Thursday, May 5, 2011

Language Barrier

Yesterday I went to my final root canal appointment to get a permanent filling and be done with this ridiculously long and expensive procedure. (Although compared to what it would have been without insurance, it wasn't that expensive.) I've only been to this dentist once before, but she seems like she knows what she's doing. The only problem is sometimes she can't really explain what she's doing. Or I can't really understand the words that are coming out of her mouth.

My dentist is Russian. And while she has a pretty good command of the English language, her accent can be a bit thick at times and she has trouble finding the appropriate words to use to be clear in her explanations. Case in point:

dentist (use your best Russian accent): You are going to need anesthesia.

me: Oh, ummm, ok?

dentist: Ok, how do your root canal go?

me: It went well. Dr. Gross did a great job. And he bleached my tooth so it doesn't look discolored anymore! (show her tooth)

dentist: Yes, yes, he does a great job with dat. Now today what I am going to do is put a post in. Your tooth is very weak and it needs (bumping fists together) needs reinforcement.

me: So is a post different than a permanent filling?

dentist: (looks at me like she can't believe how little I know about dental work) Ok, yes. Here, let me show you. Dis is thee post. It is translucent.

me: Ok so you're going to put the post in and not a filling?

dentist: Ok what we are going to do today is a permanent filling. And the post will help your tooth.

me: (thinking to myself) Despite trying to get a better explanation, I'm still not 100% sure what is going on. Is she going to gas me? Is the post going to be drilled into my bone? Why do I need anesthesia? Is she talking about just numbing me?

dentist: Ok so you don't need anesthesia.

me: Oh alright?

dentist: Are we good?

me: Yes. We're good.

dentist: Let's get started.

So by the end of that conversation I still didn't have a clear idea of what was going on. Later when she had finished putting the post and the filling in she had me bite down on a blue piece of something. She didn't explain what this was, but kept saying, "Just juujsh it around. Juujsh juujsh juujsh juujsh." Ummm, what??????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Up until that day, I had never had a filling...ever! I finally figured out (on my own) that when I bit down on the paper it would show where my bottom tooth was touching the filling. Then she would file the filling down so there wasn't any pressure on the tooth.

I used to feel bad about trying to find doctors whose native language is English. But after that whole "juujsh" incident, I don't feel bad anymore.

Language barrier and all, my root canal is finally finished.


Losing Brownies said...

Yeah, I'm with you. I don't want to be intollerant or appear to be insensitive, but if I can't understand my doctor I can't see them.

vdg family said...

You are doing great, in my opinion. Good work just getting it done, which is no small feat!

Lindsay said...

I search for English speaking doctors for the very same reason! I'm glad your tooth is doing better!

Chelsea said...

was she saying "squish"? Cause you are supposed to rub your teeth around on that blue thing. I would have freaked out though, you did way better than I would have done. Good for you for atleast giving it a whirl!