Teef: Part V

On my fourth visit to the dental school, the mission was to fix a separate filling that had loosened. I thought, surely things are looking up. It was with Tom, a dentist who looks old enough to drive. Timmy the Toothhad assured me Tom’s skills were superior to his own and that everything would be fine.

Sadly, Tom’s skills were superior only to Timmy’s.

Part of the reason things at the dental school go so slowly is that every time the student makes or is about to make progress, he has to get a professor first. But there are only two professors on duty at a time and about 30 students working, so even finding one takes forever. A second reason things take so long is that the students don’t have their very own cubes. (That’s right, cubes, not offices. You are just one half wall away from someone who is crying because they have to get one tiny, crappy cavity filled, thinking, “What a baby. Crying is for boutique dentists who are covered by ‘insurance’. Be grateful your student dentist even remembered to numb you first.”) Students must shuffle around to whatever cube is open. So when you and your awesome student dentist finally get together to fix your tooth, he or she has to go down four levels to get supplies and then come back up. If you have someone as incompetent green as Timmy or his superiorly skilled friend, Tom, they may have to go up and down multiple times, leaving the patient playing Brickbreaker on her BlackBerry for half an hour or more.To Tom’s credit, the cavity filling only took about two hours and, mercifully, only one visit. He was supposed to deal with two teeth at once, but let us all be grateful for small favors. I left without any chin imprint on my forehead or secret rage bubbling inside me threatening to overflow and destroy multiple cubes. Things could have been worse….

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