The Dentist Saga

I remember one of the first times I went to the dentist. I was only 3 or 4 and when the Dentist went towards me to look in my mouth, I jumped out of the chair and ran out of the surgery screaming and into the nearby shopping centre where my Mum found me.

Fast forward all these years later and I still feel the same way about going to the dentist. I've always been quite sporadic with my appointments, mostly going on the rare occasions when I have a toothache.  That was until this year when I realised that I would have to start going properly if I was going to set any sort of example to the girls.  

At our last appointment (24th November), I had to have an x-ray as they realised they didn't have one for their records and they discovered that I have a deep cavity beneath the tooth and close to the nerve. I had to book in urgently for them to work on it. Urgent, so far as their receptionists were concerned, was the first working day back in January.  I didn't think too much of it and put it back to my mind. That was, until the Monday before Christmas when I woke up with a dull toothache that gradually built up into an intense toothache.  

So I phoned the dentists and asked if I could get an urgent appointment and was told the earliest they could see me was Thursday. So I contacted the emergency dentists who advised me that because I was registered to a surgery that had seen me within two months they were unable to help. This was because my surgery has a duty of care to see me within 24 hours when it comes to toothache. After that I called my dentists back, quoting the information I had been given, only to be told that they still couldn't see me any sooner.  Later that afternoon, they phoned to say they could see me on the Wednesday afternoon.  

Monday passed by with a ton of painkillers until I woke Tuesday when the pain was making me cry. I know, it makes me sound a baby, but each time I moved my mouth to talk, my teeth were catching and the pain was unbelievable. I phoned my dentists again, still no appointments. I phoned the NHS 101 number who advised me to sign up as a temporary patient at another surgery. After phoning around, no one would see me. It was at this point D suggested phoning his - private - dentist.  D is still on the family Denplan so I gave them a call and it felt like a small miracle when they said they could see me within the hour.  Whilst I was worried about the cost it had got to the point where I didn't care! I was also quite worried as when the Dentists were taken over several years ago, D referred to the Dentist as a butcher as he was a little rough and being phobic, well you can guess what I felt like.  

Actually though, when I got into the chair the dentist was incredibly kind, gentle and, most importantly, patient. I got very weepy from a combination of the pain and anxiety and I couldn't stop shaking when I was sat in the chair. He drilled down to clear the infection and put a temporary filling over it and the pain relief was almost immediate. He advised me I needed a root canal or extraction and it needed to be done quickly and to see my usual dentist. Thankfully the fee wasn't too painful, although the pain easing so much was such a relief I'd have happily paid anything. 

Following that appointment, I was called in for an urgent appointment at my usual dentists. I told the receptionist I needed a root canal or extraction and asked if they would be able to do either in the appointment - absolutely, they told me. The appointment is long enough for treatment. Of course, I got into the appointment and it wasn't. They were unable to do anything other than prescribing antibiotics and told me to attend my already booked appointment on 4th January.  

So, there we have it. I've spent Christmas on antibiotics which has meant no drinking and the combination of that and time of the month has really flared my IBS up so its been a real blast. I've been grumpy as hell and exhausted. Whilst I understand that if there isn't an appointment available then nothing can be done, I just don't see how it can be acceptable to leave someone in pain and discomfort for over 2 weeks. Have you ever experienced a similar scenario with trying to get a dental appointment?

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