February 02, 2012
Of course, our first experience with permanent teeth had to be this. And of course it had to happen two days after returning from Thailand, where such a thing would have been no problem. Here, however, dentists are known to fumble with money while wearing their rubber gloves, and then stick those gloves back in their patients' mouths. That, or skip gloves altogether. Gas? Not likely. Anesthetic? If you're lucky. Clean tools? They look shiny enough.
We called Uncle Philip (a.k.a. Philip S. Morton, DDS) who said we could wait until we come to Arkansas this summer, but the sooner that baby tooth gets yanked, the better. He suggested at least going in for a consultation. OK. That sounded safe enough to us.
So this morning, after a quick breakfast, we loaded the family into the mian bao che and headed to the north side of town. We passed a leather shop, and a noodle shop selling steamed buns, parking just in front of a dark shop with two dental chairs tucked into the second room. A very friendly dentist greeted us, and even spoke a few words of English! (such as, "no pain" and "no problem.") Before we knew it, Bright had a paper towel pinned beneath his chin and a needle headed for his gums.
The kid was a champ, though, I've got to say. I had promised that if he took it like a man, he would find a very nice sum of money under his pillow tomorrow. After the local had been administered, with only a brief, "Ow" from him, Bright looked at me and asked, "Was that worth 10 kuai?"
"At least," I said, smiling. "Maybe 20."
In the end, the tooth was horsed out of his mouth, and we paid the dentist a whopping 50 kuai (about $8.50) and went on our merry way. Bright spent the rest of the day eating coconut cream pie and walking taller than usual. And there you have it, our first baby tooth is out.
Let's hope that doesn't involve anesthetic.
at 11:49 PM