Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Let this be a warning to all of you. Do not put off going to the dentist for seven years, no matter how much you hate it, or you too will have what seems like eighteen cavities to be filled. Then you will have to spend a very long, uncomfortable time in the chair and your whole mouth will be sore for several days.

The quality of medical, dental, etc. care in Spain is very high, but it's done a little differently than it is in the States. Americans expect to be pampered by their health care personnel. They expect to be treated as a personal, special case, which the system can handle as long as it's private.

It doesn't work that way in Spain. The National Health is overworked, you wait in line, and they get you in and get you out as fast as they can. Dental care (except for extractions) is all private in Spain, but they've learned their style from the National Health. You open up, they shoot you full of a lot of anaesthetic that keeps your mouth numb for the rest of the day, they drill out every tooth you need work on, and then fill them up. That's it. No pampering. No special treatment. You're just a mouth, not a person.

I actually think I prefer it the Spanish way. Less hassle, and it's over and done with fast. None of this "we'll do it one tooth at a time and come back next week" stuff. And it's a good bit cheaper than it is in the US, where most people's health insurance covers dental care and dentists charge whatever they want to. In Spain, where few people have such an insurance policy, dentists can't charge exorbitant prices because patients can't afford it.

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