Grrrr :-(

posted 27 August 2006

Sorry to be boring, but I'm gonna talk about my teeth again, if only because for that much money, I should at least be getting some blog-fodder.

Okay, so it's official, my dentist is incompetent. For the second time in 3 weeks he has performed a filling and I've had it go wrong and require a root canal -- last time during his normal working hours, but this time the pain woke me up at 4 in the morning and had me scurrying across London on early Sunday morning buses to get emergency, private, horribly expensive treatment from a different dentist. So the NHS is going to get a letter from me, along roughly these lines:

  • Initial consulatation: 4 fillings required, 2 being replacements for older fillings that seemed to be undermined by decay, plus rebuilding and capping of a tooth that had had a root canal several years previously and had broken.
  • First filling: okay
  • Second filling, left upper premolar: white filling, very deep. Took much longer than estimated. Became sensitive as soon as anaesthetic wore off. 5 days later, when I returned for a different treatment, the dentist examined the tooth and decided it need to be treated with emergency root canal. Dentist claimed there was "always" a "20% chance of failure" for "this type of filling" -- which I assumed to mean very large fillings. However, this failure rate had not been mentioned at the initial treatment.
  • Third filling, right upper molar, furthest back: okay
  • Rebuilding and capping, right lower molar: temporary filling applied on first visit was removed, posts inserted, and a new tooth built up. As soon as anaesthetic wore off, noticed a sharp point poking into gum. Over 3 days this gradually became looser during normal chewing, eventually rear portion of new filling broke off.
  • Fourth filling, right upper molar, second from back: described as a "straightforward", "minor" filling, was given "short-acting" anaesthetic. Anaesthetic "wore off" (dentist's own explanation) after about half an hour, towards the end of the procedure, leaving final stages of procedure extremely painful -- no further anaesthetic was administered despite loud protests. Dentist claimed anaesthetic lasted only a short time and we had "missed it by just a minute". Tooth remained very painful, and by 4th day had become extremely sensitive, accompanied by swelling.
  • Visited another dentist, emergency root canal was recommended on fourth filling, plus antibiotics for swelling. Second dentist claimed not to know of any "short acting" anaesthetic. X-rays looking at this tooth also seem to show that tooth behind it (i.e. third filling mentioned previously) also shows signs of infection.

So, just to make it clear: I'm not an idiot. When the second filling went wrong I was worried. However, it had been a very big cavity, so it was quite possible that it would have failed no matter what happened. So I gave my dentist the benefit of the doubt. However, fool me twice, shame on me, so I will not be going back to the first dentist. Nevertheless, I am left with a bunch of very fucked, dead teeth and a huge bill. I am therefore very, very grumpy.

And to my teeth I say: I'm sorry! I apologize for not brushing often enough! Just stop already! Haven't I suffered sufficiently yet?

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