I was listening to the BBC the other day as I was getting ready for a day of non-work, and I heard an interesting statistic on a local advert/commercial. Debate it if you will, but the voice over said "1 in 6 English people are missing 10 teeth or more." Naturally I had to figure how many teeth an adult human actually has, and after settling on something like 12, I figured 10 missing teeth was detrimental to human life.
I've been in England now for about 7 weeks, and have, up until 48 hours ago, managed to eek by any kind of doctoral visits. Then I brushed my teeth....and noticed that the back bracket of my braces (I literally have 6) had come dislodged from my tooth. I panicked. Mostly because when Americans think of the British's lack of dental care, they incidentally qualify British dentists as about as qualified to deal with teeth as a proctologist would be. But Jim swore he had a "proper dentist" close by and I simply had no choice but to pay the man a visit.
I was pleasantly surprised actually when I walked in and there wasn't blood on the floor. Rather, there was a very clean reception area and two very nice (and semi-straight-toothed) assistants ready with paperwork....and an explanation of said paperwork.
When my name was called, I went into visit my new English dentist. Jim warned me he would snicker at the sight of my very straight and white American teeth semi-bound by cosmetic braces on a mere six teeth....and so he did. He was a young man, soft spoken and wore his face mask. Maybe for good reason, I haven't worked that part out yet.
Dr. Dentist worked on my broken bracket and finally asked, "So you don't normally see just 6 braces. Why did your dentist recommend this?" I explained how I had a tooth that was being forced out of place and that my dentist said my entire lower set would go crooked pushing it out of place. His response "You couldn't just live with it?"
It's amazing how it's impossible to be offended when the voice on the other end is a soft British accent.
At the end of the day, I paid $150 (£100) to get the bracket cut off and the stub temporarily glued to the adjacent teeth. He warned me about what my crazy Indianapolis orthodontist might say about my crazy Tamworth dentist, but frankly, I prefer my man in Tamworth.
Until then, I will hope my teeth to remain Americanized, and my dentists to remain British.