Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth

Well, I couldn’t resist after my last post title and two trips to the dentist this week, could I?

My avoidance of masochists, I mean dentists started many years ago when I was unlucky to have a flat above a dental surgery. I’m not sure whether he was actually a serial killer or not, but the screams coming from the chair were almost as bad as the last time I was in a maternity unit.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was a workshop down in the basement where he made all his false teeth moulds. Having sneaked into it one day, my flat mate and I were not only horrified at the various paraphernalia but the overall hygiene of the place was horrifying. Cue my avoidance of any dental appointments for the next several years.

Eventually, when I became a parent we had to register our daughter for a dentist and due to NHS shortages this ended up being at a private practice, where they agreed to treat the children as NHS patients if the parents registered.

Following an initial examination where he commented things didn’t look too bad, a couple of x-rays later had him shaking his head and taking sharp intakes of breath like a greedy car mechanic trying to rip off a customer. The conclusion – eight fillings in various places over a six week period of appointments and a £350 dental bill. Oh, and a tendency to set off metal detectors.

That was about ten years ago, and I have continued to go along for regular appointments ever since. It goes okay for one or two, and then he must think that he hasn’t had any money out of me for a while and finds something that needs replacing. Even, when I protest that he did the work so it shouldn’t need redone, he just smiles and secretly imagines the pound signs and his next holiday to Barbados.

This last visit, I made the mistake of telling him I now had private dental care. A cash cow if ever there was one for dentistry. Oh, well he says rubbing his hands.....it has been some time since we had full x-rays done. Again, cue head shaking, umming, ahhing and a couple of problems with existing fillings come to light. After waving an x-ray in front of me and convincing me that two teeth needed doing, I turned up for the first appointment last Monday.

This tooth has given me no trouble at all, but following an uncomfortable half hour of drilling, poking, clamping and sticking that bloody cotton wool tampon like tubes in my mouth – I’m free to go. The result,.... I have had nothing but pain from the tooth all blooming week, it’s very sensitive to cold / hot, although and he assures me it will settle down soon.

Second trip to the dentist yesterday to finish off another miserable Monday and after hacking about at me for what felt like hours, he announces that if this doesn’t work then root canal treatment may be required. I had hoped it wasn’t trial and error on his part by this time, especially since he’d just drilled out the previous blooming filling. At least this one isn’t hurting the same.

As I left the surgery, I overheard someone trying to book an appointment only to be told the dentist was on holiday for three weeks in September. Looks like he was topping up his beer money again.

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