Thursday, June 18, 2009

The dentist in Korea

There's really not much to tell here, but I figured somebody out there might be interested in the story...

My last cleaning was last July, right before I left for Korea. I like to get my teeth cleaned every 6 months, but I've been so lazy about it here that I forgot all about it. One of my co-workers was going to get her teeth cleaned, so I went with her to set up an appointment. We went to e-Smile dental clinic (치과) in Lemon Plaza (the same building where my hagwon is located) in Wangsimni. Though the receptionist/hygienist staff spoke extremely limited English, the dentist spoke excellent English. We made our appointments for the next day and left.

When I arrived for my appointment, all I had to do was show my Alien Registration Card. This card stores all the medical insurance data on it... there's no need to carry around another insurance card. They showed me right in, I was the only one in the office (it never looks busy there). They brought me in to the room to get my teeth cleaned (scailing, pronounced suh-ka-luh-ing: 스갈링 in Korean). Maybe this is the way all dental cleanings are going to go in the future, but I know we don't have this at home; the cleaning mostly consisted of blasting a tiny stream of water on my teeth. They hardly used the picks at all, which I'm used to at home. While they performed the water blasting, they covered my entire face with some cloth face mask to keep me dry. It also had the added bonus of not having that blinding light in my eyes.

They didn't do any X-rays, so I guess that isn't standard procedure during a typical scailing in Korea. I know that they must do X-rays if you request/ if it's necessary, because they had some up on the computer screen from the last patient.

I thought maybe without the X-ray, they might not be able to find any cavities. They didn't say anything about cavities, which sort of surprised me because last time I went 9 months without a cleaning and I had 4 surface cavities and a cavity so deep that I almost needed a root canal. But I had dragged my boyfriend with me too, and, without the X-ray they found several cavities in his mouth. So... I guess I'm good for the next 6 months!

Oh, and I almost forgot. Because I work in the same building, they gave me a free fluoride treatment, service (uh). I know that used to cost $25 at my old dentist's office, so that's a good deal. Not to mention that they knocked 10,000 won off the price because I work in the building too. The whole deal only cost me 40,000 won ($32 with today's exchange rate). Quite a good deal, I'd say. I guess that even 50,000 won is pretty cheap by Korean standards. Most dental clinics charge 60-70,000 for a scailing (cleaning). So, if you are looking for a good clinic, check out my dentist. You can e-mail me for directions.

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