Saturday, July 7, 2012

in which I overshare about my oral hygiene

So it's been half a year already since I last went to the dentist and I was getting desperate. My teeth were getting into a really bad state, probably from all those milk teas I drink. I think I'm too spoiled by the water in the states. I never gave a thought about how nice it was to have fluoride in our water that helped keep my teeth clean. I mean how big of a difference could it be if it's not enough to kill you? Well after being in a country that doesn't do that, I can state that the fluoride was a blessing!! Can't wait to go back to SF and swirl my mouth with fluoride-laced water.

Not even a couple months after my first visit I already wanted to go back for another teeth cleaning. However I learned that Taiwan has the same two teeth cleanings a year just like in America so I had to wait till now to go back and see the dentist. Either wait or pay $1000+ for a teeth cleaning! Ouch.

Since I had some experience I asked the dentist, a different one, if she could work harder on my teeth. I told her I didn't mind if it was painful as long as it actually cleaned my teeth. Well this was when the dentist, who actually grew up in Canada, told me about the differences between teeth cleanings in North America and Taiwan. In America a teeth cleaning is the whole shebang: drills, picks, fluoride, water hose and I don't know the technical names or methods but we get it all until your teeth is sparkling or as sparkling as its gonna get. Here in Taiwan a teeth cleaning involves just that drill thing that vibrates and cleans the plaque buildup on your teeth. THAT IS ALL! No wonder it didn't hurt.

So a little background on my teeth, an appealing story for all to hear, I have pretty shit-astic teeth. It stains pretty easily hence why I haven't drank any carbonated drinks since I've been in middle school. I can imagine the blackness that would cover my teeth if I added sodas to the equation. I hate all the people who drink soda and coffee every day two or three times a day and their freaking teeth stay shiny and white. disgusting. Anyways the dentist told me that health insurance only covers teeth cleaning which just getting rid of plaque/calcium buildup. Anything beyond that is considered aesthetics and needs to be paid out of pocket. Ugh wtf. I consider staining something that could potentially lead to cavities so shouldn't that be prevented for in my dental insurance?!? Of course this totally makes sense now why ppls teeth in Taiwan aren't very pretty because looking nice isn't covered under insurance. To be honest though most adults have perfectly fine white teeth, it's just the children whose teeth make me shudder. Children who probably hate brushing their teeth and here dentists can't even make them look nicer w/o charging an arm and a leg!

The dentist was nice enough to give me a water abrasion which was basically just those jets of water that shoot at my teeth. She was making it out like it would hurt a lot and would be painful on my gums so I was bracing myself and then when it occurred I was like this is what happens during a regular check-up back home! A full mouth water abrasion costs around $3000 NT! Thankfully the dentist didn't charge my for it since it was my first time but after the water abrasion she didn't do the rest of the teeth cleaning. She said my teeth were fine and well maintained and there wasn't any plaque build-up. I just had those surface stains cause of the pits and grooves in my teeth which she cleaned so easily with that water blasting thing. I asked her how I could keep my teeth sparkly white when obviously my toothbrush is too big to reach the grooves in my teeth (miniscule mother-fers). She just shrugged and told me to come back for a teeth cleaning in a year or half a year if I wanted. Ehhh WTF?? I can't wait to go back to my dentist in America where they not only clean my teeth, they also polish it to get rid of those fking grooves so my teeth stay healthy.

Sorry for sharing such gross details about my teeth but now at least peoples who plan to stay in Taiwan for an extended time know what to do about their teeth while here. Unless of course you're one of those ppls who has healthy white teeth no matter what you eat or drink. Then I hate you.


  1. omg, I think only Americans are hella concerned about teefs. when i was in hk, it didn't seem like people have regular appointments to go see the dentist, unless it was for something serious. anyway, come home soon, your teefs will thank you. :P

  2. Thanks for that Teacher Carol. Enlightening story!

  3. I totally know what you mean!!!! Asian countries don't spend too much on teeth maintenance unless you are one of those people with money. When I was in Thailand, the water doesn't have crap to help your teeth. It probably in fact is bad for you to drink (but I did anyway whoops). The water appeared to be monopolized where the company that sells it just filters it for ya and is the only brand I saw restaurants use. Anyway, most of the time I was super paranoid so I double flossed, used listerine, and used toothpaste with fluoride in it. Just think soon enough you'll be in a country that will care about your teeth! See you soon!

  4. Welcome back! I've been checking your blog weekly waiting for stories!!! Side story: I flew back to California just for a dentist visit because I only trust my dentist with my teeth... props to you for going to the dentist in Taiwan (twice!).