges to record low as Erdogan doubles down on economic policy his critics call ‘insane’
    By Adam Taylor

    1. Yes, we are aware, and it's really crazy what's going on in Turkey. People in Canada and the U.S. have no idea what 20% inflation means to the average person and we feel really badly for the Turkish people. The Canadian dollar has increased 70% vs the Turkish lira since we were there last year, so the 20% inflation doesn't mean much to us. But for the Turkish people it's really terrible.

    2. Ok just so you're aware. I know how careful you are with your spending and didn't know if you knew since you plan on spending time there this winter.

    3. Thanks for passing this along to us. :-)

  5. I hope Ruth's treatment works and it will be interesting to see the results. Juan had braces four years ago on his lower teeth to correct the infamous old-age crooked tooth. It worked, for a year and then it returned to it's crooked position.

    1. We haven't decided yet whether I will have this treatment done or not. We will have more info on it by Friday and will talk to the dentist again before making a decision. Sorry that Juan's tooth moved back to it's crooked position again. I remember him wearing the braces when we saw you guys a couple of times. I am surprised that once the treatment straightened the tooth out that the orthodontist didn't put a small permanent retainer in place, to stop this from happening.

    2. Yes! That's what I have on the inside of my bottom arch, after having braces. And I have plastic retainers top and bottom that I still sleep in. My teeth still look good after getting the braces off three years ago.

    3. I know that our son has that permanent retainer in as well but I don't remember our daughter having to have it in. I am glad that your teeth are still nice and straight after three years, Emily.


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