Friday, October 23, 2009

Nous avons nettoyagé nos dents

Yesterday Carla and I had our first teeth cleaning experience in France. I was able to make the appointment over the phone without any problem a few days in advance. When we arrived I was called into the office and told to sit in the chair. Then the dentist asked what I needed, is there any pain? I said, "It has been one year since my last cleaning and check-up, so it is time!"

He peered into my mouth, turned on a machine, and started drilling! No scraping with miniature stainless steel sickles, but drilling. All around the sensitive soft parts of my teeth. Each time I winced and jerked in the chair he would say, "Pardon!" When he finished three minutes later he told me to spit. There was no blood, or anything else that looked like tartar. I said, "I have never had my teeth cleaned with a drill before!" He said, "No, not a drill. It is ultrasound. They no use in US?" I made a crook with my finger in simulated scraping against my teeth making crunching noises. "Oh no! We have not done that for 10 years!"

So there I remained sitting, ready for the next step in the process. "You need something else?" he asked. "Don't you polish now?" "Yes, I can do that for you." So he took the little rubber nozzle, filled it with pumice and whirred away at five of my front teeth. "Spit," he said. "Yes, anything else?" "Well, yeah, I have this big filling here that I was told two years ago would need to be replaced." He said, "Good filling. It is big, but it is good. No need to replace. Anything else?" "Do I have any cavities?" He took another look and said, "No. Good teeth."

At this point I did not want to over-extend my stay by asking him to inspect my tongue for any unusual spots or lumps, feel the lymph nodes in my neck, or ask if I get a free tooth brush and demonstration of proper brushing technique, so I got up and laughed as Carla passed me for her turn. "Bonne chance!" I said, "Enjoy the drill."

When we finally got our bill, about 10 minutes after walking in, my cleaning cost 5 euros, and Carla's was 28 euros, but will be 8 once we get reimbursed.

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