The Problem with Expertise

I spent my spring break in Bulgaria, among other things, getting my tooth fixed again. I have a tendency to do such mundane things on breaks that are supposedly known for their adventures, and generally save the adventuring for days that are a little more ordinary. About a month ago the cement on my front crown decided to separate, and I have been dreading getting it fixed. The quality and fit of the crown and post are so good that I was able to live with it quite easily without fixing it, and honestly I do not want to mix Istanbul, where taking advantage of foreigners (as in most big cities) has been my main experience with the medical industry, which also likes to wring me for as much money as they can. But when I was going back to Bulgaria I figured that it was time to get the tooth fixed, and Nikola’s mom made me an appointment.

In my two experiences with Bulgarian dentistry I am quite happy. My first experience was my taking my mother to get a tooth pulled, and the second was re-cementing this crown. In both instances the quality was high, the service efficient, and, most refreshing, they did exactly what I asked them to. In the United States going to a new dentist requires an examination and x-rays before they will even address your complaint. It costs between 100-200 dollars (before treatment) and takes an hour of your time. My comprehension of this is quite Fouccaultian. I believe that we effectively separate people from their bodies by giving too much weight to expertise. Now, I know that there are people who want to second guess experts, and end up crippling their doctors with their Web MD bullshit, and that is not something that I can begin to agree with. However, I also do not believe that the expert has the right to invade the patient’s body and tell them all of the things that they need fixed, in order to fix a problem that the patient can clearly state. For example, I am not a big fan of the concept of surface fillings, as most often little divots that they choose to fill can go away with proper brushing and flossing, and the filling ultimately weakens the tooth. I am also upset that I did not even know that I could opt out of Novocaine for most procedures until I was 26. I think that there needs to be some sort of synergistic balance reached, where the expert is respected for their expertise, but they are also considerate of the expertise that the individual has on their own body. I feel like that has been my experience in Bulgaria. For the first time dentists were listening to me, not simply trying to do as much as they can in order to get as much money as they can.

I am really getting sick of money these days. I think that I am really not a capitalist, at all. 

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