The dental nightmare : The Tribune India

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The dental nightmare

The dental  nightmare

Photo for representation. File photo



Col PS Randhawa (retd)

AMERICAN poet Ogden Nash said: ‘Some tortures are physical and some are mental. But the one that is both is dental’. God forbid if you are in the US or a European country and you have to undergo dental treatment. It will definitely punch a hole in your pocket and upset your budget for the next few months.

I recently visited the US to be with my daughter. She had severe dental pain, and it affected more than one tooth. She had overlooked the problem for quite some time, but I was quite concerned to see her inability to chew hard food. On my insistence, she visited a dentist to get herself treated under the available insurance plan.

She came home exasperated. She said the bill for dental treatment under her medical plan would turn out to be $12,000. I was shocked. With half of this amount, she could fly to India, get her treatment done, and return in business class. No wonder for most NRIs who visit India, dental treatment is usually on the to-do list.

An old friend of mine, who had migrated to the US, narrated his woeful but amusing tale of dental treatment abroad. The filling of his molar had worn off, and he was unable to bear the pain. He had no option but to visit the dentist. As he could only converse in rudimentary English, he took along somebody who could explain his problem to the dentist.

The dentist, who happened to be an immigrant from East Asia, was told about my friend’s English handicap. As he settled in the patient’s recliner and the doctor examined his teeth, the latter asked him what he wanted. With the dentist’s tools still in his mouth, my friend said: ‘Fill’. The doctor heard it as ‘pull’. He sought confirmation from the patient and asked, ‘Pull?’, to which my friend nodded. He quickly administered local anaesthesia to the patient and proceeded with the treatment.

After the job was done, the patient was devastated to find a gaping hole instead of an aching tooth. The post-operation chaos had to be seen to be believed. He started arguing with the doctor in half Punjabi and half English. He was fuming in sheer disbelief. His trusted partner rushed in, only to realise that this whole matter was just a ‘fill vs pull’ comedy of errors. Minus one tooth, my friend vowed never to go for dental treatment abroad.

#United States of America USA


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