I have a gappy tooth, which I could show you, but I’ll spare you.
Having had bad experiences growing up in the UK with dentists, which often involved laughing gas via face mask, which actually wasn’t bad as I’d have wild psychedelic flying dreams, wake up and be given some kind of fruity calcium candy to stumble home with. At the age of seven, I knew there was another reality.
Years later living in Los Angeles, I’ve spent way too long in the dentist’s chair often wondering if they needed to be actually performing the piece of finite dental surgery they’d decided to perform, or is it just a chance for them to overbill my (very good at the time) insurance company.
The best dental experience I had was when I was staying a while in Hong Kong. The dental office was in a high-tech skyscraper, the dentist Australian and looked exactly like Phil Collins. I thought he was going to burst into a performance of “In the Air Tonight” any minute…and why he was working as an undercover Australian dentist in Hong Kong was a mystery to me. But he did a great job on my chipped tooth, Phil Collins.
That was in the early ‘90s, when Hong Kong was an extremely affluent alive bustling thriving fun place to be, and known as the city of a thousand smells — very sadly that now seems to include tear gas, being as it’s still in conflict for its autonomy from China. I won’t be going to the dentist in Hong Kong any time soon, and I hope one day they’ll find again the buoyancy of the ’90s. I hope we all can.
I’ve always loved ethnic markets, handcrafted rugs, tapestried cloth, cushions, and Turkish Delight. My mom had some when I was a child, she had a box of it. I was 3 or 4 years old and I saved the last piece from the box. It was big and gummy, like a 2-inch cube, light pink and rose-scented and covered in soft sugar. I wrapped it in a tissue and hid it inside an old wooden cabinet in the living room. Every few weeks I’d go in there, hit with the scent of rose each time I opened the drawer, I’d unwrap it, take a small bite, and then rewrap it. That one piece of Turkish Delight lasted more than a year, it seemed to always be there. Slightly fuzzier by the month, but still tasting good.
So recently I’ve heard about amazing dental clinics in Turkey, and I’ve had an annoying gap in my tooth which I see glaringly when I smile. Whether you do or not, I don’t care.
In Turkey, dental work is a fraction of the cost compared to in the US or England, 50-70% less, with some great results (Dental Tourism is a thing) and a probably guaranteed adventure! So that’s where you’ll find me once the pandemic has passed — Istanbul, Antalya, Muğla or İzmir, and I’ll bring home some new Turkish Delights, some interesting woven things and hopefully no gap.