Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Visit to the Dentist

Hi Everyone,
Yesterday I had a visit to see my dentist. He’s very good—he’s really a specialist here, in Prague. My dentist is a great and funny guy, who also cares about his patients. My husband has visited him for several years, and when I moved here, the dentist agreed to take me on as a patient. That is not an easy thing since I suffer greatly from TMJ—temporomandibular joint dysfunction. TMJ makes visiting the dentist a hard thing as it causes more pain and discomfort during and after dental procedures. For more information about this condition, please see http://www.tmj.org/tmjds.asp. I also have severe allergies and asthma, and was not certain how my body would react to the different medicines they use here for numbing the pain! Poor me and poor dentist!!

I had heard so many horror stories about dentists in this country—about how they are rough, not clean, don’t use up-to-date drills, etc.! I was a bit nervous, well, actually, scared to visit the dentist that first time! My husband had talked to his dentist before I came and let him know that I had TMJ. Jiři (my husband) assured me that the dentist did understand TMJ and how to deal with it. OK. He also talked to the dentist about my allergies and asthma and the dentist said he understood. OK. Next, we set up the first appointment. I was pretty nervous, well, actually scared!!

Our dentist’s office is in a nice, but older building near Anděl, Prague 5. I was not used to seeing buildings that are older and sometimes a bit on the crumbly side. That made me a little more apprehensive. I was used to having a dentist in a fairly recent building that was nice on the outside, and had a well-manicured lawn, etc.! Seeing the building of our dentist, here, made me a little bit more apprehensive! I was not used to these things when I first came to the Czech Republic, and so based some of my expectations on the outside of buildings. That doesn’t really work here!

We got inside the building, and the entrance hall was good-sized and much nicer than the outside of the building—done in an older style, but very clean and nice, really. I was so shocked by this! If you see a building on the outside, in the US, and it looks like it’s older and not well-kept, then you can expect that the offices inside are shabby and probably dirty, and that they don’t have decent employees, etc.! Anyway, we took an elevator up to the dentist’s floor, and it was even nicer up there…and his waiting room was very nice. I’ve never seen a waiting room that is as clean as his (actually, my other doctors also have very clean waiting areas here)! Especially considering the outside of the building looked older and wasn’t as nice! That is one of the oxymorons of living here! You can’t judge the quality of an office by the outside of the building! The waiting room was very clean, very modern and up-to-date, but my apprehension was still pretty high!

Finally, it was my turn to see the dentist. My husband came with me as the dentist doesn’t speak too much English! (Which also added to my then high level of apprehension!!!) Our dentist is probably in his mid-40’s, balding, and is tall. He seemed very nice. The office was immaculate in all ways! And he had very up-to-the-minute dental tools! The dentist examined my teeth and told us what work needed to be done. One thing, though, he didn’t take any x-rays! I asked about that…he just smiled! That was making me nervous, as in the US, a typical first dental exam always includes a full set of x-rays! Well, evidently, not here! OK…well…that was a bit surprising, but he seemed to know what he was talking about! We set up my next appointment right away.

Since then, I’ve had many visits to our dentist. He is very caring and tries to be gentle. There is only one thing that I really miss, though, and that is laughing gas that they have available at most dentists’ in the US. I love that stuff, as it calms me down and makes me very relaxed. It also lessens the pain when you have something like TMJ. But they don’t use it here, in the Czech Republic! I have been able to get through most of my dental appointments without the gas. But right now, we are working on my lower teeth, and the pain’s pretty fierce from my TMJ. Our dentist is aware of this, and he is trying to do a little work at a time. That should help a lot, rather than doing a lot of work in a short time. I will have a period of recovery in between visits!

I have heard from others that very talented dentists and good dentists are very hard to find here. Those horror stories I heard, before moving here, are true! But I have been very lucky and blessed to have such a good dentist here! There are other options for expats that include dentists who are from the West and have offices here. But, I’m living here as if I was a Czech, and those expats’ dentists are very expensive, and usually don’t accept the Czech health insurance plan I have. So, I have opted to stay within the Czech system on all things, including the dental. And so far, this has been a good way for me to go. If you come to live here, it is possible to find a good and talented dentist! Just be sure to ask people where you work, or even check out the Expats’ website: Expats.cz. They offer very helpful information on many topics for people who are moving here.

Have a great day!

God bless,
© 2008 by czechoffhthebeatenpath

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