Our meeting was forced by my sensitive nature. I'm talking about my sensitive teeth of course. And the woman with the kind eyes is Dr. Helli, our new dentist. I knew it was time once again for my kids dental exams. It was on my list to get that done. (I swear.) It skipped up to the top of the list when I feared that the new and sudden pain in my mouth was a cracked tooth. She is a pediatric dentist, but we're all just big kids anyway right? Especially when it comes to going to the dentist.
Now as an aside, I feel bad for anyone in the dental industry. They are probably the most hated people on the planet. Nothing personal mind you. It's just that you chose a painful profession. I would say that you are a lovely person regardless of your career choice, but now I'm wondering why someone would want to look in someone else's mouth all day. Halitosis, rotting teeth, cavities, drills, those wicked pick things........ewwwwwwwwwwwww! What's wrong with you? On top of all this to have the name Dr. Helli.... just exacerbates the dread. And I must say that I think that she should change her name. A dentist with a name that includes hell in it....well that's just too damn intimidating (and funny at the same time).
Teeth in a 3rd world country really are a status symbol. Dental care is reserved for the rich. (Ironically, it costs significantly less to get your teeth taken care of here than in the states where we have that wonderful dental insurance industry of ours.) One trip through the medina and you will see countless people with rotting or missing teeth. This is good incentive when you need to get your kids to brush their teeth. Remember the old guy selling olives at the medina with no front teeth? Do you wanna be him kids? Better brush for the full 2 minutes.....no cheating! Kids don't get to see these visual cautionary tales in the States. We are a country full of people with beautiful teeth. Not only do you probably have most of your own teeth, they might even have been straightened to perfection with orthodontics So while I have a deep seated fear of dentists from traumatic dentists visits past, I'm thankful for everyone of them and my orthodontist. I am cringing while I write this. My sister reminds me every so often that I was the fortunate child of 6 to be the only one to receive braces. So take that for some dental guilt. I was raised Catholic after all.
We have an incredible pediatric dentist in Colorado Springs. So I feel like a traitor bringing my kids to a new dentist....like I'm cheating on my kids regular dentist or something. More dental guilt. Maybe I should do some Hail Marys? But alas, it must be done (the dental visit, not the Hail Marys). The kids are all nervous. It's the dentist how can they not be? And a it's a Moroccan dentist who speaks little English and they don't know what to expect. There's no one else in the office. I think it's the time of year cause alot of people go away during August and Ramadan. So it's only one exam chair, 4 kids, Dr. Helli, her assistant and me. The kids climb onto the chair one at a time for their exam and every kid is cavity free until we get to kid #4. What are the odds that 4 kids are cavity free? Not a chance. Kid #4 has a small cavity that they can take care of right now. No lines, no waiting. In the states your kid would live in constant fear for the 2 weeks until you could get another appointment to drill it. But this isn't the states. "Do it now?" she asks. I hope we're talking about the cavity still. "Sure", I say nodding my head (as she might not understand sure means yes in American slang).
Now in America a cavity as small as this one could be done with a laser. Dr. Helli ain't got no laser though. She whips out her drill (no Novocaine necessary), and fills it, then has this thing that looks like a glue gun. I don't know what the hell (or helli) it is. I would love to have gotten the camera to take a picture of the glue gun, but we were all crowding child #4 on the chair to watch the whole fascinating process. (Oh yeah, and to support child #4 too.)Then it was done. The quickest and most painless, as child #4 reported, dental procedure in recorded history! And trust me, none of my kids would water the pain quotient down.
At the end of the visit she wanted to give me an update on the kids dental health. Since she doesn't know English and I don't know French/Arabic she calls her sister (who went to University in the states) to translate exactly what she wants to tell me into English. Everything is perfectly clear. I got 4 dental exams, a cavity found and filled, made "small" talk (extremely small, small talk) and got a translator to clarify our dental destiny. All of this in 20 minutes time. And get this....the bill for all this without any dental insurance........ dat dah dah dah.............$25!!!
Question my love of the woman with the purple veil no longer.
****I have referred to the cavity filled child as child #4 to protect his/her identity in the Cavity Protection Program.****