Monday, March 7, 2011

Going To The Dentist

An old gold crown at the back of my mouth came loose and dropped out. No big deal. This happens from time to time, and Dr. Chaplin simply cements it back, no fuss, no muss. It was uncomfortable wiggling around back there, so I thought I would chance a visit to a local dentist since no drilling or treatment would be involved. There is a dentist in Portsmouth, Dr. A. I called, and they took me the next day.

When I got there 10 minutes before the appointment she was on her way out the door and the “nurse” was cleaning up. They had forgotten, but they would do me a favour and take me anyway. I was taken into the room where there was an antique dentist’s chair and ordered to “sit there”. The “nurse” threw what looked to be a cloth diaper on my chest. The dentist, a tall big boned woman with blond extensions loose around her shoulders hitched herself up to my head on a squeaky rolling stool, snapped on some latex gloves, roughly yanked my already open mouth wider, and stuffed my mouth with wads of gauze. After a very cursory examination she declared that the tooth itself was broken, but she would re-cement the crown on it anyway. She did that quickly, and when finished both she and the ”nurse” left the room with me still in the chair with a mouth full of wadding. When no one came back I figured that it was over. I got up and went into the waiting room. The dentist had left, and the rather surly “nurse” was waiting for me. I was charged 200 Eastern Caribbean Dollars, about $100 Canadian and left. Two weeks later the crown came off.

I phoned to schedule another appointment. They told me to come in right away, as they were about to close. It was 12:30 p.m. I was there by 12:45. The waiting room was full. I took a seat on a hard bench and settled myself in for a long wait…and it was long. I wasn’t called until 2:00 p.m. There were two little girls, about 7 years old, whom the “nurse” was looking after, moving around the waiting room. Finally I was called, and ordered, by a flip of the hand, to get into the chair. This time though, the chair was not fastened securely to the floor and the whole apparatus, chair, lamp, and table, rocked alarmingly to and fro with every slight shift of my body. The headrest had lost its pillow since my last visit. I was obliged to position my head on a post. I looked up at the lamp, which was in a fixed position because its handles were broken.

Dr. A roughly stuck the diaper under my chin, and turned to the nurse asking her, “What cement did we use last time?” “I don’t know,” was the reply to which Dr. A. answered, “I don’t remember, let’s use something different.” My precarious confidence was evaporating and I was getting seasick from the rocking chair. My mouth was once again stuffed with wads of gauze. One of the little girls burst into the room wailing and threw herself on the dentist’s lap! Dr. A, with her gloved hand, stroked the child’s hair, cooed at her maternally, gave her a drink of water and told her she should not come into the room when “Mummy is working.” The “nurse” was preparing some material when Dr. A’s cell phone rang. The “nurse” answered it and handed it to Dr. A. who, holding my mouth open with her left hand, took the phone in her right hand and made babysitting arrangements with her mother. The little girl banged back into the room sounding like I felt, and put her head on her mother’s lap. This meant that she was looking directly into my ear. She poked my ear, ran around to the other side to check out the other ear. The crown was returned to its place. I’m not sure it was even looked at it, or cleaned it out. I was coping with motion sickness. No charge this time, but there would be a charge next time, keep your mouth closed for 15 minutes declared Dr. A, and she left the room. These were the only words that were spoken to me directly in the two visits.

Even though the crown came loose again that very evening, there will not be a next time.

Saturday, March 12 - Just got a call from the dentist who invited me to come in because she has an "idea" about fixing the crown!!! I didn't go. I'll take my chances with it and wait for Bob C. At the moment it is wedged in and only mildly uncomfortable.


Judy May said...

utterly hysterical.... when it's happening to someone ELSE. I laughed, cringed and cried, all at the same time...picturing myself in your (dizzingly,unhinged) shoes. What will you do now? Is there a dental clinic at the medical school? My heart goes out to you! J

Trashcan Man said...

Even the most incompetent dentists here are miles ahead of what you had to endure.