Speak English Around Town » LESSON 12 - Visiting the Dentist

Visiting the Dentist

Tina visits her dentist, Dr. Li, for a checkup. After taking X-rays, Dr. Li tells Tina she 'II need to replace a.filling.

Dr. Li: Have your teeth been giving you any trouble since your last checkup?

Tina: The back molar on the lower left has been killing me!

Dr. Li: Let's see here. It looks like the filling is loose.

Tina: Isn't that the same one you replaced last year?

Dr. Li: I'll need to check. I can't remember off the top of my head.

Tina: Also, one of my top right teeth is a little sensitive.

Dr. Li: Which one?

Tina: This one.

Dr. Li: Okay, I'll take a look. It looks a little discolored. We'll get a set of X-rays today to get to the bottom of it.

Tina: X-rays? Will that be an out-of-pocket expense?

Dr. Li: No, you're due for a set. It'll be covered by your insurance.

(Dr. Li takes the X-rays.)

Dr. Li: (looking at X-rays): Let me give these a once over ... It looks like we can hold off on that top tooth.

Tina: It does hurt, but maybe it's just a figment of my imagination!

Dr. Li: Call us if it keeps acting up. In the meantime, we'll need to replace that filling. Please make an appointment for that.

  • (to) act up
    to start hurting
    Example: Rick had to stop running because his knees were acting up.
  • checkup
    a medical examination (usually given on a regular schedule)
    Example: Jennifer needs to call her doctor and schedule her annual checkup.
  • covered by
    paid for by; reimbursable as part of an insurance plan
    Example: Lisa's stay at the hospital cost $16,000. Fortunately, all of that will be covered by insurance.
  • due for
    ready to have; time for something to happen
    Example: "I haven't been to the eye doctor in years." -"You must be due for an exam."
  • figment of one's imagination
    something that seems real but is not; something made up or imagined
    Example: Was it just a figment of my imagination, or did our boss say he would be closing the office early tomorrow?
  • (to) get to the bottom of something
    to find the source of a problem or issue
    Example: My newspaper disappears from my office every day. I've got to get to the bottom of it.
  • (to) give something a once over
    to look at something, often quickly
    Example: If you have a few minutes, could you please give my essay a once over?
  • (to) give someone trouble
    to hurt someone; to bother
    Example: Ever since the car accident, Nancy's neck has been giving her trouble.
  • (to) hold off
    to wait to do something; to delay
    Example: We'd like to buy a new car, but we 're going to hold off until the new models are released.
  • in the meantime
    until something else happens; while something else is happening
    Example: The aspirin will make your headache go away in about half an hour. In the meantime, take a hot shower.
  • killing someone
    giving someone a lot of pain; hurting badly
    Example: Mary's stomach was killing her, so she left work early.
  • (to) make an appointment
    to schedule a meeting with someone, such as a doctor, lawyer, or other specialist
    Example: Our dog Bailey is not eating. I need to make an appointment with the veterinarian.
  • off the top of my head
    from memory; without checking notes
    Example: "Do you know Beth's email address?" -"Not off the top of my head. I'll need to look it up."
  • out-of-pocket expense
    an expense that insurance does not pay for
    Example: The dentist offers a treatment to make your teeth whiter, but it's an out-of-pocket expense.
Practice the Expressions

Fill in the blank with the missing word:

  1. Will the dental surgery be covered _____ insurance?
    • a) at
    • b) from
    • c) by
  2. Ethan is due _____ a tetanus shot.
    • a) at
    • b) for
    • c) with
  3. Before seeing his next patient, Dr. Drake gave the woman's file a once _____.
    • a) through
    • b) look
    • c) over
  4. I'm afraid my front teeth are loose, but maybe it's just a figment _____ my imagination.
    • a) of
    • b) in
    • c) with
  5. If you feel tired all the time,. you should go to the doctor and get to the bottom _____ it.
    • a) with
    • b) of
    • c) in
  6. In the springtime, Tanya's allergies act _____.
    • a) on
    • b) up
    • c) at
  7. When the receptionist asked for my insurance number, I told her I couldn't remember it _____ the top of my head.
    • a) off
    • b) at
    • c) on
  8. The dentist is checking your X-rays. _____ the meantime, I'll floss your teeth.
    • a) During
    • b) At
    • c) In
  9. My stomach is _____ me. It must have been that spicy Thai food!
    • a) killing
    • b) aching
    • c) shooting
  10. My knee has been _____ me trouble all week.
    • a) making
    • b) doing
    • c) giving
Answer Key
Practice The Expressions
  1. c
  2. b
  3. c
  4. a
  5. b
  6. b
  7. a
  8. c
  9. a
  10. c
Answer Key
Language Lens: One/Ones

"One" and "ones" can be used to substitute for a noun that was just mentioned.

Look at this example from the dialogue:

Dr. Li: It looks like the filling is loose.
Tina: Isn't that the same one you replaced last year?

Tina says "one" rather than repeating the noun (filling). She could have also said: "Isn't that the same filling you replaced last year?"

Other examples with "one":
"Do you like the red or the blue jacket?" - "I like the red one."
"I don't have a tie to wear to dinner." - "Let me lend you one."
"Which ring do you like?" - "I like the one on the top shelf."
"I'd like a chocolate chip cookie." - "We have two different kinds, one with nuts and the other without nuts. Which one do you want?"

When referring to a plural noun, use "ones."
"Those pastries look delicious!" - "Which ones?"
"Please water the plants." - "Which ones?" - "The ones in the kitchen."

Look at another example from the dialogue:

Tina: Also, one of my top right teeth is a little sensitive.
Dr. Li: Which one?

You may wonder why the dentist doesn't say, "Which ones?'" since "teeth" are mentioned. In this case, however, we know Tina is talking about one of her teeth.

Quick Quiz

Fill in the blank with the missing word:

  1. I like the blue car, but my husband prefers the green _____ .
    • a) one
    • b) ones
  2. Ed offered me a glass of wine, but I told him I didn't want _____ .
    • a) one
    • b) ones
  3. There's a huge pile of bottles here. Which _____ are recyclable?
    • a) one
    • b) ones
  4. "Those flowers are pretty!" - "They're the _____ I picked from the garden this morning."
    • a) one
    • b) ones
  5. "Who would like a drink?" - "I'd like _____."
    • a) one
    • b) ones
  6. I've sorted the applications into two piles. These are the applications I've already looked at, and these are the _____ I still need to review.
    • a) one
    • b) ones
  7. If you need a wedding photographer, I can recommend _____.
    • a) one
    • b) ones
  8. "Which pictures are these?" -"The _____ I took in Bali."
    • a) one
    • b) ones
  9. _____ of your friends called to ask if you're free on Saturday night, but I can't remember his name.
    • a) One
    • b) Ones
  10. _____ of Kevin's fingers is broken.
    • a) One
    • b) Ones
Answer Key
  1. a
  2. a
  3. b
  4. b
  5. a
  6. b
  7. a
  8. b
  9. a
  10. a
Answer Key
Favorite Books

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