October 2008



So this morning I was eating my favorite breakfast: Kolln Müsli Schoko when I bit into something hard.

Fishing it out of my mouth, I looked at it and thought, that’s odd: that doesn’t look like a rock. My tongue went into immediate search mode and a split second later I realized, I had broken a tooth.

It’s not the Müsli’s fault, it just is—and since I have never bothered to go to the dentist in Germany, I had the vague feeling I was screwed. Usually I go to my favorite dentist back in the States—he’s funny, nice, and competent—plus he has a language advantage. He and I both speak English fluently.

Down the street from where I live there’s a dentist’s office that I pass quite regularly—something about the large tooth on the door clued me in—so I opted to try him out this morning. I got there and after a minimal amount of hand holding, I was ensconced in a cozy chair in reception awaiting my turn. This is a place where I’m not really good—I start to panic thinking about shots of Novocain and pain. Honestly, when it comes to getting my teeth cleaned, I’m fine with it. The second we have to move to getting a shot, I’m a complete and utter wimp. Needless to say, the 10 minutes I waited were not fun for me. I basically started to panic.

Actually it was probably less than ten minutes later when the receptionist called me back into a room. The room was filled with what I can only describe as a space-aged setup. A video monitor was right above the seat so that I could watch (yeech), the chair was controlled by two enormous control panels, and the lamp above the chair was motorized to move out of the way and turn off whenever the chair was in the locked and upright position.

The room was at least four times larger than any dental examining room I had ever been in before—also more modern. My dentists in the states have only installed motorized chairs—and not ones with preset positioning.

After a quick look in my mouth the young lady told me one thing (which was off, but since she wasn’t the dentist and there was a language barrier, I didn’t worry about it), and then we waited for the Dentist. He came in, introduced himself, looked in my mouth and went right to work. I did my usual amount of panicking and he assured me that the drilling part would last less than a minute—which it did. There was no Novocain, there was no shot. And I was ok with it.

At some point we’d had a discussion about what type of filling to put in (the options were “free” or “white plus 35€”—there seemed to be no advantage to the “white plus 35€”, so I went for “free”)—almost immediately after finishing the minute of drilling, he put in the metal clamp and filled the tooth. A few gentle taps of my teeth, a warning not to eat for at least two hours, and making my 10€ co-pay, and I was out the door.

From arrival time to departure could not have been more than 45 minutes.

In fact, I still have over an hour before I can eat.

9 comments to Abgebrochen

  • Ooh, I just shuddered at the mere mention of “broken tooth”. Glad you had a pretty positive dentist experience, though!

  • G

    Actually, if free is a metal-mercury amalgam, I would go for white plus 35E. I’ve actually had two fillings replaced with ceramic and all my future ones (I hope none) will also be ceramic.

    I’m glad the filling went so smoothly.

  • So needle did needle you needle get needle to needle eat needle something needle yet?

    Oh needle.

  • @CN: It’s odd because I’ve really only heard negative things about German Dentists from my colleagues, in particular the American colleagues. Maybe I got lucky!

    @G: It’s hard to make an informed decision when sitting in the chair with a broken tooth. The Dentist couldn’t come up with a single advantage of the 35€ version–it wasn’t ceramic or porcelain, just some kind of white colored composite. Considering the location of the broken tooth, the only people who will ever see it will be dentists.

    @CQ Thanks… I did eat something.

  • jen

    wow. i cringed about the broken tooth as well. glad yer up and runnin’.

  • disenchanted

    Ugh! But glad it went okay.

  • I had a positive dental experience here. Actually I liked it better than the US because they told me I had really great teeth and gums, unlike in the US, where they threatened me with ‘root planing and scaling’ at every trip. ($$$$ in their eyes as they say it, of course.)
    I got the metal filling too when I went. My US dentist was actually all for the metal ones because they last longer.

  • Now see? It wasn’t THAT bad!
    I was also really surprised that the two German dentists I’ve seen have had the coolest equipment too. That whole light shuts off and moves out of the way thing is absolutely awesome.

  • @jen: Thanks!

    @disenchanted: Thanks!

    @CN: I didn’t find it to be a problem here, its just that I really like my US dentist, who is funny and friendly. He tells great stories while personally cleaning my teeth.

    @Snooker: The amount of space that equipment needs is enormous. My dentist in Bloomington shares the office with his brother and I think they have four rooms to hold patients. those four rooms would fit in the one room I was in.