I’ve been able to say that for more than 45 years, but alas, no longer. I got my first cavity and had to go to the dentist to have it taken care of. Dentists are scary enough for the average person, but I had to go to a Russian dentist and open wide….
Going to the dentist’s office isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be basing my experience on the horror stories I’ve been told by friends, both Russian and foreign alike. The stories of agonizing pain, smoke coming out of your mouth and the rank stench of teeth being ground while you sit back in the chair with frightened eyes didn’t hold true. At least for me anyway.
The Russian dentist was around 30 years old, had a good sense of humor and his assistant, a very attentive young blonde, went about their business, explaining each and every step to me. The only thing I was upset about is that my dentist, Vladimir Sergeyevich, kept lying to me. For example, when injecting my gums with local anesthetics, he said: “Now this might hurt a bit, please don’t jump.” I didn’t even feel the needle enter my gums and the Novocain was injected unnoticed. What a liar! I thought I was going to get some pain out of this and be able to tell my own tales of horror about dentist visits. Instead all I got was a good photo session with my dentist as the photographer (Thanks Vladimir Sergeyevich!).
As he started drilling on my front tooth, I was expecting smoke and pieces of chipped tooth to come flying out of my mouth. That didn’t happen either…what a letdown!
Well, in the end, he filled two teeth (a front tooth and one of my molars) in a matter of 45 minutes with no pain or even the slightest discomfort. The only discomfort I had was when he asked me to rinse my mouth out after the procedure. I think dentists just enjoy this prank. They know you can’t feel a thing and drinking out of a plastic cup when you lips are completely numb isn’t funny. You need to be creative in holding the water in your mouth by using both hands; one on the cup and the other to hold your lips tight. Well, at least they got a chuckle.
So I suppose I’m going to have to quit brushing my teeth, get more cavities, and find another dentist to be able to tell horror stories and scare all my friends. My friends who do see a dentist, even for a check-up, go to exclusively “Western” dentists who speak English. They pay an exorbitant amount for this service. I paid around $500 for a complete cleaning, whitening, x-rays, and two fillings (I chose the expensive ones because the others would be visible) plus all the Novocain.
I remember years ago I was afraid of going to the barber shop because I didn’t know all those Russian words and lord knows what I was going to look like when I came out. I always imagined that one day I’d leave the hairstylist’s with my initials shaved in the back of my head and green tints or a Mohawk. I’ve obviously been ok with the barber, now I’m ok with the dentist.
By the way, I’ve never broken a bone in my body yet either. I suppose I should work on that and have an arm or a leg set by a Russian doctor so I can tell all my friends. Or maybe that’s not such a good idea…
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