Roadside dentist of the week: Tanah Abang, Jakarta

Whilst moving at snail’s pace through the mad cacophony that is Tanah Abang at the weekend, I look over to the side of the road and what do I see?

Another one of those shabby little roadside dentists!

And bloody hell – just look at that sign:

Roadside dentist in Jakarta Indonesia

Must-a-jab. Yeah right. I bet that’s a jab ya won’t forget in a hurry!

These sorts of places are generally found in the less - uh-erm - affluent parts of the city (meaning 99% of it) and although I first noticed them years back, the idea of actually stepping into one of these places was the last thing on my mind I can tell you!

But what the heck I tell myself - the traffic’s more clogged up than the drainage pipes in a Chinese takeaway - and the curiosity has got the better of me, so I want to know what it’s like inside. So I jump of me bike, look round a couple of times, and then give the front door a firm push. It nearly falls off its hinges. I walk in.

Inside, there’s an old bloke smoking. He looks at me incredulously, stubs out the Djarum Black on the table (wtf), and then smiling, reveals a set of the crookedest (is that a word?) and dirtiest teeth I’ve seen in a long, long while …


So what’s inside a typical streetside dentist? Well…

1. Registration desk – Wonky of course, one leg propped up by a paper wedge. This is where you fill in your pertinent personal particulars for the dentist such as your religion, dividend income and your mother’s maiden name.

2. General Examination Room/ Orthodontist Room – tiny little room which smells of nasty medical things. This is where you have an in-depth consultation to decide what can be done in order to make your teeth nicer - and offered a cigarette at the same time.

3. The Scanning Room, complete with a state-of-the art US$100,000 scanning machine from the US. Or I could be exaggerating - yeah maybe it was just some cheapo-crap digital camera after all.

4. The Operation Room. I noticed the pliers, the bleach (wtf!) and the roll of what looked like barbed wire. And then I started to get that gut-wrenching nauseous feeling you get after getting through a six-pack of Carlsberg Special Brew, so I got the hell out of the place as quick as I possibly could!


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