Friday, November 26, 2010

Open Wide

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I spent mine at the dentist's office because I FORGOT this Thursday was Thanksgiving when I made my appointment. *facepalm* I went to the dentist for the first time last Thursday for a cleaning/check-up/X-rays/other things I can't afford in the US and while I was there, she found two cavities. My follow-up appointment to have them filled was made for this Thursday and, several days later, when I realized that meant it was on Thanksgiving, I decided I didn't actually care and didn't reschedule the appointment.

Going to the dentist was something I put off my first year here because of language barrier and the added difficulty of doing things in another country and well, I'll be home in six months, might as well wait and do it then. Turns out, that was poor reasoning since not only is going to the dentist just as easy here, it's SO MUCH CHEAPER. (One of these days I'm going to make a post about my giant love for the Korean national health care system and how, seriously America, you NEED TO GET ON THAT.)

The first appointment, the check-up, was almost identical to the check ups I've had in the US, except that there was Kpop, not country, on the radio and during the cleaning, the hygienist draped a cloth over my face so I couldn't see anything. There was a hole in the cloth for my mouth and nose, but my eyes and the rest of my face were covered.

The second appointment was also similar to the US, in as much as I can remember the one time I had a cavity filled back home. It might have actually been better, since this time, the dentist didn't try to discuss Carolina basketball with me while there was a drill in my mouth. I mean, yes, I'm also hopeful for another title, but could you spend more time concentrating on the drill IN MY MOUTH and less time waxing about Hansbrough's average number of assists per game.

I showed up for my appointment after work and as I sat down in the chair, the dentist asked me what I thought about pain.

"Well," I told her, "I'm not a big fan of it."

"Okay," she responded, and whipped out a syringe bigger THAN MY FACE and stuck it in my mouth.

I might have groaned a little when she picked up a second syringe for the other side of my mouth. "It's just a little cavity," she told me. "Are you sure you want this?"

Which, lady, when it comes to choosing between giant needles in my mouth or a drill in my unnumbed mouth, I will go with the giant needles any day of the week.

The real fun came after the appointment. I took the subway home and stopped at the convenient store across the street from my apartment with my mouth still completely numb. When I attempted to thank the owner, my kamsamnida (thank you) came out some unintelligible mumble. The owner looked at me askance, and I attempted the smile (also difficult with a numbed mouth) reassuringly before hurrying home where I didn't have to inflect my terrible terrible Korean on anyone. Turns out, I really can't speak Korean when my mouth is numb from the dentist.

Korean dentists: I went to Tuft's Dental Clinic in Gangnam. I highly recommend her. She's trained at Tufts University in Boston, is licensed in three US states and she (and her staff) speaks excellent English.

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