"be on edge" = nervous

"My kids are a little on edge because they have an appointment with the dentist."

"couldn't sleep a wink" = not able to sleep well

"My daughter couldn't sleep a wink last night because she was so worried about getting her teeth checked."

More of Randall's Favorite Learning Resources

Friendly Dental Care

1. Pre-Listening Exercises

Want to Tell People About This Listening Activity?

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.

dental exam

2. Listening Exercise
Listen to the conversation by pressing the "Play Audio" button and answer the questions.
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 he takes a look in the patient'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 dentist does 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


1. He came in for a dental check up.

2. The man has a decayed back tooth.

3. when he drinks something cold

4. doing a root canal

5. nitrous oxide


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 afilling 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 localanesthetic or nitrous oxide . . . laughing gas. . . to minimize the discomfortyou 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.

3. Post-Listening Exercises

How important is a nice smile in finding a good job or attracting a partner? What dental procedures are available to improve your teeth and smile? Are such procedures worth the cost? Compare different dentists or whitening methods to find the best service. Explain your reasons.

4. Online Investigations  

Receiving proper dental care is essential for good health, but having access to this care isn't available to all people around the world. Use the Internet to identify and find out information about at least two volunteer organizations that provide free dental care to people in need. What is the name of the organization? When was it first created? What types of dental procedures do they provide and how is the organization funded?

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