A visit to the hairdresser in another country can be daunting but what about the dentist?
I’ve had several experiences here with different dentists and all have been fine. Some have even been pleasant! I remember one in Barcelona telling me that in the sixties and seventies there were hardly any British dentists at the main conferences – dentistry was mostly NHS and this didn’t pay for extra training. We were chatting about the British mouth from the 50’s and 60’s – full of fillings!
Today was our first full day at Sant Nicolau. We went shopping and walked in the woods and just as we got cosy for the evening I made the mistake of eating a bar of Topic, and halfway through felt that dreaded crunch which was not one of the nuts. A moment of panic, then a gentle exploration revealed an enormous gap where last week I had felt something distinctly wiggly.
Helen gave me the number of a dentist in Figueres and after a quick phone call I left Bonnie behind in the cottage and set off at 5pm for an emergency appointment. By half past six I was back home with it all sorted out.
The cost? It was 50 euros for a large and permanent filling. Not bad is it? They didn’t make me have an x-ray or charge me extra for not being a permanent patient.
The dentist was a young guy with strangely comforting garlic breath. His assistant chatted to him all the way through, leaving me to my dreams. Stories about her brother in law and problems with the car. I sat, mouth agape, pressing madly on the acupuncture point on my hand for dental work. What I usually do is try to relax the muscles in my stomach and my neck and slip away into a parallel world. I could hear them laughing and joking as if it was on the radio. Sometimes he would pause with his thumb lodged in my mouth and utter exclamations like ‘Collons!’
Occasionally I surfaced when I realised he was talking to me.
‘Obrir’ ‘Tancar’ ‘Giri el cap’. ‘Mes ampli si us plau‘ Nothing too challenging to understand.
There is something ancient about the dentists chair. However much things have improved from the days of being held down and having your teeth yanked with only the help of a bottle of brandy, it still has that unpleasant feeling of being totally out of control and unable to communicate.
You are at their mercy.
Drills rattle, water splashes, metal things are tightened around teeth, soft rubbery things are lodged inside your gums, and that pipe is jiggled around inside your mouth which is supposed to keep you dry but often seems to have sprung a leak and jets cold water all over your face.
I never know exactly what is going on and I would hate to have to see it in a mirror.
There are dentists who want you to look inside and see the work. Something similar to the hairdresser who insists that you put on your glasses and make oh-ing and ah-ing noises at the end of a haircut.
Who wants to see the inside of their mouth or all around their head under a bright light and in public?
All we want to do is get through it, pay up at the front desk and run.
Back home and it feels like a dream already. There are two more bars of Topic in the fridge but I will wait for tomorrow.
If you want a dentist in Figueres they are called Clínica Dental Figueres and they are right next door to the vets on Avinguda Salvador Dali. They were incredibly friendly and efficient.