Albania Albania Residency Dentistry in Albania Uncategorized

Summer Plans & Residency

I’ve had a busy morning!  I am proceeding with my plan to apply for residency. I have to leave the country and reenter because the application has to be submitted within 30 days of entry. So I leave for one day, come back and my entry date is fresh and new! I booked a flight on a discount airline called WizzAir. $48 rd trip from Tirana to a little town in Italy’s “bootheel” called Bari on March 14, returning the 15th. I booked a hotel for $80 that’s close to the city center and the rail line from the airport.

My landlords rent my apartment in summer for $2000 a month! (I pay €250, about $277.) So I will have to be gone from June 15 until September 1. If I have my Residency I won’t have to go to a different country, which is really good because my health insurance is only valid in Albania. At my “advanced age” the cheapest travel insurance I could find for neighboring countries cost $660 for that 2.5 month period! (My Albanian insurance is only $100 a year). So I started searching Airbnb for somewhere to live this summer. It had to be away from the ultra-expensive coast. Places are already going fast and I couldn’t find any decent sized city that’s really cheap. I booked an apartment in Shkoder (Northern Albania) for June 15 until September 1. Quite pricey, $523 a month! But that includes utilities, which could run as much as $80+ in summer.

Shkoder is on Europe’s largest lake which also is half in Montenegro. They have some pretty cool kayak trips on the lake to twoq restricted-access bird sanctuaries and also boat trips to Komani Lake and Shala River which I’m really excited about. Shala River is beautifully turquoise and clear, really pretty. 

Shala River

So now I feel like I can relax a bit. I still need to go to the US Embassy and swear a notarized affidavit that I’m not a criminal. I was hoping to do that on the day I fly back from Bari but the Embassy’s last appointment is at 1 pm and my flight gets in at 12:50, so no. I’ll have to make a special trip. It’s about 2 hours and $9.25 each way on the bus.

I had to get a tooth pulled last week and it was a doozy, with a curved root plus it was broken off at the gumline and split vertically, so it was hard to remove. Glad that’s over! Tomorrow I get a root canal and then in a week or so I’ll have the two new 5 tooth bridges and I can smile again! It cost $9.25 to get the tooth pulled and the root canal costs $56.

I’ve made a friend! She’s a 61 year old retired from the US Forest Service. We met for lunch and had a nice time and are meeting for breakfast on Wednesday. For lunch we just walked along the promenade looking at the menu boards and chose a restaurant that looked promising. One place offered grilled goat or lamb for 1000 lek ($9.25), grilled guts for 500 lek and whole sheep’s head for 400 lek. Yeah…didn’t go there!

Those who know me well know that I’m an extremely fussy eater. It’s been said that I have the taste buds of an 8 year old boy. And eating low carb makes it even harder to eat in restaurants.

I can’t remember the name of the restaurant we chose but I’ll walk back over that way soon and find out, though I hope no one is reading my blog for restaurant recommendations; if so they must be sorely disappointed! This was the first time I’ve eaten out since I got here almost 4 months ago!

So I was tempted to just order a nice safe omelet for $2.30 but I decided to be really adventurous and ordered a whole grilled fish, including the head which had a lot of really sharp little teeth! It came with scrumptious hand cut french fries which nearly killed me to resist gobbling up. I only ate one. This was a pretty expensive meal at $10 US but it was excellent!

Albania Dentistry in Albania

Getting My Teeth Fixed

One of the things I was anxious to do as soon as I arrived here was to get my teeth fixed. Somehow it ended up taking 5 months, but now I’m finally starting the process.

I need two 5 tooth upper bridges and one single crown on the bottom. All those teeth already have crowns and/or bridges so I won’t need any of that nasty grinding done. But a 3 tooth bridge I had gotten 5 or 6 years ago in Mexico has been loose for a long time and I couldn’t afford the $3000+ to replace it, so at least one, maybe both of the anchor teeth need to be extracted and that 3 tooth bridge will be replaced with a 5 tooth bridge. Uggggh.

I found a young dentist who got great reviews and stopped in to make an appointment. She’s quite young and very kind, and she speaks halfway decent English.

First I needed to get x-rays, as she doesn’t have that equipment. A full mouth panoramic view cost $14. Last week I started with the single crown. She thought it should be qa full zircon crown. So the first appointment she removed the old porcelain/gold crown and took impressions. I went back two days later and she fitted the crown and then sent it back to the lab for coloring. It ended up taking 4 visits because the lab didn’t get the color right the first time.

Next Wednesday I will go back and she’ll remove that 3 tooth Mexican bridge and do the extraction(s). Hopefully only one, but the way my luck runs…. I’ll have a 3 tooth gap there for two weeks while the gums heal, then she’ll remove the other two crowns and take impressions. She doesn’t seem to do temporary crowns so I’ll then have a 5 tooth gap for two or three more days. No laughing for 2.5 weeks!

And then the other 5 tooth bridge should be uneventful and just take 2-3 days. Two teeth in that one have excessive bite pressure that made the front facing pop off so the metal is showing, and it looks like I have huge cavities. Those two teeth will get full zircon crowns that are much stronger than porcelain.

She charges (in US dollars) $9.25 for extractions, $83 for porcelain crowns and $214 for the full zircon crowns. So the whole thing, 11 crowns (3 of them zircon) plus one extraction is going to cost $1290….about the cost of a single porcelain crown in the US. And I’ll finally be able to smile again without embarrassment!