After a hair raising few days in Romania it was finally time for me to go to the dentist for something other than food or entertainment.I was a little upset to discover that I need 7 root canals as opposed to 1 or 2 I had been expecting and I was even more upset to discover that my bloody teeth had felt the need to develop 4 or 5 canals on each and every root. The dentist was let me just say much nicer and more considerate than any medical professional I have ever dealt with before. The old dentist in England used to give me an anaesthetic injection and then within seconds start drilling away long before it had taken effect. I would walk home 15 minutes later and suddenly find that my face was going numb. The US dentist wasn’t much better and so Romania was the first time I actually had the opportunity to have my teeth drilled without feeling the pain. Sadly though as a recent study showed people with ginger hair are more susceptible to pain. (we are also apparently more like cavemen then other modern humans but that is a story for another day) Whilst he dispensed the anaesthetic freely and liberally at my command it didn’t work all of the time. In fact it was rather odd in that he would be giving me a root canal and in 3 canals I would feel nothing but in the other I would feel a pain greater than any ever encountered by humankind before. Luckily his assistant Gina was very good at eye contact.
When you have your mouth forced open with a blue plastic sheet draped over it to isolate one of your back teeth from saliva it is a little hard to communicate. To overcome this I developed a series of eye movements to communicate comfort, displeasure, fear and pain.A blink meant I was OK. A glance at Gina meant I felt a little discomfort. One raised eyebrow and a glare meant “That bleeding well hurt.” She was much more attentive than your usual Essex girl pony tailed dental assistant. For a start she seemed to know almost as much about dental work as the actual dentist and for another thing she would dab your forehead with a damp towel to calm your troubled brow or adjust your chair frequently to prevent you getting cramped. All in all she was like the angel of mercy in the sad and dark world of people who have crappy teeth. My teeth were pretty buggered, well all of the back ones anyway and all in all I needed no less than 15 crowns. The cost in the US would have been equivalent a months share earnings for Dick Cheney from haliburton but in Romania it workd out to about $200 dollars per crown. The root canals and everything else were priced in addition to that but for a fraction of the cost I was getting much better treatment and the best was yet to come.
The dentist had explained he would give me metal crowns with a ceramic cover for $200 bucks a pop. The dentist in the US had offered metal crowns with NO ceramic cover for $1000 a pop. However great as ceramic covers are nothing beats pure Hollywood style pure ceramic crowns that go for around $3000 each in L.A.
Would you believe that the technician who was to make the crowns had just one some kind of European “Crown maker of the year” contest and had been given free materials to make pure ceramic crowns for his next client on the provision that the client (that would be me) agreed to have the teeth photographed for display at a dental expo in Bucharest ? Well whether you choose to believe me or not that is exactly what happened ! The technician himself was rather an odd looking fellow. He seemd like your stereotypical bohemian artist. Everyone referred to him as “The master”. This concerned me just a little having grown up watching “Doctor Who” but Dr Savu assured me he was a master of his craft rather than a master of evil. He like everyone else took one look at my mercury riddled teeth and said “So you have come from an English dentist ?”
Apparently we English folks are well known in Europe for our metal fillings. Not any more. Now I have twinkiling ivories that Liberace would love to get his hands on.
The dental work was lengthy and Dr Savu and Gina spent many an hour gaping into my cake hole during the two weeks I was there but when all was said and done I was delighted with their handywork and they were delighted with my newly found ability to speak fluent Romanian after having hours upon end to decipher their dialect whilst lyeing on my back with very little else to do but learn. It was funny actually because for the first few days I had no idea what they were saying but by the end of two weeks I could understand at least 60% of what they were saying which was a surprise to them especially when they started talking about me and I explained that I knew what they were saying. They weren’t saying anything bad but all the same it seem to take them by surprise. Anyway dental work is dental work is dental work and I can’t wait to visit my dentist here and say “ha ha pal ! 20% of the price you wanted for far better work !”