Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sparkly, Shiny, Clean Teeth

Warning: You "MIGHT" need to wear sunglasses in case my newly cleaned teeth shine too much through the Internets.

Yesterday, I went to a German Dentist for the first time. I had asked around a few times in the past for the name of a good local dentist to use. I finally found one and made an appointment for 'teeth cleaning and check up' a few weeks ago.

My appointment was at 8:30am. When, I finally found the place (in the old part of Grafenwohr) and announced myself... I was given the typical form to fill out. However, it was only one page and really only wanted to know my mailing address and my home phone number and if I was allergic to anything/medical conditions/etc. Easy.

While sitting there waiting, I did pull out my knitting. I am knitting a shawl as a gift for a friend's mother's 80th birthday that is coming up soon. I just feel that when one has made it to their 80th birthday- that they deserve a hand-knitted gift- even if I have never met the person! This is actually the 3rd or 4th of these gifts that I've made for friends over the years for their mothers or grandmothers for their 80th birthday. They've always been un-requested and I hope that they have been appreciated. I knitted on it just enough to knit only a few stitches and then had to shove my knitting back in my bag when they called my name...

I only noticed, after I had knitted a few more rows later in the day- did I notice that I had dropped a 'yarn over' (a delibertly made hole) when I stuffed the knitting in my purse. Sigh

I do admit that I looked at it and wondered if the now 'non-hole' lacy design element (from the now 'non-dropped yarn over) at the edge of the knitting... was noticeable or not? Of course, you could tell it was noticeable; since all the other rows had this nice open lace stitch at the end of all rows. In the end... I did take out the several rows of knitting and added the 'yarn over' back where it belonged.

After I had followed the lady into one of the 'rooms'... she asked me my name again and if I was here for "PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING?" I said, "YES", that I was here for 'teeth cleaning and a check-up' and that it had been 3 years since I've seen a dentist. (I know, I know... I'll explain later about that detail)

So, the second time that she mentioned, "Professional TEETH CLEANING?" with a definite questioning lift to her voice? And, then when she mentioned that it would cost 90 euros (about $140.00)I'm thinking... a couple of things:

1. Is 'non-professional teeth cleaning' what I do at home with
my toothbrush and floss?

2. Maybe I should have worn different shoes so I'd look like I could afford to pay for a "PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING JOB"???? I had thought that my other clothing choices were appropriate for a day of doctor visiting?

I assured her that I did have EURO CASH with me to pay for the procedure and at the mention of EURO in my purse... she started the "PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING"....

Finally, assured that she wouldn't have to oversee me sterilizing the dental tools for non-payment (the dental office version of washing dishes at a restaurant for non-payment).... she started the 'PROCEDURE'... and what a procedure it turned out to be!

First step,
I was directed to rinse my mouth with this vile, thickish, red liquid for 30 seconds. She stepped out of the room when she noticed that I was tracking the time on my watch. Of course, I secretly think that she was actually listening on the other side to the door, and watching the seconds on her own watch, to see if she could trust me.

I'm not sure what the red liquid was for... but, maybe it like those tablets that you have the kids chew on to show them where they missed 'brushing' ???? Either that, or a sterilization process for my mouth before any more of the 'PROESSSIONAL TEETH CLEANING' could continue?

2nd Step:

She used the whirling tool that is usually used with the toothpaste like flavored powder for teeth cleaning in the states.... WITHOUT ANYTHING applied to my teeth but the whirling grinding tool. *I'm thinking... "Hum, bare bones cleaning"

3rd Step:

She used those thin picking tools to scrape the tarter build-up from between the teeth and at the gum line. You know the tool that always feels like it's the thickness of an actual toothpick... but, they somehow manage to force it between your teeth instead BECAUSE IT IS MADE OUT OF METAL?

4th Step:

She held up this '12 inch long' big tool like a 'power drill' for use inside the mouth and pointed to the white powder in the bottom area... and told me that she would use it next. She also said: "IT DOES NOT TASTE GOOD, LIKE SALT with LEMON!" *She also covered my eyes with a towel for protection.

A more accurate description would be: I'm going to use this hammer like, 12 inches or longer, sandblasting tool inside the mouth that uses a powdered marble-like, sand-blasting material... tasting like a mixture of salt and lemon... to really add some BURNING to any of the gum areas that had already suffered cuts, scrapes from any of the previous PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING procedures, etc... all to make the customer THINK TWICE about admitting that they had not HAD their teeth cleaned for 3 YEARS EVER AGAIN! To really make an impression, I will do this particular procedure for about 30 minutes. I really have to get the 'tarter build-up' for this to be a PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING. *She did tell me that this was to remove the cigarette smoking and coffee build-up. (I don't partake of either one- so, I'm hoping for an instant whitening of my teeth.)

*I'm also wondering if she THINKS that my teeth are the RESULT of cigarette smoking and coffee drinking?

Step 5:

Have the patient SWISH and SPIT THE NOW BLOODY WATER into the basin by the dental chair. (none of that rinsing your mouth for you with that water pick-like thing)

Step 6:
Use the metal 'toothpick' sized pick between the teeth and at the gum line some more.

Step 7:

Finally, use the flavored powdered stuff with the grinding/swirling tool to polish the teeth.

Step 8: The actual dentist came in and I did admit to her that I had not been to the dentist in 3 years... and that when the dental torture girl (hygenist) had done her various procedures... that I couldn't help but notice that one particular tooth was very painful and could we get an X-Ray to make that nothing was wrong on the inside? *She did mention that she was afraid that I might have a new cavity under my crown. The crown is located right next to this SUPER SENSITIVE PAINFUL tooth.

Step 9: X-ray time.
I went to another room. I had to stand and put my head in this device meant to hold my head steady in every direction. My chin had to rest on a white metal piece and then I had to put a plastic piece between my teeth and bite down. A lot of time was spent making sure that my head was exactly in the center-- I could tell that this was the PLAN from the light shining across my face in a 'plus-sign' shape... I learned that the center of the nose tip must be exactly in the center. The device was actually about an inch too high for me to stand there comfortably, but... I wasn't about to say anything about it and just did my best to stretch my spine out.

She finally noticed that I wasn't quite as tall as she had thought and lowered the device about a half an inch and it was immediately more comfortable.

Step 10:

I got my first ever flouride treatment (flouride isn't in the water here) painted to my teeth... while waiting for the dental X-rays to be ready and viewed by the dentist. I was warned that I couldn't eat or drink anything for 45 minutes. Bad news, since I really wanted some water to drink and if I'd been a drinking person... I might have needed a drink at 10:00am after my "PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING" was over.

Step 11:
X-rays were ready. They used an machine that gave you a full mouth view from the sides and front like they used at the dental practice that I used in Seoul, South Korea. I was so happy when she told me that there were NO NEW CAVITIES... just a tooth that had become SUPER SENSITIVE over the past 3 years. I think it's just sensitive to: PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING since I've never noticed any other problems with it.

I was dismissed at 10:10am. Yes, this procedure had taken an hour and a half!!! My teeth felt so clean- that I didn't want to eat ever again. Total cost? 279 euros= lots of MONEY.

Now for the reason that I haven't been to the dentist in 3 years. Getting my teeth cleaned and checked out is something that I do every year... (honest) but, when I moved here... After being here for about a year, I asked around and couldn't find anyone. I found a few names of dentists that others warned me NOT TO GO TO THEM though. I didn't have the $$$ to visit the states my first year here - so, I stayed in Germany for the summer. Last summer?... I was only in the states for a very short time, and I couldn't get an appointment... no one was taking new patients and I didn't have 3 months to wait for an apppointment to become available (my summer vacation isn't that long- nor was I going to be the in the states that long)... so, I just continued to ask around 'every so often' for dentist recomendations.

I got far more done for my first ever German "PROFESSIONAL TEETH CLEANING" than I have at any dentist in any country or state in America- that I have had personal experience with... She did a great job!

Later in the morning, I had a pedicure, and then after lunch, I went to see another doctor for some blood work done. Yes, they couldn't get blood out of my veins and had to take 4 big vials of the stuff from the veins in my hand. Sigh, I absolutely hate getting my blood taken out. I don't cause a scene or anything- but, I can't look and can't stand having it done. Add a snake into the mix and I'd die from fright.

So, that concludes Day 3 and Monday of Spring Break. Pretty exciting huh?

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