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He left me speechless

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My dentist, that is. My new dentist, out here in Macondo-land. He left me speechless.

I went for a cleaning today, my first since November 2008, since I left Canada. That's a long time, according to my every-3-month instructions from my previous dentist. Every 3 months I would go and get the usual scraping and be reminded about the precarious situation of my gums, the absolute necessity that I floss religiously.

Well, Dr. Macondo had a different take on things. He polished the outside part of my 6 top teeth and 6 bottom teeth, and he told me to come back in 6 months.

Me: What? You're not going to scold me and shame me? You're not going to scrape my gums while I wince and watch whatever awful daytime TV the hygienist wants to foist upon me?

Dr. Macondo actually said this: No, don't worry. You don't have any plaque. The water here is very good - the only people with plaque are either heavy smokers or heavy maté drinkers.

Now, wait a minute. Aside from the fact that I drink my share of maté, doesn't everybody have plaque?

I must say, I liked it. I'm not sure if it is total dental negligence, or just a different approach.

Maybe, instead of the unattainable Canadian ideal of perfect teeth and gums until death, the idea here is more like: check in every now and then to make sure you don't have any cavities or anything else we need to worry about.

Like my ongoing, unofficial, unscientific survey of pap smear experiences here in Argentina, I am going to start investigating the dental situation. I will keep you posted. And I may end up going elsewhere for a second opinion, or a good thorough cleaning.


Katie said...

Hmmm, I would get a second opinion if I were you (and I'm no fan of the dentist, trust me!). I don't drink mate or smoke, but I still get the plaque scraped off my teeth by my dentist here in Necochea.

Hobo Mama said...

I want your dentist!! I hate the shaming and the shilling. Here it's always how my gums are receding. And I'm supposed to halt the aging process how? My 34-year-old husband, on the other hand, keeps being offered braces. Braces! He points out that he is not a model and has no desire to be. And his teeth are naturally straight! I hope Mikko has inherited them, because mine were a hot mess and needed braces (leading to receding gums -- see?).

Katie said...

Being guilted into corrective orthodontics is one thing, but in my mind, a thorough cleaning (including tartar removal) is a standard part of modern dental practices.

macondo mama said...

Hobo Mama: I am totally with you.


I must say, as much as I dislike all the scraping, Katie has a point. Ever since I came home from the dentist last week without that freshly-cleaned post-dentist feel, I've become increasingly convinced that that can't be a good thing.

I could definitely do without the shaming and the offer of unwanted aesthetic "fixes", but I think I'll go get that 2nd opinion and try to hold on to my teeth for as long as I can.

Incidentally, a topic for another post -

Mothers with 2 or more kids here are easily divided into 2 groups separated by class:
Those with all their teeth (or prosthetics) and those with missing teeth. It is quite striking.

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