the dentist’s and me

I didn’t know. I thought all you needed in order to be legal in Brazil was to be European. More importantly I thought being Irish gave you right of passage! Doesn’t everyone love the Irish like? I thought you’d be delighted to have me here. To grace you all with my presence. Now I find out that it’s not so easy. Now I find out that getting papers are the least of my problems. The first thing the Brazilian Government want from you is a good set of teeth.

If you have any Brazilian friends, you may already have noticed the perfect set of pearls they have in their mouths. Check their coat pockets while they’re not looking, there is bound to be a travel toothbrush, and a mini tube of Colgate in their somewhere. My wife is Brazilian, and while bits of teeth where starting to appear in my corn flakes every other morning, I was amazed at the quality of her dentures. I have about 15 teeth left in my head, Vanessa has about 300. I think she would give the Alien a good run for her money.

The wife and her 300 perfect teeth

The wife and her 300 perfect teeth

After only a week of being in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, I was suffering with a tooth ache. This being completely unacceptable to my Brazilian wife, she took me to the dentist. I got an x-ray done and the dentist looked at it like he had won the lotto. Now, I’ve got more dentists than friends here. It’s not by choice mind you if I don’t look like Tom Cruise instead of Shane McGowan pronto, I could be shipped back to not-so-sunny Ireland.

Tom and his pearlers

Tom and his pearlers

Going to the dentist has become part of my life now. I love every visit. I love their offices, their shiny pointy tools, and the various orchestral sounds they make whilst in your mouth. I love all the plastic that seems to be covering everything, the masks, the gloves, the white aprons, the boots, and even the little 1950’s style radio is wrapped up. There is plastic on plastic. There is so much protective gear being worn here that they look like storm troopers and sound like Darth Vader. It’s like being on the Death Star.

Shane McGowan and his em..fangs?!

Shane McGowan and his em..fangs?!

But what I love the most is the big light they use to help them see into your gob. It’s not enough drilling into your teeth, they also want to blind you as well. And I always feel like its going talk to you at any moment. It just sits there, all smug, like it knows you’re screwed. It reminds me of ‘Hal’ from “2001 a Space Odyssey”, I keep expecting to hear that soft patronising voice;

“Hello Kaych and how are you today?”

(In Brazil, they have problems with my name Keith, this “th” sound at the end doesn’t exist in Portuguese, so when they say my name, it sounds like they are saying Kate..but drunk…Kaych)

“Hello Hall, I’m fine thanks, and by the way Hal, the name is Keith, ok?”

“Sure, Kaych”.

“So are you going to fix my teeth today Hal?”

“Yes Kaychi, I’m going to fix you today”

“…What? Right and everything is going to be alright Hal yes?”

“Of course Kaychi. Everything’s going to be… better”

“Now just sit back, open wide, very wide”

Hal 9000

Hal 9000

Dentists light

Dentists light

Sometimes I sit there for 3 hours with my mouth open. I feel like a prostitute in a science fiction movie. And I adore how they talk to me. They just seem to ignore the fact I don’t speak Portuguese and just ramble on, agreeing and disagreeing with themselves, they continue regardless, sorting their own life out. I attempt to communicate by moving my eyebrows, squinting, making an odd “argh”, so as to not make them feel bad.

But seriously, I’m not complaining, the dentists in Brazil are fantastic. I’m constantly amazed at the condition of peoples’ teeth. It’s part and parcel of the culture, and I’m talking all classes of society. It’s not a case of going to the dentist when you have a problem like in Europe, it’s a case of going whether you have a problem or not.

I do wish I had taken better care of my teeth, but I’ve really gotten into it now, I brush four times a day and floss at night as well. I even carry around a brush and floss with me like my Brazilian friends. I find myself looking at peoples teeth now, sometimes, I’m not even listening to what they are saying, I just kind of nod my head. The first thing from my mouth is like “Hi, nice to meet you, sooo what are you using? the ‘Colgate 360’ or the new ‘Reach Interdental 5000”?

Anyway, Mr. Federal Policeman, please don’t deport me, just 4 more root canals, 2 implants, a cleaning, and R$10,000 and I’m there!


"Of course Kaychy, everything’s going to be… better”

"Of course Kaychy,everything’s going to be… better”

2 Responses to “the dentist’s and me”
  1. I am the author of this.

  2. karine smith says:

    I’m laughing my head off!

    Errr… by the way…I’m a Brazilian girl (with pearls) married to an irishman…living in Dublin…

    I have a blog as well…when you get a chance…check out!


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