Well, we all know that nobody likes to go to the dentist.. and I am not so fond of it myself. So, I made a point 10 years ago before I came to China, to do all major work I needed in the USA. I knew the dentist pretty much knew what they were doing and I didn’t want to risk going to the dentist in China for anything major. China isn’t known for their extremely, wonderful dental care. So, in the past ten years I have been lucky enough only to have to go to the dentist for some regular cleaning appointments. Pop in get my teeth all sparkly and white and pop back out… Bing, bang, boom! I have not had to have any major work done to my teeth in the whole time here. Until …. NOW!!!!!
I began having pains in my ear…. and I figured the weather had gotten cold and I am quite susceptible to ear infections… so I took some meds and put cotton in my ears to keep the cold out. That usually does the trick. However, this time it didn’t… and the pain got worse and worse. Finally, I thought to myself… could it be my tooth? Because lately I haven’t been able to eat cold things, and there is a little pain when I chew on one side. … So, I did what every wife does…. I asked my husband to look in my mouth and see if something is amiss. He looked in with his IPhone flashlight… and said… OH SHIT! (his newest English expression that he learned from some movie) You have a big hole in your back tooth!!! It’s huge …
I quickly ran to the bathroom to see what he was talking about. He was right, there was a big hole in my wisdom tooth. Now, I know most people get their wisdom teeth pulled but my dentist informed me that “my mouth was big enough” (smh) so I didn’t need to pull mine. Therefore, I kept them…. and about 10 years ago… I had a root canal in that same tooth…. so the filling they put in there has popped out I guess. Well, that would explain why I hurt like hell. So … unfortunately, the only home remedy for that is it to pull it out… and I was not taking my husband’s suggestion of “take some aspirin and let him yank it out of my mouth” (horrified)
The first thing was to find out where everyone else goes to do dentistry work. Most Chinese locals told me that they go to the hospital. I was like the hospital??? For a filling??? I wasn’t wanting to go through all those people, and hoops of fire to have my tooth filled.. .there must be a better way. Then the receptionist at my school said that one of the teachers went to a dentist all the time….(not sure if that was a good thing or not) but to ask her. I proceeded to ask her where she went to the dentist. She quickly told me the address and said that the old woman she went to was pretty famous.. but she only worked in the mornings. I told her do they take people in the afternoon… she said of course.
So, I had a plan…. and one of my adult students volunteered to go with me… I told her she could be my translator… it would help her practice her English…. .and since I spoke Chinese … I could see if she was translating correctly. She would pick me up after school … and drive me there (yes… I admit… it was a way to get a free ride to the dentist).
As planned, we arrived at the dentist, which wasn’t so far away about 10 minutes by car. When I got there I saw the place was clean… that is always good…. I was afraid it would be one of those roadside dentistry outfits. We went up two flights of stairs (of course its China) and I saw the place was quite modern. Everything was white and grey marbled, the floor, receptionist desk and the coffee table. The walls were light grey… it was nice and very clean. When I walked in of course all eyes on me…. normal occurrence but it wasn’t busy… they quickly said…. We have a dentist in from Hangzhou he can look at you right now. Now that is service….
I walked in to the room with the chairs… there was already someone getting something done to their teeth on one side of a half wall and an empty chair on the other side….. that was for me.
I had my student explain to the doctor what my problem was… he quickly washed his hands, put on some rubber gloves and a masked and told me to have a seat so he could take a look. (hand washing, gloves, and mask…. good start) He took a look and then told me that the hole was deep, a nerve was exposed and that it may hurt…. (duhhhh?)… he started poking around and that said nerve and I about came out of that chair…. he was like okayyyyy…. and quickly stopped. He informed me that he was going to kill the top part of the nerve in my tooth…. by putting medicine and a temporary filling over top of it and it may hurt a little afterwards. I was like .. I came here to make it stop hurting not make it hurt more. He took off his gloves and brought out a pad and pen. He drew a tooth and showed me where the nerve was… then he circled the part of the nerve that was sticking out. He then proceeded to show me what he was going to do…kill the top part of the nerve. (I am thinking he meant deaden… kill sounded so violent) then I had to come back in a week… and they will see if It was dead.. if it was they were going to put a bigger filling in my tooth; if it wasn’t they were going to put more medicine and do it again for another week.. until they could put in the bigger filing.
I asked how much is all this going to cost before you start putting crazy shit in my tooth. He said… 300 rmb. ( $44) I said .. alrighty.. let’s get-R-done. Then I said in Chinese .. .OKay. (haode) My translator hadn’t learned the other expression yet. The entire process took all of 15 minutes. The medicine he put in was quite potent because it had me coughing like crazy… he told me to rinse with water after a few minutes. Then he proceeded to pack my tooth with what seemed like a cotton ball and some Silly Putty. Now, I’m no expert but the color was orange.. so .. I don’t know. Anyway, he told me to wait a couple of hours for it to dry, and to be careful and try not to eat on that side of my mouth. Which was what I had been doing for the last 4 days.
Then he said… that was it….. done and done…. quit a painless affair. I still had a little pain.. like he said.. but nothing like before. He wrote down all my stuff in a little booklet and told me to bring it back when I came back next week. That is how they keep records in China… they write them down and give them to you to keep. I paid my little money… and we were off.
I was pleasantly surprised with the service, he was considerate and fairly gentle.. Now the fact that my translator and her 6-year-old daughter were able to watch the entire process and the lady next to me was getting something drilled.. was a bit disturbing; but otherwise not bad, China.
So, those of you that were concerned with the fact that if you go to China and need dentistry work what will you do. Need not worry… they actually got this under control… well at least at this clinic they do.
Until next time……