I’m sure all of you will know that there is a stereotype about British people having bad teeth (all that tea and chocolate no doubt) and for that reason I have been afraid of going to the dentist since I moved to the US. I could imagine the dentist saying to his/her receptionist “we’ve got a British patient, now I’m going to be able to afford that holiday” or shuddering inside at the thought of having to deal with British molars.
I have put off visiting the dentist since I moved here for this very reason until last week my (only) filling fell out while I was eating a pack of Fruit Pastilles (it doesn’t get more British than that) and I swore loudly and realised that I would have to pay a visit to a dentist. This was not going to be fun or cheap or anything over than painful.
My wife (realising that I am hopeless at dealing with all forms of medical bureaucracy in America) kindly offered to find me a practice and found me somewhere near work and I made an appointment. They were so keen that they called me immediately three times to confirm the appointment (I was in a meeting at work so couldn’t answer) and before I could even call back a fourth call asked me if I wouldn’t mind changing the appointment time I’d booked an hour earlier. When I finally did get in touch with them I found they no longer covered my insurance. Not a good start!
Eventually I found another surgery close to work and obtained an appointment and this dentist didn’t call me more times than a spurned lover which put them in my good books. When I made my way to the appointment the first thing the dentist said to me on hearing my accent was “where are you from?” which was immediately followed by “the British aren’t known for their good teeth”. I kid you not, he really went there. A British friend told me she had a similar comment from her dentist so I am not alone in suffering dentists who think they are funny.
Given that he was about to poke around in my mouth with a metal object I ignored his comment (or ignored it until I write the review) and let him get on with his job. It turns out that in addition to the filling that fell out I had another cavity so I will be getting two fillings next week. After his initial comment about British teeth he returned to the kind of questions I’m used to (from Americans not dentists) such as “are you from London?” and all was okay. He even told me that I had good teeth.