Going to the dentist on Friday the 13th

13 Jun

Well, I’m not superstitious and neither is the dentist. She said I had only 12 cavities, not 13. Now seriously–12 cavities? I think I’ve had three in my whole life! I can remember many times in the US when the dentist would say, “dental mumbo jumbo #18–watch.” Which is being translated, “there is some decay here, but we don’t have to treat it yet.” When the kids recently went to the Peruvian dentist, we were likewise amazed at how many cavities they had suddenly acquired. Fortunately, the dentist I went to today has the coolest gadget–a wireless dental cam so I could see on the screen in front of me exactly what she was proposing to drill and fill. There were two genuine holes (“cavities”), albeit extremely tiny, but the rest was just decay in the cracks or in the case of my rear molars, decay on the back surface of the tooth. My dentist agreed to treat only six of the most serious and watch the others.

The back story I got from a local is that most Peruvians don’t go to the dentist very often. Thus, there have been cases where a dentist would see a tiny area of decay and not treat it, only to have the patient return years later when it had become a real problem and is much more expensive to treat. Thus, the state now has dental supervisors or something like that who challenge even the tiniest untreated areas. Having experienced the official attention to detail here (both positive and negative), I’m not too surprised to find this attitude likewise applied to teeth.

Thankfully, dental work here costs about a fifth of what it does in the States. In fact, some people facing extensive dental work in the US such as crowns and restorations fly to Peru to get it done and save money overall. Therefore, if you are looking at major dental work, we’d like to suggest you come visit us 🙂 You have a place to stay and we can recommend a good dentist nearby with all the latest equipment, very hygienic, etc….

My visit really did feel very much like the US. Only the chair was substandard as there was only a pillow for a neck rest, which I had to adjust regularly. Otherwise, it felt pretty much like normal: sitting in a white spaceship lounge chair with octopus arms, big lights overhead and all manner of blowers, suckers, squirters, pickers, ultrasonic water blasters, noisy drills, rolls of gauze, UV blow dryer, and other such necessities. And today was the first time I’ve ever seen a dental cam, pretty cool. Very high tech, Peru is getting to be. Only thing I didn’t get was novocaine…. Actually, they have that, too, but I almost always do without. A friend once told me it’s quite unnecessary for shallow cavities, and I have found this to be true. Oh, and between Daniel and I, we learned a bunch of new Spanish vocabulary: “morde, abre, no cerre, áspiro, caries, curaciones, y carilla” to name a few. Most words are evident from the corresponding actions, and you can’t really talk to the dentist, anyway. Overall, I’m really thankful for good, local dental care and enough facility with the language that it wasn’t scary to visit the Spanish-speaking dentist even on Friday the 13th.


6 Responses to “Going to the dentist on Friday the 13th”

  1. r gillett June 13, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

    Dear David, Thanks for the update. I forwarded it to my oldest son, who is in dental school! (He also is fluent in Spanish). Your blog is amazing. It is hard for me to imagine you all grown up, married, and with children! Your family was such a blessing to me when you were at Soverign Grace Church. I suppose since your parents moved to Kentucky you will probably not be visiting Kansas? Someday we might venture to Peru. Mochipichu (not sure of the spelling) is on the “bucket list”. My youngest son, Joshua, is at Baylor now and is studying Engineering. I think he would be interested in working with you next summer if you have a position available. He is studying electrical and computer engineering. He also speaks some Spanish. Anyway, it is good to hear from you – especially that you are still following HIM. Sincerely, Becky Richardson Gillett

  2. Mary Margaret Moore June 14, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    David, since your decay is really shallow, have you looked into oil pulling? It is a controversial subject. But I thought I’d give it it try as it would not hurt and might help. I’m using coconut oil. Has whitened my teeth, helped with overall healthy feel in my mouth, less plaque, grungy feeling. I have many large fillings. Wish I’d known about oil pulling when I was younger and before I had to have so many fillings. As always, enjoy your blogs and continue praying for your whole family.

  3. Millie DePena June 14, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    Spooky story!!! No mas dulces para ti amigo! By the way, the verbs. morder and cerrar are stem changing verbs( show verbs) The commands for these will be: muerde(familiar) or muerda (formal) and cierre (formal) or cierra (familiar). Soon you will all be expert billinguals!!

    Profe Millie

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

    • David Chandler June 15, 2014 at 10:32 am #

      Thanks, Millie. Funny, I thought about correcting my typo in “cierre” because I know about that one. “muerde” puzzled me because I knew it was a stem-changer but it really sounded like she was saying “morde.” I thought maybe it was the noun, but she was probably using the familiar “muerde” as you point out. Thanks!

  4. Millie DePena June 14, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    Oops! Shoe verbs, not show verbs. Also called boot verbs, they change in every subject pronoun except nosotros and vosotros.

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  5. Kristen June 17, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    Just a thought on cavities. One of our kids was struggling with multiple cavities for a short while. (6 cavities in one visit!) I started researching online and found a product that we’ve been using and it has really helped. It’s a mouthwash with xylitol (which can remineralize smaller amounts of decay)-it’s called Xyliwhite made by NOW foods. I buy it on a website called iherb.com. Not sure if it’s possible to get it shipped internationally. Just thought I’d throw that out there. You can also buy gum with xylitol. Many blessings to you and your family!

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