About Latvian Dentists and Other Doctors

Today I went in for two consultations.

The first one was a form of physical therapy cum massage, during which I basically got a massage. The woman I went to see was recommended to me by a co-worker who has known the woman for some time. Though the better part of the consultation (pretty great that the consultations are so hands-on some of the time) was mostly trying to work out the ridiculous stiffness in my right shoulder and shoulder blade, a tiny part at the beginning was spent with my head being suspended with the help of a strap, then turned this way and that. This ended up being to make sure the problem wasn’t in my spine. The best part of all of it? Massages like this are (rightly) considered a medical procedure, in my case is most likely a result of my working conditions and is covered by my insurance. Which I paid for, I know, but still.

The goal is to get me in for another 9 sessions to knock this thing out of my park, so to speak.

The second consultation was with a dentist, to determine if the apparent upward-crescent shaped wear in the bottom of my right front tooth (hah, seems as if the entire right side of my body is having troubles) was actually a wear, or a chip, and if it could be fixed. It’s pretty widely known that Latvian dentists have good reputations for being skilled, efficient, and inexpensive. Many practices advertise to tourists who are looking for “medical vacation” options. Anyway, I went to the consultation and was told by the dentist that I had a few options for fixing what he determined was a chip in the enamel of my tooth. One was to fill it in with the same stuff used for filling cavities, but which would probably fall out within a week to a month later. Another option was to get ceramic caps, I guess they would be, which would be the most drastic option. Then he remembered he could always kind of “buff down” the corner of the chipped tooth to make it look even. When he said “buff”, I heard “file”. I said it seemed to make more sense than a filling.

So I’m sitting in the patient’s chair, thinking about how I’m going to have to decide on what to do, then make another appointment, when the back of my chair is moving down and the dentist takes the buffer/filer and I have just enough time to realise what is about to happen and open my mouth. Water droplets fly everywhere to the whir of the buffer. I’m handed a mirror, and then I lose it. I laugh so hard form the bottom of my stomach up that the dentist and his assistant just look at me for a few moments before nervously laughing with and asking what is going on. But I’m laughing too hard to accurately explain that something like that would NEVER happen in America; there would be questions, new appointments made, lots of murmuring and thinking… I manage to say something about how everything looks good and it’s great, but it’s just so damn funny to come in for a consultation and next thing you know your teeth are being filed down.

The dentist stopped me there and said it wasn’t “filing”, but “buffing”. So I kept laughing, this time with him and the assistant laughing with me. Then the dentist says “Well, there’s nothing really for me to do here”, then tells me I can go see the hygienist if I want, so my trip here isn’t wasted. And I did. I waited 30 minutes, but I had thought to bring a book and wasn’t bothered. All in all… a very good day for medical visits. I have yet to be disappointed by dentists in Latvia, though I’ve only seen three specialists to date.

I also think I did well enough on the written and analogies part of the GRE to make up for how shameful the math section will turn out :D

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