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.