Never backward about coming forward when it comes to saying it as it is, I was lucky I was sitting down when I saw the estimate for the work I need done on my teeth. Yet it’s not like it was really a surprise. I’ve been expecting some dentist or other to give me the bad news for a few years now, but none seemed brave enough to venture anywhere closer than ‘you’ll need those looked at … at some stage’.
Back in 1994, hospitalised with a metal allergy, I had all my amalgam fillings replaced with porcelain. I was told then that I might (might!) get 10 years out of them before they needed to be replaced again. Do the math. It’s now 2013. Since I’ve moved to Budapest, I’ve been dentist-hopping, going on recommendations, looking for that elusive pain-free experience. I’ve even fallen for one of them (a gorgeous man with a lovely smile – maybe I should have asked who his dentist was!); been to another’s clinic/apartment where he showed me all sorts of gold fillings, advising that I invest in my mouth instead of the stock market; and woke up with a mouthful of unnecessary work in a third.
I’m one of the most reasonable women you’ll ever meet. I don’t ask for much.
- I don’t want to be kept waiting. If I have a 9.30 appointment, I want to be in that chair by 9.33 latest (I’ve adapted SAY’s seven-minute rule to three minutes). I have no desire to sit in a waiting room waiting for my name to be called as my morning dwindles away to lunchtime and into early afternoon.
- I want undivided attention. The dentist is one occasion when it is all about me. I don’t want my dentist running back and forth between patients, working up a sweat, taking an all-too-obvious brief moment to acquaint himself with the job in hand each time he pops back into my mouth. I want him there all the time: focused, calm and reassuring… with his powder dry.
- I want to know what’s being done and why. And I want it in simple English. Don’t show me an x-ray – I’m not trained to read them. Take a colour photograph that even I can understand.
- I want to know, up front, what this is all going to cost. None of this ‘at least… ‘ or ‘in the region of … ‘ I want an itemised inventory of everything from the fluoride treatment to the cost of the porcelain itself and any possible extras. Give me the worst-case scenario and let me get the heart attack over with before you drug me.
- I want some empathy. I HATE going to the dentist and while, yes, I’m supposedly an adult and mature enough to take the pain and the stress and the whatever that comes with having a drill bit rotating at a 1000 rpm just inches from my nostrils, I want someone to feel my angst, to understand my concerns, and to be at one with the terrified child within.
- And most of all, I don’t want to feel one teeny, tiny twinge. I don’t even want to feel the needle that injects the anaesthetic. No pain. I can do the mild discomfort that comes with opening wide and tilting back so that all the blood rushes to my head, but no pain. None. I want pain-free dentistry.
Now, is that really too much to ask? Well, you’d think I was asking to be Queen of England or to fit into Sarah Jessica Parker’s cast-offs. How far does one have to travel in a city that has more dentists per capita that any other city in the world? [Don’t quote me on that – I made it up – it just seems like it could be true!]
Well, now that I’ve found my dream dentist, I can either get a metro and a bus, or a tram, or a tram and a bus. And yes, I do have to cross the river. But that’s a small price to pay, considering.
- Open from 7am til 1pm, they take 4 or 5 patients a day so no waiting (and I got a locker for my stuff with my own key!).
- Only one patient is treated at any given time so I got undivided attention.
- The colour photos were gross – but they did the job – and the talk though each procedure was clear and concise.
- The bill was itemised to the nth degree (option to pay in euro or forint).
- My child within survived.
- No pain… not even the tiniest little bit. Nothing!
Dr Mohos Dental, District XII. Szendi utca. No. 16. +36 30 430 8552
Hungarian, German, English, and Irish spoken 🙂