Friday, June 13, 2008

Fun With Dentists

I really enjoyed going to the dentist’s office today. This is not normally the case. I’ve had a fear of dentists and the pain of toothwork since early childhood. I used to start worrying and agonizing days before an actual appointment! Thankfully, dentistry and dentists have come a long way since those days. But going to a dentist’s office is still pretty low on my list of life’s enjoyable experiences!

But today was different. I was really looking forward to this appointment. That’s probably because it was actually Kathy’s :) And while she was in the hot seat, I got to sit in the waiting room and spent a truly enjoyable hour reading through past issues of Macleans magazine. Now that’s my definition of an ideal dentist appointment!

However, my turn is coming. We’ve left it to the last months of our time in Canada, but dental check-ups and any necessary toothwork is one of the things that needs to be done before we return to Burkina Faso in September. The same is true of eye exams, complete physical checkups, and vaccinations. Kathy got new glasses last year and I just got new ones a few weeks ago. Thankfully, unlike most dental work, this was relatively painless. Except for the bill. Ouch! Why do these things cost so much? We can make electronic devices that require much more physical material and are of infinitely greater complexity than a pair of glasses, yet cost less to buy. What am I missing here?

Now we’re starting on the dental work. While this involves some degree of both physical and monetary pain, it’s much preferable to having dental work done in Burkina. The trick for us, living in a different place each time we come home, is finding a good dentist.

The last time we were home, we lived in Orillia. Not knowing which dentist to go to, we got some recommendations and I made some phone calls. In an effort to find the best one, each member of our family was booked to go to a different dentist. In the end, we ended up going with mine. She was reasonably priced, took care to work with us in light of our financial situation and what really needed to be done, and above all she always talked to us about what she was doing. The other dentists were reasonably priced too, but were not so willing to work with us. They preferred to do everything possible and sometimes just went ahead and did things without talking to us at all. An unsympathetic attitude and a few surprise bills and we were outta there!

This time, because we’re living in Barrie, Kathy tried a dentist here first. She gave it a good shot, but in the end, it was the same thing. After a few “open up, shut up, and pay up” appointments, we decided to not waste more time and money looking in Barrie, but to go back to our former dentist again. Fortunately, Orillia is only a half hour drive away, so it’s not a big deal. And fortunately, my first appointment is still a couple of weeks away, so I don’t have to start sweating just yet!

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