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The great toothache adventure

Adventure is probably the wrong word. More like nightmare. It all began maybe 3-4 weeks ago when I was eating lunch out with friends. I felt a sharp pain in my gum when chewing down and realised that I’d broken a tooth while eating, which was being pushed into the gum and causing the pain. So I chewed with the other side of my mouth instead.

And then a couple weeks ago while I was having lunch with another friend, the tooth fell apart. Into two pieces. In my mouth. So there I am, subtly spitting out bits of tooth without my friend noticing. It was one of my wisdom teeth, top right at the back. It was obvious from the remains that the tooth had broken apart because it was rotten. That was when I knew I had to go to the dentist to get that broken tooth sorted out.

I had planned on going to the dentist this week, but last week my mouth decided that ‘this week’ was too far away. I came down with a very bad toothache. For the first time ever I had a ‘sharp, shooting pain’ in my jaw that shocked me so much! I’d never had this pain before. It hit me hard, and jolted my body as if I had been physically hit by something. It made me cry out in pain and shock.

Google told me that it was probably infected, and if I didn’t get immediate treatment, the results could be catastrophic. I didn’t want blood poisoning or brain damage, so at 9pm at night (when this happened), I sought out emergency medical treatment.

Thankfully I had some painkillers for my occasional back pain, so I took those and then went driving around to find a doctor. I got turned away from one after hours clinic because they didn’t treat teeth, so I went to another after hours clinic at the Canberra hospital. The doctor there told me the pulp was infected. He gave me prescriptions for antibiotics and painkilers, and then I raced through the night to find a chemist to get the prescription filled. Thankfully I found one only 5 minutes before they closed at 11pm!

Long story short…. I haven’t been able to get it treated yet, but I’m going to the dentist tomorrow.

And now we have a bit of a history lesson about my life and dentists.

I finished primary school in 1979. That was also the last time I went to a dentist. After high school I was unemployed for 15 years, so I never had any money for it. And then the years continued on by, and even though I had money over the past 15 years, I had fear and anxiety based on the fact that such a long time had passed, that surely it would hurt a lot if I was to go to the dentist! I hadn’t had any toothaches or anything in all this time, so I just kept on just persevering with a life without dentistry.

Last year I organised private health insurance that included decent dental cover for both my wife and I, because I knew that I would need to bite the bullet sooner rather than later.

Tomorrow is the day.

I found a dentist that will put me to sleep. I need to go to sleep for the first lot of work. I’m sure there’s going to be some catching up with my teeth that I don’t even know about. I want to be asleep for it! I think that once the ‘catch up’ has been completed, and my broken wisdom tooth sorted out (probably extracted), that I’ll be able to settle into a reasonable routine without any major issues.

I’m not looking forward to tomorrow though.

What about you? What stories about dentists would you like to share with me?

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