Another Reason to Hate USSR

My daughter got her first tooth filling yesterday. Dang genes, I spent my whole childhood at the dentist’s and I detested sweets. My great-grandfather would try to tempt me with all kinds of sweet treats but I had zero interest. I survived on gigantic quantities of apples. Still, my teeth were atrocious.

In any case, looking at how an American pediatric dentist (a specialization that didn’t exist in the USSR) works made me hate the Soviet Union even more. Klara loved the visit so much, she’s asking when we can go again. My argument that it’s important to brush teeth to avoid cavities has lost its potency. She now thinks cavities are great.

The dentist warned me not to prepare her and not talk about it at all. “Let us do our jobs,” he said. “We know what we are doing.”

And they really do. There was no pain, no tears, everything was scripted as a game, the dentist explained everything, showed her exactly what was going to happen. Plus, there was a TV with cartoons in the ceiling. My child is screen-deprived, so the second she sees one, she’s glued to it and forgets everything else.

In the USSR, I had a dentist who hit me in the face with a fist, I had a drunken dentist, I had a dentist who terrorized me into selective mutism. It’s a different world.

7 thoughts on “Another Reason to Hate USSR”

  1. The worst US dentist I had seemed to hate children and once drilled a hole in the wrong tooth (only realizing that when I yelped in pain). Once I was taken to another and it was wonderful and begged to be taken back but he was too expensive so back to Mr Hates Kids – though he did stitch up my hand at night when I managed to slice my palm open by sticking it in a hole in the ground (with something nasty in the hole).

    But still I feel like a wimp – I’m pretty sure in the USSR there was no novocaine…


    1. In the USSR, doctors believed that children had an extremely high pain tolerance. So I was refused Novocaine – or any anaesthetic – when I had a tonsillectomy at 5.

      Imagine getting your tonsils removed with no anaesthetic at all. I still remember how it felt.


      1. Did they actually believe that? Or was it just that kids weren’t strong enough to resist so they could save money on anaesthetic?


        1. Of course, they didn’t believe it. But the motivations weren’t economic. It was about terrorizing. The same reason why parents weren’t allowed to see their sick kids in a hospital, even very little ones.


      2. ” USSR, doctors believed that children had an extremely high pain tolerance”

        One thing I heard somewhere was that the model for medical care (like so much else in the USSR) was taken from the military and in the Soviet military the idea was that you want to make treatment as uncomfortable as possible to toughen up patients and discourage malingerers…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Kids’ dentists used to be really bad. Didn’t use novocaine in US (among other problems) and I’m permanently traumatized. Younger dentists don’t understand it, don’t have my memories, can’t figure it out from any kind of personal experience, although they’ve heard.


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