Sidewalk Dentistry in China

Cycling along Er Hai Lake
Cycling along Er Hai Lake
April 3, 2012
Photos from the Road: Shaxi’s Friday Market
April 6, 2012

Sidewalk Dentistry in China

Years ago, I remember flipping through a National Geographic magazine seeing a photograph of a person performing dentistry on a sidewalk in China. That remained in my mind one of those must-see-it-for-myself things.

My fantasy instant of Chinese sidewalk dentistry finally came true at the Friday market in Shaxi, a town in Yunnan Province between Dali and Lijiang. The streets lining up to the town market were completely filled with ad hoc stalls and buyers from the surrounding villages. Among them were tables set up by these dental personnel.

I don’t know exactly what kind of procedures were taking place here, or if the practitioners had any kind of professional training. I did see some dental tools on the table and plenty of individual false teeth.

Sidewalk dentistry in Shaxi, Yunnan, China

Have you encountered sidewalk dentistry during your travels? Let me know where in the comments below.

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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 20 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

1 Comment

  1. Ross says:

    Nope, I’ve never seen that. Love the look on the dentist’s face. Looks like he has no idea why you would want to take his picture.

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