.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Dentists and pain

When I was a kid if I needed dental treatment my mother took me to the dental hospital at South Brisbane. Some of my friends went to private dentists. But my family could not afford that. At the hospital you did not get to choose your dentist. Some were good with kids. Some should have been banned from working with kids. I remember when water drills came in. They were so much easier to handle than the old mechanical ones we used to be subjected to. I also remember one cranky old dentist threatening that he would use the mechanical drill if I couldn't keep my mouth open wider. As a kid all of my fillings were done without an injection.

At the age of 18 I went to live in Sydney. When I needed dental treatment I discovered Dr C. He was wonderful. I know it is not common to hear people say they think their dentist is wonderful but compared to what I grew up with I found him to be a kind and gentle man. He would take time to explain what was needed and give me choices about how that was done. He seemed to be impressed that I didn't need an injection for a normal filling. I remember one time he got his nurse (he always had cute nurses) to take a look at how much drilling he'd done without an injection. I had tried injections and I decided I preferred the short-term pain of the drill that stopped as soon as he stopped drilling to the longer-term discomfort and numbness created by the injection.

When I moved away from Sydney I tried other dentists. None of them came up to Dr C. One refused to accept my decision to not have an injection and immediately injected me without waiting for me to disagree. I never returned to him. Nor did I return to others I tried for one reason or another. When I was living in Brisbane I had to go to an annual conference in the Sydney area. I would usually arrange to go a week early so I could visit Dr C for a check up and any work needed. Eventually he said I didn't need to keep coming as at the stage I had reached my teeth should stay good for some time.

When I decided to retire and move to Asia over six years ago, I had one or two little problems with my teeth. I decided to visit Dr C and get them fixed before I did. I didn't know if he'd still be practising but he was. By this time he was about 70 years old. I expressed surprise that he was still practising. He said he had fewer patients these days and it suited him. He'd slowed down rather than retiring. 'And what would I do if I retired?' he asked. I could think of a thousand things but obviously he is happy with dentistry.

He refilled one tooth for me and recommended I get a crown on another. I had a choice of a post and crown or just a crown. He said the post should be better but there were no guarantees. As it turned out I did not have time for the post before my flight to Asia so I settled for the crown.

It didn't last. It fell victim to some sticky rice in Thailand. I didn't do anything about it at the time. I was still able to chew and I found I had less trouble with food becoming trapped. Some time later, when I was living in Cambodia a filling came out. This one was causing some problems so I decided to have it fixed. You can read the story here.

I got the same dentist to replace the missing crown too. I was wary at the time about getting such work done in Cambodia but that was September '06 and I'm happy to say that it is still there and in that time it has been responsible for assisting in the chewing of many kilos of sticky rice.

Having had such success in Cambodia I was not concerned about finding a good dentist in Mahasarakham. The dentist I was referred to was recommended by several people. His practice is clean and appears to be professional. I assume you've already read my previous two posts. Now I'll carry on from where I left off.

Since the first root-canal treatment the tooth stopped hurting and has given me very little trouble. Last Sunday I made my final visit to the lady dentist in Khon Kaen. (Lots of Khon Kaen pics now on my flickr page.) She gave me the final treatment which lasted about an hour and was done without an injection. But I still had to return to my dentist in Mahasarakham to get the crown added. I got someone to ring and make an appointment for me. It can be a little frustrating communicating via someone else who may not understand fully what you want. I usually make an appointment for 6 pm and don't often wait too long. She made the appointment for 5 pm. I made it there by 5.20 knowing that there was no way I'd go in straight off at 5. I waited until 6.40 before I finally got into the dentist chair. I thought they'd forgotten me. Before I left to head into town I noticed that if I bit down on the problem tooth there was a slight twinge there. I tested this a few times on my way to the dentist and sometimes it twinged and sometimes it didn't. I mentioned this to him when I got into the chair. He just said 'Hmmm.' After he removed the temporary crown he stuck his drill into my mouth. I guess he was polishing the tooth but whatever he was doing it was quite painful. 'Relax. Relax.' he said. 'I can't,' I answered. 'It's hurting.' He said it shouldn't be hurting as there was no nerve left in the tooth. I understood that but I know pain when I feel it. And it was painful. So, he put another temporary crown on it and told me to come back in two weeks. I'm not impressed. I wanted to be over it. I've had enough of this. I want to be able to eat whatever I feel like instead of having to eat omelettes and curries all the time. I want to eat sticky rice again. But it seems I have to wait another two weeks—at least. It has been sore to bite on since then but today, not quite so bad. Let's hope it gets better this time.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?