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Full Version: Fulltimers....what Do You Do About Dental Appointments
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As my wife and I move closer to full timing, I've been thinking about every day type issues.

I was having my teeth cleaned last week, and realized that most likely I won't be able to drop back to the Seattle area to visit my regular dentist. I asked him for suggestions on how to handle routine maintence (on the mouth rolleyes.gif ). He said dental schools are a good bet, if you've got lots of time, as the students are well observed and you'll get a first rate job.

What do some of you full timers do ?
My wife, who was previously in the Dental field, and I schedule our annual dental appointments so that when we are near the border, we simply see our Mexican dentists.

We have found them to be extremely proficient and cost only 25-30% of the USA prices.
As fulltimers, we have settled into a pattern. (After that first 12-18 month, travel to every corner, frenzy.) cool.gif

Now find ourselves in the same general area over winter. So, that is where we do our doctoring.

Set up an address in Southern California, as our homebase. (Not the cheapest, but convenient for us.) Do all the maintanance stuff from this location. DMV, taxes/lawyer, voting, banking, oil changes and RV maintanance.

Could probably do jury duty, however they've stopped sending notices after those first couple years when we were NEVER in the area. rolleyes.gif

DO have alternates. Have family in SW Iowa, so there is a doctor, pharmacist, bank and law firm that know us there.

Wi-Fi (or in our case, Verizon Air Card) technology make this so much smoother now. Does not matter if I'm sitting outside their office, or am half a continent away when calling or e-mailing documents.
Price isn't TOO much of an issue, as long as the Dentist didn't feel like they had to do a full exam, which our insurance might not cover every 4 months (I have deep pockets - in gums not wallet wink.gif - and need to get plaining done that often.) I was wondering if others had found something I was totally unaware of.

We currently have a house in Washington state which we are preparing for sale. But, given today's market, who knows when that'll happen. We'll retain our residency here until we actually stop full timing, or stay someplace more than 3 months (might be a challenge in winter months.) We like the income tax rate, zero biggrin.gif I believe we can do that legitimately since we don't really know where we want to settle, other than someplace where there is more sun cool.gif and probably in the South West.

FosterImposters, laugh.gif I got a laugh out of the "12-18 month every corner frenzy". I have little doubt we'll get into that pattern ourselves. Got all sorts of places mapped out that we want to go to. And, we plan to get to them in no particular order, weather, hurricane, & tornado seaons permitting.

Like you, we will be getting a Mifi, as we currently do all of our finances on line, and would feel totally deprived without internet. Got kids out of the country.
I don't think anybody has found anything you're totally unaware of.

If you have to get your teeth cleaned every four months, it's going to be a challenge while you're on the road. I just had a filling done by the dentist I went to back before I started fulltiming, and they're booked for cleanings 6 months out.

Consequently, we pretty much never get ours cleaned. Then again, even before hitting the road, I would go only every 3 or 4 years, and my boyfriend never went. So we're definitely not in the same teeth demographic as you are.

I checked into dental schools in San Antonio and Phoenix when I needed this recent filling, and they had substantial waits for appointments so I couldn't use them. I did go to a dental school for a cleaning in Amarillo back in the 1980s and it worked out fine--a couple of co-workers and I did it together and we all had a good experience.

My boyfriend and I had dental work done on the fly a couple of times--wisdom teeth in Asheville, NC, and a crown in Grand Junction, CO. That sort of thing has always been easy to schedule (once you figure out which dentist you want to use); it's the dental hygenists who stay completely booked up, and unfortunately, that's who does the cleanings. So we could get our teeth fixed, but not cleaned.

We also had some work done in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico (across from Weslaco in South Texas)--the beauty of that is there are no appointments and we went in December before the snowbirds hit, and we got right in. My boyfriend had seven metal fillings replaced and they're holding up fine. $25 each. Cleanings there were $25.

Of course, if you're on the every-four-month schedule, that's not going to work for you; I definitely wouldn't recommend trying to be in the Texas Valley every four months, regardless of the reason. :)

Traveling man
The original plan was to schedule my annual exam/cleaning when visiting the area I had lived in before full timing. I had a narrow time window before leaving the area, and my regular dentist told me I needed a $1000 crown, and did a hard sell on why everyone should replace all their silver fillings. At that point I joined one of the national plans offering half price dental service, and booked at one of their dentists in a town I would be in several weeks down the road. Guess what, I found out I did not need a crown, and a simple repair at a fraction of the cost did the trick. He also felt the replacement of silver fillings was a scam. Anyway since I found an honest dentist in an area I go through once a year, that's where I have my work done.

It's interesting being on the road, and between 15 states in a typical year. I try to use companies that are fairly national: The bank I use has ATM's and branches everywhere I go. I have similar situations with eyeglasses, tires, auto repairs etc. if I ever need service or warranty work.

As much as I enjoy the adventure of continuous new locations, I find myself stopping in towns visited in previous years, usually passing through on another route. I'm sure barbers, pastors etc. in those towns wonder why they never see me more than once a year.
We have been fulltiming for nine years now. When we have a dental emergency, we simply call the nearest dentist. We have never been turned down or been unhappy with the quality of care, including in a couple cities in Mexico.

For annual cleaning, we did the same thing until we found a hygienist we both really like, and now we wait until we are back in that area to have it done.

I guess most of us get really attached to our regular dentist, but we were pleasantly surprised to find out that there are many, many good practitioners out there.

I carry all my dental records with me which has saved some time and money in the past. We now have a home base sort of on Oklahoma/Arkansas border and do our medical check ups there. We are there a couple of months in the fall and the spring. When we were on the road most of the time I would just get a phone book and call around.
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