Freelance writer living in Melbourne. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe to my articles. I try to find fun, rewarding and usually free adventures for you in your home town.
Published July 18th 2015
Back from Bali and still Smiling
Image courtesy Kuta Dental
A guy in Melbourne was telling me about the woes with his teeth. He'd just spent $1800 getting a root canal only to find that it didn't work-out and after paying all that money he would still have to have the tooth pulled and then pay to get a part denture.
I shuddered because I knew my own time was nigh. For months I'd been trying to ignore the sensitivity in my gums. I'd treated them with every home remedy known to woman including rubbing them with bicarb, coconut oil and weird concoctions bought from a hippy market at Nimbin.
When I gave into the fact that I couldn't put it off any longer I dragged myself off to see the periodontist. That visit alone cost me nearly $400.
At least you could slip into the pool after a session at the dentist
The final report and costing came by mail. I had two abscesses that needed draining (told you it was bad) and required two root canals and two caps, extensive periodontal cleaning and plenty of follow up appointments at $300 a pop.
I was looking at paying around $9000.
What I hated most about it was that it wasn't even my front teeth. Nobody was ever going to peer down my gullet to see where that $9000 had disappeared to.
As a keen researcher I tried all kinds of ways to find a cheaper way to do it. Did you know the public health system has a four year wait on periodontal work?
Then after the dentist there was always a chance to have a drink looking out over the infinity pool
I also found that a lot of people go overseas and get their dental work done at a fraction of the price.
Suggestions that came up included Thailand, India and Indonesia (Bali).
Bali was the closest.
When you start searching for dentists in Bali the name that consistently comes up is Bali911 a branch of which is situated in the ultra modern Galleria tourist shopping centre.Link to their site.
I didn't end up using them but I want you to know that based on my research people rave about them.
I spoke to friends of friends who couldn't speak highly enough of the gentleness, the sterile equipment and the good prices.
When I arrived in Bali I also got talking to a group of women around the pool. They go to Bali every six months for the $5 cocktails, massages, facials, manicures, pedicures - all at ridiculously low prices. But they increasingly also go to get their teeth done, especially cleaning, whitening and implants.
One woman touched what she described as her miracle tooth. A pearly white front tooth, presumably an implant, that she would never have been able to afford at home.
So by all recommendations it seems a good place to go.
But I was taking a different option. A Facebook friend, a local who lived in Bali raved about a local dentist that expats regularly used. You won't find much about her on the internet in English as she is more word of mouth, so to speak.
So off I went to see Dr Syamsiar Adam at Kuta Dental (tel 0361-764848, Jalan Patih Jelantik 81, Kuta). Link here.
First looks were alarming this was nothing like the flash Galleria I mentioned earlier. It was a dirt lane. A couple of mangy dogs and a few people squatting down besides buildings.
But opening the door all was wonderful. Friendly young women with great English behind reception, walls lined with dental reference books and the latest magazines on the topic. (Something I must say I have never seen in a Melbourne dentistry). Everyone I spoke to in that waiting room in over the next few weeks had nothing but praise for Dr Syamsiar Adam and all her associates, her dental equipment and the quality of the materials she used.
The dentist chair was plush leather, with an abundant array of modern equipment.
Dr Syamsiar Adam was quite pragmatic. "You have chronic abscesses but it is better to keep the teeth and we will try and save them."
In between her humming and drilling I also learnt a few things about dentistry in Bali. Apparently dentists are not as highly regarded as in Australia. Therefore in Bali you will find a lot more women in the profession than men. The advantage is that females are often gentler, meticulous and good at such finely detailed work.
I had fives session in the dentist's chair over two weeks and some of them were up to an hour and a half long but then again I really was in a bad way.
The cost was roughly $700 dollars Australian for that long list of complaints I shared with you earlier, rather then the $9000 I would have needed to have paid at home.
Dr Syamsiar Adam and her colleagues did save by two teeth. Well at least they are still there three months later and I use the tip of my tongue to feel their smoothness and perfection with glee
The other day I was reading an advertorial on dentistry in the newspaper and the writer said something like: ' Don't go overseas for dental work, as you will find yourself having problems within weeks of coming home."
The fact that this statement was chucked into what was virtually an ad strongly suggests that patients are heading overseas in droves and Australian dentists are trying to curb that huge amount of money leaving their practices.
I am sure there are some overseas horror stories. But no-one I interviewed in my research had any. And think back to the beginning of this article where I told you about the poor guy who had gone to an Australian dentist and paid thousands only to have his tooth ripped out in any case.
I believe there are good dentists everywhere, but better prices in Bali.
Credit cards can be used for larger items only. Something small like a filling will need to be paid for in cash.
This is the only scary part of this story. Don't assume you will get an injection. If you want one you may have to ask for one. It isn't a given in Indonesia as it is here. However rest assured you will be given one if you ask however.
I noticed some patients in Bali getting receipts to claim with their health insurer. Not sure of their chances but worth a try I guess.
If you do go to see Dr Syamsiar Adam I'll recommend the small hotel we stayed at which was RamaGarden. It was about 15 minutes walk away or a very cheap taxi fare.
It had a lovely pool and most of the people who work there are from the same village so it was a little like staying with one big family. By phoning the rate is around $100 a night even less.
There are of course lots of cheaper places than that. Another place we looked at Wayan's House although less salubrious was only $40 a night but it was a set of new villas, with air-conditioning, a pool outside your room and an outside kitchen if you wanted to cook. Small-scale, cosy and friendly.
A trip to Bali, if you organise it properly, will not cost you a leg and an arm and it might just save your teeth.
Given recent events in Bali I understand why people are boycotting the country but I went just before the executions so I didn't get around to researching other countries for dentistry. Although this is something you may well choose to do. Here is a starting point.
Perhaps if I keep going to the Bali dentist I will end up with a beautiful Indonesian smile like my friend here.
Geoff again. I commented 13 days ago about searching for a dentist. Just wanted to let anyone who is interested know, the phone number on the link did not work. I got through to Dr Adam's practice on 0011 62 361 764848 found on this linkhttp://www.thingstodoinbali.com/wiki/Medical_Services_Bali took a little tracking down but I think it will be worth it.
Thanks for your article. I read it the day before I saw Dr Adam for a dental implant and it was very reassuring. The operation went very well and I had no pain at all. Dr Adam is a fantastic dentist and I would recommend her to anyone wanting to avoid the rip off prices in Australia.
Another tip, we stayed at Hotel Neo on the same street as Dr Adam's dental surgery. It's about a 5 minute walk away, was very nice and only cost about $45 for a double room with breakfast. The pool is tiny and we didn't use it but the staff are very friendly and helpful.
Thanks Nadine for a great read.
I have been a patient from Bali 911 but have noticed the massive change in hygiene and they have upped their prices considerably in 14 months. I go to Bali every chance i get and am now in the hunt for a new dentist that will provide a safe & hygienic place to have my further dentistry done.
Was on holiday in Bali and Lombok in February and saw an Ad for ARC Dental in the Bali Advertiser (local expat paper) and it mentioned that they did offered free panoramic x-rays and consultation which actually enticed me just to do a general checkup.
I ended up with teeth cleaning and a root canal treatment which I was happy with. I'm now in sunny London and I'm considering getting implants / veneers in September.
A friend recommended a dental practice in Bangkok but I must say I was quite impressed with the facilitates in Bali.
Great article, nice change from sifting through the TripAdvisor forums.
I went to Bali 911 three years ago to finish a root canal that I started back in Sydney, unfortunately it didn't work out so well as my tooth cracked a week later, then I went back and they solved it with a crown, which actually ended up a bit too short/tight.
I recently went to ARC Dental to have my newest wisdom tooth pulled out and was delighted that it went rather well, I have been putting this off in Bali for a while. After a few ordeals I really dreaded being back in the dentist chair!
Prior to that I also had professional cleaning done there, whatever they were using it's the first time I've had my teeth cleaned without sensitivity issues. I'm also booked for two implants in a months time so I'll keep you posted on that. Friends back in Oz have given the thumbs up so that's enough to convinced me
hello just got back Bali Dentist (at Rejuvie clean cheap 4 bridges done normal cost melb 6000 dollars bali 1500 dollars same job as melb will go back back down 2 months don't get ripped off melb robert
The other day I went to see my Melbourne dentist as I was having some teeth trouble. I thought it was my Bali work but could not have been more mistaken it was a different tooth altogether. I got him to look at my Bali work and he said it was sound as a bell. So that is my update. He also said that he would rather see people go to places like Bali and Thailand than have to have a tooth removed in Australia because they couldn't afford the necessary work. He is a very fair man I think. But also good to know he approved of my Bali work which is still sound 18mths on especially given the nature of the issues and the extent of the work.
Yes good article. In great depth and good story. I live in Bali and have actually had some work done by Dr. Adam too. Was impressed with her work but not so much with her other dentists. That was 2 years ago so things may have improved by now. I must say that i have encountered a very good Dentist here recently. It is fairly newly opened and would be a great alternative to Dr. Adam. The other thing is that they have their own anti-aging clinic right in the same building too. Very hi tech and reasonably priced as is the dentist. This is the dentist:
Bali Dentist (at Rejuvie)
Pertokoan Kuta Plaza 18 Blok B4-A,
Jalan Dewi Sri No.3
http://www.kutabalidentist.com Warm regards
Wow, what a great story. Dental prices are way too expensive in Australia and insurance (for those fortunate to have it) returns a pittance. A friend spent 25K in Melbourne on having major dental work but the work wasn't satisfactory and she needed up needing to go elsewhere. She would have been better off going O/S. I learned the hard way that price is not necessarily a guarantee of quality dental work. It took me a long time and a lot of research to find a dentist that I could trust and who does consistently high quality restorations. The dentist I go to is also very focussed on saving teeth, a very important point.
Thank you for a well written and explained experience you have shared with us.
I will save this page and hopefully will make a move to get myself and the wife to have our needed dental work done and also have a nice holiday at the same time.
yes good article. I have been to the same dentist.. I didn't have the same experience as yourself. But it was okay. I recently encountered a fairly newly opened dentist and i must say it is impressive. So if any one wants an alternative to Dr Adam this one would be one to try out. The nice thing is they have a anti-aging clinic right in the same building. very high tech and reasonably priced too. Bali Dentist (at Rejuvie)
Pertokoan Kuta Plaza 18 Blok B4-A,
Jalan Dewi Sri No.3
Let me know what you think..
Hope this helps...Regards