08 November 2005

Zahnstein?

So today I went to the dentist for the first time since moving to Germany. Yeah, I should have gone sooner, but well, it just didn't happen. (It didn't help that the appointment was 3 months after making it. So put me down for trying after only 9 months).

The day before, I thought about the vocabulary.
Teeth? Gums? Check.
Toothbrush? Toothpaste? Check.
Open your mouth? Check.
*gasp* Cavity? Crown? Bridge? Root Canal? Check. (Well, not that last one, but I was pretty certain it wasn't going to come up).
I was prepared for whatever the dentist was going to say. Or so I thought...

When the time finally came, and I sat down in that chair, the nice Assistantin asked me "Do you have tooth stones?"
I was very confused and asked "What?"
"Tooth stones."
"What?"
She and the other assistantin gave me a mirror and showed me my teeth. "There. Tooth stones."
"Huh? I have no idea what tooth stones are."
"Well, I'm just going to clean it then."

That's all translated of course. Not that it would have helped if she would have been speaking English.

After a rather uneventful cleaning, the dentist proper arrived and asked if he could take a look.

Everything was OK, except for a minor gum inflammation caused by the edge of one of my crowns. He squirted some anti-bacterial goop in there and told me to come back in 6 months. I guess it wasn't anything serious...

I have learned two things from this.
1) I guess I need to bone up more on the vocab when I go to the "whole-body" doctor. Who knows what crazy thing they might ask me. "Do you have an elbow nipple?"
2) I have always liked how so many German words are so simply obvious. A desk, for example is merely the combination of "write" and "table". Makes perfect sense, and easy too. An airplane is just a "flight thingy" (well, I translate "zeug" as "thingy", which probably isn't 100% correct, but close enough). Very understandable. I think it makes this difficult language a little but easier. But apparently my brain wants to fight this "just say what it is" aspect of the German language, like when I was asked about
Zahnstein. The "tooth" part I got. I know the other part, which is "stone". Makes perfect sense to me now, but when I was nervously sitting in the dentist's chair, my mind drew a blank. It didn't help that I wasn't expecting the dental assistantin (read: the dental expert) to ask me (read: the dental non-expert) whether or not I have tartar.

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