In to Shanghai this weekend to pick up some prescription glasses (like we don’t have enough) and a few new pairs of Jimmy’s cords for Geoff, but first, a trip to the dentist for Terry.
(Ed. note: Sadly, no pictures to accompany the following.) We go to Parkway Health for any medical concerns–a good company with most doctors trained in the west and fully fluent in English, so of course I had no compunction about seeing a dentist there. Geoff booked me an appointment on-line. I had had my annual check-up in July and was pretty definite about only wanting a cleaning. So here’s how it went, once I was in the chair.
What is the problem with your teeth today?
No problem, I just want them cleaned.
Just cleaned, okay, okay. You don’t want me to take an ex-ray?
No, I had that done 4 months ago. Just clean.
Okay, okay. First I take a picture, then after cleaning, I will show you.
There may be some bleeding and some pain.
Not to worry, it will go away in a day or so. In order to clean the best, I have to touch the tooth below the gum.
What will you touch my teeth with, water? laser? metal tool?
My teeth are pretty sensitive. Please be careful.
Okay okay, don’t worry. We will start with water. Bleeding will stop after a little while. First, we put these goggles on you. Second, we put a mask over your face because of water splashing.
Okay (I guess. I’m already sweating and sitting in the direct sunlight isn’t helping. The mask turns out to be paper with a giant mouth cut out. It’s probably a good thing that I can’t see what it is he is doing.)
He begins to use the high powered water jet. Within 5 or so seconds, he blasts a nerve and I involuntarily jerk. After several more times, he stops and asks the assistant for topical anesthetic. He applies it and starts again. A few more jerks. He stops and switches to the metal tool, the thought of which in itself is ominous but in his hands, develops a certain macabre tone. The topical helps, although he has to reapply a few more times and I manage to get through it.
When they take the paper mask off, it’s a bit sodden on the upper edges around my forehead. The goggles have not only steamed up but the water has actually started condensing and there are a few rivulets down the lenses. Now the up-sell starts.
You have a cavity.
First they crank the chair so far up that my body is in about a 45 degree angle and I can no longer make out what is on the computer screen. I tell him I can’t see the images.
Yes, perhaps you can’t see because I take these pictures with this plastic sleeve over the camera. If I take it off, you would see better. But if you look here (you’re kidding, right?) you will see you have a cavity. You want me to take an ex-ray?
No. No thank you. (If you think I would let you do anything more to my teeth at any time, now or in the future, you have another think coming!)
Phew! I have lived through it and am a pound or two lighter from all the sweating but okay, okay, I can get out of there. But first the bill.
Consultation: 450RMB/73.26 US dollars. Remember how it went? What is your problem? No problem, just clean. End of consultation.
Charge for procedure: 700RMB/$113.96. Now, it seems to me that when I had a full check-up, ex-rays and cleaning in July, it cost me $178, and that included flossing, polishing and fluoride treatment. He was reassuring in the end, however, when he told me my teeth cleaned up nicely.
Seriously, I think he was a rookie but, no matter. That will be the last time I sit in a dentist chair in China!