I can’t even begin to recount all of the thoughts that were racing through my head at the dental office last week, but when the technician called my name, the first thing out of my mouth was….sono terrorizzata (I’m terrified). I was shaking like a leaf. The least of my worries was heavy tartar buildup; the most, another cavity or two. My last checkup in Hawaii was years ago, and even then at that time I never bothered with annual visits because I have always had healthy teeth. But with the gentle prodding of MotH “you should go to the dentist, you know”, and the nagging concern that something nasty could be taking ownership of my pearly whites, I finally got up enough nerve to open my mouth and say aaaah.
My dentist looked like a young man that every mama would be proud of. MotH didn’t tell me that he was a looker! Not that it mattered anyway because as I said, I was trembing like a leaf. He promised that he would go slow, one tooth at a time. He tells me to raise my left arm if I feel any pain. Several times he even tells me that I have a lot of tartar, and that I am brushing too hard and in the wrong way (he makes the correct motion of brushing up and down instead of sideways). I just stare at a fixed point on the wall and think back to the days when my dentist never wore gloves or even put a mask over his mouth. And that every time he twitched his nose, his bushy nose hairs would protrude out of the nares. My how things have changed. I also think about how much all this is gonna cost, how I will take even better care of my teeth in the future, and if I should be so unfortunate as to have new cavities, how I will never buy candy again. Ever.
In less than 20 minutes, every mama’s dream son said he was done. I had no cavities. He even complimented me for this seeing how long it had been since I had a checkup. True, it [healthy teeth] might not be good for his profession, but he goes on to say that I should come in atleast once a year for cleaning. At 50€ a visit I don’t see why not.
Note: Free socialized dental healthcare is not as efficient as the regular healthcare that we’re entitled to, so we opt for a private dentist and pay out of pocket. For services of the former, an appointment is required with a public dentist in the Istituto Stomatologico section at the hospital (FYI: stomatologico stems from the greek stomatos which is the mouth). Not all hospitals have this service, and if they do, there is usually a long wait to be seen.