Wrapped Up In Books

My visit to a British dentist(!)
October 1, 2008, 1:26 pm
Filed under: A, For Your Health!, potpourri | Tags: , , , ,

Today, I will bestow upon myself honorary British citizenship. Why, you ask? Because I went to the m-fing dentist today! A Scottish dentist! Dentistry in a country (or group of countries, rather) known for some of the gnarliest smiles in the world!

Yet I was so excited to go! I’ll drop the exclamation points at this point and remind you that a few weeks ago (September 11, to be exact), I cracked off a third of my molar on a Skittle before breakfast in Dufftown, the morning we were leaving for Aberdeen. While this alone was very upsetting, I had to stave off a breakdown knowing that I’d be seeking treatment far away from my trusted dentist and instead have to deal with someone who doesn’t know me, or my preference for a pretty-looking smile (see below).

The right side of my mouth/face (R) is still frozen now.

So let me give you some background information about the organization of dentistry in the UK. It’s goddamn terrible. The NHS (National Health Service) is the medicare programme here, and upon arrival it’s suggested that you register on the area’s dental waiting list. The wait time at present is two years. The irony of this situation is that my degree is only a year long, and there is a dental practice directly beside my residence.

After calling the NHS emergency dental service, I was told (twice!) that I wasn’t an emergency case because I hadn’t suffered head trauma. Those were the only patients they’d admit for treatment at all, otherwise I was told to register on the wait list. I picked up a form to do just that and included a hand-written letter that perhaps exaggerated my situation. I wrote that I was turned down twice for treatment, that the pain was ‘quite severe’ and made eating and drinking completely dreadful. I received a call the day after I sent off the form that I should call them on the day I wanted treatment (at the Old Aberdeen dental surgery, no less), and they would fit me in that day. Never doubt the power of persuasion, people. Tell them what they want to hear.

Of course, I took all the precautions to avoid getting an infection; really, the gum was exposed and I had a few nightmares that I might get food caught in it, the tooth would die and abcess, and I’d be left totally disfigured. But it didn’t hurt at all, so I put off the appointment until I had a day off from class.

I called NHS today to arrange for the appointment, and as I just mentioned, said that it kept me from sleeping, that it’s sensitive to temperature, and that it makes eating and drinking uncomfortable. That scored me an 11.15am appointment for today.

I went in, filled out my medical history, and waited for my name to be called. The dentist herself was a young woman – probably no older than 35, and really pretty. She was thrilled at my accent (ha), and we chatted about Toronto, which she had visited during her 20s.

The place itself, albeit new, looked so incredibly clean and reassuring. The staff were quite nice, too. My entire filling process took only about 20 minutes; it wasn’t overbooked like my dentist from home usually is (or at least that’s probably the fault of the seemingly incompetent and slovenly receptionist there).

She complimented my (naturally) straight teeth and sent me on my way. I was told on the phone to bring between £10 and £20 to cover the costs, but I had to stifle a laugh when I was told the total bill was only £4.80 (about $10 CDN/USD). Surely in Canada this would’ve been a few hundred dollars, albeit covered by my parents’ insurance.

I don’t think I’ve been more relieved ever in my life, perhaps aside from finishing writing the MCAT. And I think that really gives you the scope of how much better I feel now. Huzzah!

Copyright © 2008 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

everyone loves a feel-good happy story, this guy not excluded

Comment by matt

Looking good, gorgeous!

Comment by ren/natka

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