‘Tis The Season To Eat!
Just after Christmas and a day after attending a friend’s house for their local village fiesta, I experienced a dental tragedy. Anything that could go wrong in the teeth department during eating season is a tragedy, and if it includes me, I consider it to also be a catastrophe because that means I need to visit the dentist! Some people don’t like clowns…I don’t like dentists! Anyway, just as I’m getting into the holiday food consumption mode, one of my gold crowns, that I’ve become rather attached to for nearly 15 years, decides to fail me. (Kudos to that Mississippi dentist!) Anyway, it finally worked itself loose and just fell out. So I find myself in the middle of the holiday season knowing there is still some more good eating to be had, and I’m now missing an important tool in my chewing arsenal. I needed a go-to dentist – just to re-cement it so I could get on with all the forthcoming delicatable’ness – at least until I can decide what needs to be done for the long-term.
I have had only a little experience since arriving here to live in the Philippines with dentists, and while those that I visited were just okay (in my opinion), my anxiety level told me to find another capable practitioner. A couple of months ago, while working on populating my online business directory (Calbayog Info) with local businesses, I came across a woman dentist located in a newly renovated office which appeared to be very modern and welcoming. I had also noticed it to be outfitted with rather new and modern looking equipment. And I did learn from her that she has over 12 years experience. After all, all I needed was to just have my crown re-cemented in place. Simple enough I thought.
I walked into her office and was met by her receptionist/assistant. She asked me to have a seat and handed me the remote control for the TV. I immediately turned to a familiar news station and just as a new news story began, the receptionist began singing. Really? Not only was she not that good (at singing), I couldn’t hear the TV over her voice. Rather than be rude and turn up the volume, I just turned it off – and she was totally unaware. Because there were no other patients in the office, I got to the chair quickly. The dentist tried repeatedly to get my crown to seat correctly, and after about 10 minutes of failed attempts, she indicated that there may not be sufficient tooth left to adhere the crown to. She then suggested what I already knew was forthecoming…that I have the remaining tooth extracted and replaced with a bridge or an implant. We could extract now and discuss tooth replacement options going forward. My first thought was that tooth extractions and holiday menus may not be all that compatible, but I agreed (with some reluctance…I always have some reluctance) because I was already there and already in the chair. If I would have left, my odds of getting me to return to any dentist in a timely manner would be like pulling teeth. Pun intended!
Let The Procedure Begin!
The dentist first applied the normal topical numbing gel in preparation for the needle and while doing so, she began singing. huh? Then when she was ready to begin the injections, she told me not to worry, that her singing would calm me down. I immediately challenged her and reminded her about our earlier conversation where I told her that I sometimes felt that karaoke was annoying. She must have forgotten that conversation because she was now warming up the ‘ol vocal chords! Okay, I thought, I’ll let her do a couple of verses while sticking me with that needle. Just maybe the annoyance of it all would distract me. So, the singing begins and she proceeds to stick me here and there. I’m not sure what was more annoying, the needle or the voice! Shortly, I thought, it would be over. As she finished with the injections, she proceeded telling me how she sings to all her patients and how it helps to calm them during procedures. I then voiced my concerns and suggested to her that she did not need to sing. I said to her that “I would much rather have you concentrate on the drilling and the extraction alone, without having to share that concentration on vocal chords and note selection!” She laughed and then assured me that “It is not a problem, it is my trademark!” WTH?
Aside from a successful and painless extraction, I did learn two things this day – one being that the customer isn’t always right… at least with singing dentists, anyway. Two, soft food diets are not a good choice during the holiday season, especially with fiestas to follow! Next year I will make sure I get all checked up, and cleared for takeoff, before the eating season get here!