A Fixed Tooth, A Miracle, and a Thank You!

My tooth is fixed!

The inlay

The inlay

The inlay is in place and I don’t have to go back to the dentist until April 15th. Don’t worry, it’s just for a check up on the inlay. They want to make sure that it is fine in 2 months.

When I came out from the back, Tim made my appointment in April for me. Kept it nice and simple. It’s on a Sunday at 1:30pm. I got my money to pay and after a few quick words from the lady at the desk, Tim turned to me and told me that she had said that I don’t need to pay; it’s been taken care of. I looked blankly at Tim for a few seconds while what he just said sunk it. It wasn’t really registering in my head. He turned back to the lady, and the two of them exchanged a few words in Chinese. I took my appointment card, and the two of us left the building. As we walked down the hall, he told me that he had asked her who had done it and that her reply was “foreigners”.

I didn’t know what to say. I still don’t. Except for “Thank you, God.” There isn’t much else that can be said about that. Because of that person’s (those people’s?) generosity, I have money to live off of for the rest of the semester and figuring out how to get money out of my debit card (which, at the moment, is just about impossible) isn’t going to be as imperative a task as it would have been.

I thank you, God, for most this amazing day.

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Dentist experience number 2

Hi everyone! So, I’ve got a new story for you all. Yup, it’s all about the dentist. And guess what?! I get to go back, again, next week!

So, I had done well with the temporary filling. It was starting to disintegrate, but that wasn’t a problem. I went back to the office today at 1:30pm. I had a couple of people come along for the experience as well. Janelle came so I wouldn’t be going by myself. Then, Daniel decided to join us. Tim was only going to show us the way there, but since it now “seem[ed] like a party”, he decided to stay. I am so glad that they all came. I would’ve been freaking out otherwise. And having Tim there as the voice of reason (as well as the person that could speak Mandarin) was super helpful and comforting.

Alrighty, so, we got there and sat down at a table in the waiting area. One of the receptionists brought us all some steaming, hot water to drink. Don’t bash it, it’s good and it keeps you warm. I got called into the back room with a bunch of people. One of the assistants spoke some English. She explained to me that since the hole in my tooth was so large, they were going to have to do an inlay. Don’t know what that is? Google is a wonderful thing. I had three options – a 6,000 yuan option, 5,500 yuan option, and a 5,000 yuan option. I definitely only had 2,000 yuan with me. So, I got up and walked out of the room to go talk with Tim, Janelle, and Daniel. Tim ended up coming back to the room with me to ask if I could pay the 2,000 now and bring 3,000 yuan later. That was fine. So, he left to go back and hang out with Janelle and Daniel, while I got to sit back and have 2 to 5 people hovering over my mouth at different points in time.

They gave me a numbing shot (which is still in effect, btw), and then proceeded to drill away at my tooth. Once they finished that, I rinsed out my mouth and they took several different molds of my teeth. Both the top and bottom sets on the left side of my mouth. Then, more putty was stuck into the hole of my tooth. Once that dried, they covered it with some sort of other paste. Another temporary. Great. So, I currently have a new temporary filling in my mouth.

I go back in exactly 1 week for the inlay. So, next Sunday at 1:30pm, I will be back at the dentist office for (hopefully) the last step in fixing this tooth of mine. I have a week to exchange and get the rest of the money that I need.

Just so you can all have a guesstimate of how much this costs.. 5,000 yuan equals about $790 US dollars. Sounds like fun, yeah? No, not really. But hey, as long as this tooth gets fixed.. That’s all I really care about at this point. No more pain. Just pray that this temporary doesn’t pop out before my next visit, yeah? If it comes out before next Sunday, then that’ll be another trip to the dentist for another temporary filling.

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The Dentist

Unlike everyone else, I had a very different orientation experience. While everyone else was getting acquainted with the campus and the immediate surrounding area, I got a totally unique experience of my own. I got to take a trip to the DENTIST. Story time!

Ok, our last night in Hong Kong, right before dinner, Janelle, one of the girls, offered me a Hi Chew, which is a pretty soft candy. After two bites, there was a pain in my third tooth in from the back on the bottom left side, and I bit something hard in my candy. “Oh no..” I took the candy out, and sure enough, there was a pretty good sized chunk of my tooth that had come off. This is the night before we fly to Xiamen. Great. I experimented to see how I would react to drinking water. Lots of pain. Great. Just great. I handled the night by eating small amounts and funneling water to the other side of my mouth.

A piece of my tooth fell out!

A piece of my tooth fell out!

The hole in my tooth

The hole in my tooth

(For those of you who don’t know, almost the exact thing happened to me about a week before I was supposed to leave on a tooth on the bottom right side…)

The next day, we packed up, went to the airport and flew to Xiamen. After setting all our stuff down in our rooms at Xiamen University, we headed down to meet Tim downstairs for our instructions. Everyone was divided into groups with instructions to visit different places on campus and off campus. While they did that, Tim took me to meet Yili at the bus stop so she could take me to the dentist. I got to ride in a taxi. One of the scariest things of my life. Maybe I’ll get used to it. I don’t know. It is just craziness and thinking you are going to die because it seems like you come close to crashing every few minutes or seconds even.

At the dentist, we waited for a while and eventually, I was called into the back where they checked out my tooth. Turns out, I have a large cavity near the nerve of my tooth, which is why it broke and why it hurt. The dentist decided to put a temporary filling on it to see how I do. If there is any pain within the week, I’m supposed to call and come in right away for a root canal. Yuck! But, if I am fine until my appointment date (January 29th), then I will be getting just a filling. Going back for my appointment will be interesting…I’ll need to either take the bus, or a taxi. Probably by myself. *inward cringe* I’ll be fine. It is just unsettling to not be able to understand or be understood. They speak a little English at the dentist office, which is really helpful and calming. Especially since I know little to no Chinese.

My temporary filling

My temporary filling

So far, the temporary filling seems to be fine. So, it is looking like I will only have to deal with getting a filling. A root canal is not on my list of to-do while here…. The temp filling cost me about 220 Yuan. In US, that’s more or less $35.