Finland has subsidized public dental care, but when the queues get too long, it's possible to get referred to a private dentist and use something called a service voucher to pay for the visit. I went through this recently and ended up paying 18 euros out of pocket for an appointment at a private dentist made for just a few days after I called.
Going to the dentist is not my favorite thing, and when he told me that I needed two cavities filled, I was feeling a lot of anxiety. The first thing I asked him was if he was going to use novocaine (or similar). He said yes, of course! The reason I asked is because the last time I had a filling done was in the UAE, where they did not use any painkiller at all. So it's interesting to see the pain relief traditions at work in each country where I've visited a dentist.
When it came time for the appointment for one of the fillings, it was just as awful as I expected, but at least not worse than that. But I did ask the dentist if for the next filling appointment, the next week, he could try without the novocaine - that shot at the beginning is somehow the worst part of the whole experience! He said he would try.
Well, he tried it yesterday and it did not go well, so I had to get that horrible shot again. I suddenly turned into my daughter Miriam, who, when she really doesn't want to do something, will find any silly excuse to avoid it. At the dentist yesterday when it was time for him to put that needle into my mouth, first I needed to adjust my sunglasses, then I needed to adjust my position in the chair, then I asked how to say 'occlusion' in Finnish, and then I just...closed my mouth. I soon realized that it was entirely possible I would never open it while I was sitting in that chair. I had a get-a-grip moment, reminded myself of the times I gave birth to a baby without painkillers, and opened my mouth before I could convince myself not to. And it went ok!
It was all worth it in the end since on the first bill, the office had made a small mistake that would have required a lot of paperwork and phone calls to KELA to fix. Going back for another appointment meant I could just take care of it in person...even if it did require a shot of novocaine!