Monday, April 14, 2008

Der Zahnarzt, Revisited

Well, despite my talk about finding a different dentist who would give me a metal filling, I didn't manage to remember to do it before the appointment I'd set up with the original dentist for a composite filling came around. For some reason I thought I had a lot more time! So, I just went in and got the composite filling and the cleaning.

I know that the dentist is perhaps a boring topic but I am still pretty impressed by the differences between my experience here and at my old dentist in Boston! First, he asked me if I wanted anesthetic for the filling. That was never a question in Boston, where they injected by default even for small cavities. I was a little nervous because I'm not too familiar with the no-anesthetic option, but I decided to go for it. It was a little uncomfortable, but the discomfort was brief, and I was actually kind of glad to miss out on the injection, which I remember being more painful than the drilling today was. Plus, the whole thing was over with more quickly because we didn't have to wait for the anesthetic to kick in. Yay!

I made an attempt to conduct everything in German but got caught three sentences into the dentist's spiel when I didn't understand him telling me the injection/no injection option. He had forgotten I was foreign because of my ever-so-German name. Oh well, I think they were all friendlier to me because I made a (sorry) attempt.

Then I got the cleaning. Here it was completely optional and by request. In the US, I had to get one twice a year per my insurance (both were covered) as a prophylactic. They recommend it just once a year, if you want it. It was also a very simple cleaning compared to what I always got in Boston. They said this was all I needed because my teeth were in good condition. In Boston they always told me that I had no tartar and that was great, but they obsessed over the apparently awful state of my gums, threatening me with root cleanings and scalings if I didn't shape up. Here she said my gums looked good too. Everything looked good. I can't believe the difference. Also, during her lecture, she told me to floss 2 to 3 times per WEEK! I got lectures to do it 2 times per day in Boston. Anyway, my teeth feel pretty good now and I'm glad I had it done, even if it's all psychological and really not necessary.


  1. I actually had a metal (amalgamated) filling removed and replaced with a composite. I also paid extra for that. They are much healthier (no mercury)and very good.I still haven't found a dentist here and I have to get my act together. All of us need appointments now, even Thing2 should have her 1st.

  2. I was surprised to get automatically an anesthetic here in the US for a simple filling. In Austria they never asked me if I wanted one.

  3. G: Well, I hope the composite holds up well. I read that the technology is getting better so maybe composites now are better than earlier ones, which were known to last less long than metal ones. Good luck finding a dentist you like!

    Bek: I think that in the last 10-20 years, dentists in the US have become very careful and really treat patients with kid gloves in order to attract them (essentially, marketing themselves as a good, unpainful dentist to choose). My husband was really horrified when I said I got it filled without anesthetic! It's just totally the opposite there.

  4. i didn't get a shot when i had a filling i don't think, they gave me some sort of topical numbing thing. i think? gosh i can't even remember.

    thank goodness it's taken care of! hooray!

  5. Sara: Hey, that works too. Plus it doesn't last as long, right? I guess in Boston they did the topical numbing before the shot (it tasted bad!!), but I always thought they did that as some kind of placebo and it didn't really work, because I still felt the shots.


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