I. Pre-Listening Exercises [Top]

What are some reasons for visiting a dentist (e.g., tooth whitening, dental cleaning, orthodontics, invisalign braces, tooth fillings)? Name some common dental problems and possible preventative care for each.

HELPFUL TIP: Dentists recommend a dental checkup every six months. Regular brushing and flossing will help prevent cavities and save you money from expensive dental bills.

II. Listening Exercises [Top]

Listen to the conversation by pressing the “Play Audio” button and answer the questions. Press the “Final Score” button to check your quiz.

1. What is the man’s initial reason for visiting the dentist?

A. He wanted to have a filling replaced.

B. He needed to have a tooth pulled.

C. He came in for a dental check up.

2. What problem does the dentist discover when she takes her first look in the man’s mouth?

A. The man has discolored teeth.

B. The man has a chipped front tooth.

C. The man has a decayed back tooth.

3. When does the man feel discomfort?

A. when he chews on hard foods

B. when he eats hot foods

C. when he drinks something cold

4. What is one method of treatment the does the dentist NOT mention?

A. doing a root canal

B. putting a filling in

C. pulling the tooth

5. What does the dentist use to minimize the patient’s pain during the procedure?

A. a local anesthetic

B. nitrous oxide

C. no medication is needed in this case

Score =

Correct answers:

Patient: Hi. Dr. Hyde?

Dentist: So, what’s seems to be the problem today?

Patient: Well, I just came in for a check up and a dental cleaning.

Dentist: Hum. Open up. Let’s take a look . . .

Patient: Okay. Uh . . .

Dentist: Hummmm. [Humm? Uh?] Wow! I’ve never seen one like THIS before. Let me try this.

Patient: Uhhh . . . Ouhhhh [Man screaming in pain . . .]

Dentist: Well, besides a lot of plaque buildup, there is a major cavity in one of your wisdom teeth. [I feel that.] Hasn’t this given you any trouble?

Patient: Well, the tooth has been bothering me, and it sometimes hurts when I drink something cold. Does it look that bad?

Dentist: Well, we’re going to remove the decay, and then we’ll either put a filling in, or if the decay is extensive, we can’t repair it, we might have to put a crown on your tooth. Or as a last resort, we may have to extract the tooth.

Patient: Uh, well, that sounds painful!

Dentist: Don’t worry. I’ve done this . . . once before. [Huh?] Nah, just relax.

Patient: Wait! Aren’t you suppose to give me something to dull the pain?

Dentist: Uh, chicken. Oh yeah. I almost forgot. We can either use a local anesthetic or nitrous oxide . . . laughing gas. . . to minimize the discomfort you might feel. Or you can just grin and bear it.

Patient: Nah, Nah, nah! Put me under! [I thought so.] I can’t stand pain, and I’d rather not be aware of what’s going on. And, if I need a filling, can I get one that looks like my other teeth?

Dentist: If we can save the tooth with a filling, I recommend a high-strength silver alloy filling instead of a porcelain one. It’ll probably last longer.

Patient: Okay, well whatever. Let’s get it over with.

Dentist: Okay, pleasant dreams. Drill please.

Key Vocabulary [Top]
  • plaque (noun): a substance that builds up around teeth that can damage them
    – Brushing with toothpaste can help remove plaque.
  • cavity (noun): tooth decay
    – If you take care of your teeth, you can reduce the risk of having cavities.
  • wisdom tooth (noun): the last of your back teeth to come in
    – The dentist removed one of my wisdom teeth because it was bothering me.
  • decay (noun, also verb): the gradual process of the tooth going bad, sometimes caused by poor dental care and eating habits
    – If the decay in the tooth is not removed, it could lead to a serious problem.
  • filling (noun): a substance inserted into a tooth to repair a cavity
    – I need to get one of my fillings replaced because it came out yesterday.
  • extensive (adjective): large in extent, range, or scope
    – Researchers have conducted extensive studies on the causes and prevention of tooth decay.
  • crown (noun): a metal covering over the enamel-covered part of a tooth
    – The dentist suggested putting a crown on the tooth since the cavity would have been too difficult to repair with a filling.
  • extract (verb): remove
    – The dentist extracted the decayed tooth without a problem.
  • dull (verb, also adjective): numb or make insensitive, deaden feeling
    – I was shocked that the dentist didn’t give me anything to dull the pain.
  • local anesthetic (noun): a drug used to dull the body`s senses from pain in a specific area
    – The dentist used a local anesthetic on the patient before she extracted the tooth.
  • nitrous oxide (noun): a gas inhaled as an anesthetic in dentistry and surgery
    – Sometimes, dentists use nitrous oxide on patients when more extensive dental work is required or to help patients relax during certain procedures.
  • discomfort (noun): pain or an uncomfortable feeling associated with a part of the body
    – I went to the dentist because I felt a great deal of discomfort in one of my teeth.
  • alloy (noun): a mixture of two or more metals
    – Different alloy fillings may be used to fill cavities, depending on the severity and location of the cavity, as well as the patient’s preference.
  • porcelain (noun): made of semitransparent ceramic
    Porcelain fillings may be used to fill cavities, depending on the severity and location of the cavity, as well as the patient’s preference.