martes, 31 de agosto de 2010

La Dentista

I can't explain how happy a good visit to the dentist can make me. But I'll try.

First, it helps to know what it's like to visit a bad dentist. For the first 30 years of my life, I had no idea what a less-than-perfect dental checkup was. After moving to Saltillo, our dental insurance was finally in order when I was 8 months pregnant. It had been at least 3 years since I had seen a dentist. Therefore, when the dentist told me that I had my first cavity--no, not my first cavity, but SEVEN first cavities--I was not completely surprised.

The cavities were filled when Clara was about 5 months old and it was a pain I chalked up to equaling childbirth. Obviously, I'm a little irrational when confronting pain. In retrospect, it wasn't near that bad. However, the Novocaine wasn't working 100% on the left side. It's an experience I'm hoping I'll never have to repeat.

Therefore, getting all the damage of 3 years of dental neglect and a calcium-sucking pregnancy out of the way, I was expecting a glowing report after my next cleaning. However, thanks to new insurance, I had to look for a new dentist. As I wasn't a huge fan of the man who filled my cavities (although he did appear very competent), I was looking forward to the change.

I called for an appointment at an impressive, US-style clinic downtown. Awed by their multiple consult rooms, state of the art equipment, receptionist, and magazines, I was getting a little giddy. And the dentist wanted to replace my ugly gray fillings with white resins. Sweet. If insurance covered most of the cost, that sounded great!

But, by the time my consult was finished, the dentist found SEVENTEEN cavities that he thought should be filled with resin. SEVENTEEN! That's about one cavity for every two teeth! For me, who's never had a cavity in my life before. At least, until I moved to Mexico and started seeing Mexican dentists.

Yeah, and the total of my 20% copay was well over 3000 pesos--equal to a month's rent! And that was with insurance included!

I canceled the appointment for my fillings and consulted the yellow pages again.

And I stumbled across Dra. Mariza Valdes Valdes. Dear heavens, I love her.

Yes, I have to go all the way across town to visit her. However, instead of insisting on filling all my cavities, she commented that they were tiny cavities. She recommended just watching them to see if they get any bigger. Or to perhaps use sealants, like on kids' teeth, to keep them in check. But she didn't want to damage the surrounding healthy tooth by drilling out those tiny cavities. Yes--someone who makes sense!

After my second cleaning with her, we're still just on watch with the cavities. And she has an ultra-sound wand to clean my teeth--so weird, so messy, but my teeth come out so clean. It's got an irritating, high-pitched whistle and sprays water all over my face ("the bath comes free", she told me). But it's the cleanest my teeth have ever felt.

I think I even convinced Mario to visit her.

Anyone in Saltillo, if you want the name of shady dentist (so as to avoid him), I'm happy to pass that information on through email.