I’m sure I’ve managed to get a tooth infection. I’m inMexico. I’m not going home for a couple of months. I’ve heard the horror stories about dentists inMexico. Maybe if I massage the gum? Rub it with an aspirin? Ignore it?
The pain is worsening each day. Does my cheek look swollen? Surely not.
“Yes,” says my husband, always so helpful.
I break down and go to the dentist’s office. They can give me an appointment next week. I explain it’s an emergencia. That’s different. Come back at one o’clock.
I sit in the chair waiting for the dentist. She’s agreed that it must be an infection and has taken an x-ray, which she now holds up for me to see.
“Aqui,” she points. “Root canal. Pero la dentista no hizo bien su trabajo.”
The light dawns. “Sí, sí. Mi dentista in Canada hace un root canal, mais ella no peude hacerlo bien porque es muy …” I know my verb tenses are a mess, but am encouraged by the dentist’s nods. I search for the words I need to explain that my dentist in Canada couldn’t get all of the root out at the time and warned me that it might cause trouble down the road. “The root es muy duro,” I say. “Calcified.”
“Ah, calcificado,” she says.
“Sí, sí, sí.” I’m so excited the pain is for a moment forgotten. I’ve managed, with my limited Spanish, to communicate the needed information.
We discuss treatment—antibiotics. She offers an appointment with a specialist who comes to town on Saturdays. Once the infection is healed he can do what needs to be done to fix it. I tell her that I’m going home soon and will see my own dentist. We part with smiles, my thanks, and a handshake.
Tooth is still throbbing, but maybe my Spanish is better than I thought.