Monday, 19 July 2010

"Open Wide and Say...Ouch!"

Both Eggie and I have had the (dis)pleasure of a recent dental visit here in Bali:

Egg because his tooth started hurting and needed a filling - and me because a piece of my back tooth recently broke off when biting into a delicious (tasty that is) apple.

Asking around it appeared we had two options.

Option 1:  'Doctor Gigi'...a little white sign on a tiny dirt road up a dark alleyway indicates that if one were to follow the dubious looking path, one might very well reach some sort of dental 'surgery' (and i use that term losely) at the end of it.  What bothers me is its' proximity to the big dirty livestock market and the fact that such an establishment may well cater for pigs as well as people, so I cannot take the risk - even if it were to cost pennies.

Option 2:  "The Sayan Aesthetic Institute"...attached to an uber-posh hotel (so far so good) this place boasts cosmetic dentistry, liposuction and botox as one of the many treats on offer.  So after a routine dental visit one could presumably lose ones muffin top, decrease their facial wrinkle to smile ratio AND get a full new set of pearly whites...if one so desired.

There was no hesitation.  Off to the 'Institute' Egg and I went.

The first difference I noted (from a typical London practice that is), was the absence of any muttering old ladies with loose dentures taking up the best seats in the waiting room.  Also, I wasn't made to wait for nearly an hour because the dentist was running late.

Instead, I was ushered in to a lovely waiting area, where three helpful staff were on hand to answer all my questions (in a courteous fashion I might add) - which made a welcome change from the typical insolent chewing-gum-smacking-school-leaver glued to the phone, who often doubles as a 'receptionist' in the more unfortunate dental practices I've had the displeasure to visit in London.

The dentist herself was lovely, soft spoken and oh so gentle.  When I say gentle, I mean the kind of kid glove handling that you'd have to pay thousands for in London.  It was the first injection I've ever had where I could barely feel it.  You know why?  Because instead of jabbing the needle into someones mouth and shooting the painful medicine straight in while the patient tears out a piece of the armrest in agony, the dentist took her sweet old time - and what a difference!

Seriously.  It wasn't pleasant, but nor did it hurt.  She first numbed the area with gel, then slowly, slowly injected me with such skill and finesse that I barely noticed what was going on (to be fair, I had my eyes squeezed shut and was listening to 'The Big Pink' on full volume...but still)

All this to say, I could get used to this level of service.  I really could. And to top it all off, the cost of treatment is roughly half of what you'd pay in Europe.

Hmmm.....kind of makes the whole idea of getting a superstar smile rather tempting.

And hey - while I'm at it I suppose I could go for a whole face and body overhaul.

Then I could look like one of those queer specimens with slightly too-white tombstone teeth, a frozen grin and a suspiciously lithe bikini body where previously there lived some extraneous flesh.

Though who am I kidding?  Being a hardcore needle phobic, the chances of me altering myself medically (unless it were to be the installation of an under-the-skin cappuccino patch) are nil.

The husband need not worry.  No chance that I'll drain our savings account by 'getting a little work' done on the off chance he's late to pick me up after my appointment.

Which happened today incidentally.  Except the husband was in a soundproofed music studio with a few mates, making like Jimmy Hendrix on drums and bass, while I stood tragically at the reception desk afterward, mouth numbed and slobbering like idiot, trying to get them to ring a taxi for me.

Only thing was, I couldn't explain where I lived (I possess very little sense of direction) and couldn't recall our exact address.  Add to this the physical limitations of having both sides of your mouth AND your tongue frozen, and the resulting inability to form any vowels whatsoever, and you have a pretty good picture of the level of tragi-comedy which ensued.

The attentive staff were arguing amongst themselves in local dialect about which of them would have to put the slobbering 'Bule' (Westerner) on the back of their scooter and attempt a hopeless exercise in navigation with a girl who clearly had no clue, when I suddenly remembered that my girlfriend was meant to be driving around in the area.

The palpable sighs of relief when I explained that I would no longer need a ride, made me love them all over again.

Now imagine that sort of service in London...

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