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Saturday, September 26, 2009


Tooth story, latest chapter

To put these present tooth issues in perspective I'd like to go back to the beginning.

I had teeth that were giving me lots of twinges, thermal aches and such. This dentist in Mahasarakham was recommended. He removed a couple of old fillings and replaced them and told me to come back in three months. Up to that point everything was fine.

Apparently most Thais don't come back for follow up if they feel fine. He was surprised to see me back. The teeth were not bothering me, at least way less than before. In retrospect, I think he saw this as an opportunity to 'make business'. He told me that the second tooth had a crack and that I should get the root canal treatment and a crown or I would end up with continued troubles. He's the expert, I thought, I took his advice.

After all the troubles (see earlier blogs) I got a second opinion from a dentist who said that my continued pain was coming from the tooth next to the one that had been treated. She suggested I not go back to the first dentist but return to the specialist in Khon Kaen.

I did. She checked it all out and I put my case that I wanted either her or her husband to put the crown on the tooth and also to do the root-canal treatment on the next tooth. She called her husband to take a look, for a second opinion. He was reluctant that they should do this for 'ethical' reasons, ie I had been referred to them by the dentist in Mahasarakham and it was unethical for them to take his patient from him. I've encountered this before in Australian medical practice. The ethics towards colleagues are higher than the ethics to the patient.

I explained that I'd been upfront with the dentist in Mahasarakham and told him I was going to get it finished in Khon Kaen and that he should call him and get his OK before he went ahead.

He spent ten minutes on the phone and came back in to say they had agreed that I should return to Mahasarakham to finish the treatment.

During this discussion I mentioned something about them having treated the second tooth and I was corrected. No they had treated the first one. It took me a little while to wake up. It seems that somehow they'd got the wrong tooth. I didn't think of it while I was there or I would have asked to see the original referral document (if they still had it). Did he tell them the wrong tooth? Did they get the wrong tooth? Or am I still confused?

But one thing they all seem to agree on is that the second tooth is the one with the crack and that is the one from which I am getting pain at times (thankfully not now).

Someone recommended another dentist in Mahasarakham. I caught a sorngtheau into town one night to pay her a visit but I backed out. I found the clinic but I changed my mind. Somehow all of this has undermined my faith in dentists. The temporary crown is still in place. The tooth is not bothering me. For the moment I have decided to leave well enough alone.

About a week later I was riding my bicycle home from the night market. My phone rang. I stopped and took the call. It was the wife of the dentist in Mahasarakham. She told me my crown was ready could I come in and have it fitted. I said that I didn't want to do that. 'OK. Thank you,' she said. And that was it.

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