…in which I describe my challenges in dealing with a socialized healthcare system when it comes to the art of dentistry.

Before traveling to myCountry

, I had noticed what I thought was a cavity in one of my molars. Not wanting to go through the “procedure” at my California dentist, which usually takes half a day and leaves me $500 or more poorer, I decided to take a chance on my old dentist in Denmark, who I hadn’t seen in 10 years.

So I had my parents set up an appointment, no double booking, and that’s how it went.

First, there were some issues with my not living in the country and therefore whether the social health insurance would cover it. After the clinic assistant checked with another guy, it turned out no, but he could still get treatment if he paid full price. That seems fine to me!

I then proceeded to NOT fill out a questionnaire about teeth whitening. I also didn’t fill out a detailed medical history (it’s just the dentist for crying). In particular, I did NOT need to sign 4-6 page legal waivers about not suing them in case they accidentally gouged my eye out with pliers, as always happens, but I guess I could.

I just completed my address, it took me 2 minutes.

Denmark for anyone who doesn’t pay attention


Not being a regular “client”, I expected a full X-ray, but the dentist told me that the Nordic guidelines were not to do an X-ray unless the teeth were covered in plack or looked bad. I, however, have good teeth. Besides, my papers are in order.

They then took my “tooth inventory” with the dentist going over the teeth tooth by tooth saying letters and numbers that the assistant wrote down. He noted that my fillings were very well made (score one for the US dental system). I also got the standard lesson on flossing and it did remove some tartar from my front teeth. Finally, he noticed that my supposed cavity was just a discoloration. Too much coffee.

Total time: 15 minutes.

Total cost: $45 (and this is cheap dollar).

The general attitude toward dental care is conservative. If the teeth look fine and there is no pain, it is presumed that there are no problems, so no X-rays are taken.

. The technology is right for the job in the sense that they can do anything, cavities, crowns, etc. which can be done in the US However, the dentist does all the work (except suctioning and note taking). This means that the assistant is NOT using high-tech microscopes to make a movie for the dentist, etc. In other words, it is less capital intensive to run a clinic. There is less focus on technology. There was no tv on the chair.

My first visit to an American dentist resulted in 6 cavities that my Danish dentist had declared dormant/undeveloped for over a decade. In the US, everything is aggressively fixed. Don’t get me started on the straight teeth fetish (which is now showing up on the mainland as well; it used to be that no one got braces unless they had trouble chewing).

In general, I prefer the Danish dental care system.

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