Conntecting the Dots

My Dentist Visit

My back aches, my feet throb, and my brain’s on overload from standing and teaching parenting workshops for 20 hours since Thursday. But hey – the effort’s been worth it! As a result of doing this, our Polish missionary partner says new doors of ministry opportunities have opened to him and his wife. Ties have been strengthened with people in strategic positions in various secular organizations, and several individuals have expressed an interest in attending our July evangelistic English-learning family camp. Wouldn’t it be great if they came? This month’s visit is all about planting seeds. Maybe July will promote growth towards an eventual harvest.

Since my last post, I experienced my first cross-cultural dental visit. The dentist was a jolly gray-bearded fellow who spoke English fairly well so he set to work without an interpreter. He took one look at my broken molar, said he could fill it, and gave me a painless injection to numb the area. While waiting for the anesthetic to take effect, he sat beside me and chatted about the weather, his recent visit to New York, and the English song playing on his radio. Suddenly he grabbed his drill and said, “Now I work.”

When I have dental work done in Canada, various gadgets anchor my mouth open. A thin rubber thingy is stretched across it. A suction tube sucks it dry. I’m given a glass of water when it’s time to swish and spit, and I’m handed a tissue to wipe dribbles from my chin. Not so here.

As the dentist drilled, miniscule bits of tooth and old filling flew from my mouth, passed his head and into the atmosphere. He paused for a moment. “Spit,” he said, pointing at the chipped porcelain bowl on my left. I waited for a glass of water but none came, so I obeyed orders. Thankfully the tissue bib around my neck doubled as a wipe rag. “You hurt?” he asked.

“No, I’m fine,” I slurred.

“Thanks God,” he said, and then he drilled some more. We repeated the process four or five times before he stuffed a wad of cotton on either side of my molar and proceeded to fill my tooth. “Can you bite?” he asked when he’d finished his job.

Bite? I wondered. With my mouth filled with cotton? I waited for a split second, thinking he’d remove the stuffing and slip a piece of fancy colored paper between my upper and lower molar. No such luck. So I followed orders again, and gently tapped my molars together. The master craftsman seemed happy with the finished product. “Spit again,” he said, and then he bid me goodbye.

The entire process took less than 20 minutes and cost about $35 CDN. Only one uneasy thought crossed my mind during the procedure: Are the dental instruments properly sterilized to prevent transmission of disease? I chose not to dwell on the what-ifs.

Ewa scrambled eggs for my breakfast, after which we dashed to our meeting with the city’s social workers. Get a visual of this: I’m standing before 40 key people trying to look composed and intelligent, but the left side of my face is completely numb and I’m afraid my smile is lopsided. Sheesh – I might even be drooling! And so, when my turn comes to introduce myself, I explain my predicament. And whaddya know? Everyone smiles. A few even laugh. And the atmosphere relaxes. Amazing how things work together, eh?

4 Responses to “My Dentist Visit”

  1. Linda Thomas

    I love it! I laughed right out loud! I’ve experienced similar things in foreign countries myself, but I have not had to give a talk with a numbed face. Bless your heart! So good to keep up on how and what you are doing.

    • Grace

      I’m glad you can use this information. The dentist who treated me was excellent. I’d recommend his services anytime!

  2. Dr Ziesemer - Cosmetic Dentist

    Really fine article. I recently discovered your internet site and needed to say that I have really really enjoyed checking your current articles. Naturally I will be subscribing to your rss feed.


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