Friday, April 20, 2007

Say "Aaaaaaah"

Fixit's mother is deeply sympathetic to a teething baby. She tells her grandchildren that teeth give you grief. "They're trouble when you get them and they're trouble when you lose them."

I've just been to the dentist for the first time in FOUR YEARS.

In theory I would prefer not to leave it quite so long between visits, based on the knowledge that regular appointments greatly reduce the likelihood of Highly Traumatic Treatments (and highly traumatic bills for those treatments). But pregnancy and babies hijack my good intentions. Not to mention my calcium levels if the post-Climber dental visit was anything to go by (to wit: Root Canal. Ouch). But then, I breast-fed Climber for much longer than the Cherub who was a self-weaner and I may never really get over that rejection Cherub. Just so you know what kind of recriminations are heading your way when you get older.

Anyway, you could argue that Cherub hasn't been a baby for quite a while now, so I could conceivably have gone to the dentist at least a year ago, but after all that root-canal distress I had realised something. Which was that I did not like my dentist. And so this meant that not only was I uncomfortable - on a purely emotional level, I might add, she is actually a highly skilled operator with every new-fangled gleaming bit of equipment you could want - in the chair, I also really resented paying out what felt like an extortionately high percentage of our income to her.

Obviously the thing to do was to find a new dentist, but it's veeeeery easy to drag your feet on this sort of chore because you know at the end of it you will be getting drilling in your head and a large amount removed from your bank balance. But I asked around for recommendations. Here's the thing. People actually don't really give glowing recommendations for their dentists. Even people who have good dentists. Based mostly on the fact that none of us really like going, which colours your whole attitude to the professionals in question and must be a bit of a bummer on a personal level for them, don't you think? I reckon they must get much less of the "oh you must try my chiropractor he's a genius" type affirmations, however well they do their job. Poor old dentists.

But eventually one of my friends did speak really glowingly of her dentist. Not expensive, nice person, kiddie-checkups for free and she really liked him. And someone else we knew also saw him and absolutely concurred.

So I went and saw my new dentist with doom in my heart because it was FOUR YEARS since my last visit. His 'chambers' were poky little rooms, the mags were all at least a year out of date, they hand-wrote their accounts and still had the non-electronic credit card imprinting machine. No wasting my money on expensive overheads here. BUT!! He made me laugh during my check-up, and he explained stuff properly and didn't patronise me.

And best of all he told me my teeth were in pretty good shape! The bottom teeth are a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y fine and I've only 3 very small spots to be fixed up top. *leaps into the air and clicks heels together* So as far as I'm concerned he's welcome to my hard-earned and not only will I be taking the kids there for their first ever check-ups, I also Solemnly Swear I Am Up To No Good I Will Book In Every 6 Months for a Check-up!


  1. I'm glad you found someone good, because it is hard.

    I didn't go to the dentist for 12 years after my Mum could no longer make me, and only returned when substantial pain drove me back. I would like to add that that substantial pain, while requiring emergency surgery had nothing whatsoever to do with my dental care over the 12 years and wouldn't have been caught by a 6 month check-up, indeed after 12 years all the the dentist gave me was a half-hearted clean because he felt he had to do something.

    Needless to say, that was five years ago and I haven't been back since.

  2. I didn't go to the dentist for 14 years. FOURTEEN!!!

    And then I had to pay about half my income every fortnight to fix it all up.

    And she was a fabulous wonderful understanding dentist, once I was almost sorry to leave behind in Canberra!

    But I found a fabulous new dental practice here in Toowoomba - the *whole* practice is just amazingly wonderful - totally committed to pain free dentistry (well, except for the inevitable pain in the hip pocket...). I went in and explained my terror, even had an appointment where that's all I did - just talked, explained allergies and TMJ and everything, and got comfortable (no charge. They even provide for partners/hand holders to have a nice chair in the surgery room - gotta love that. AND for the first time ever, I made a follow up appointment for 6 months time - and I'm looking forward to it.

    I'm so glad you found a good dentist - like finding the right hairdresser, it's almost enough to stop you leaving that vicinity.

  3. I'm glad you've found a good one. I'm off to the dentist for the first time in 7 years, on monday. eep...

  4. umm 14 years here too despite having 2 wisdom teeth come through in that time, and free dental care (when you're pregnant and for a year after). I should go I know I should

  5. A good friend of mine is a dentist and she told me once that dentists have a way higher than average suicide rate!! Must be all that rejection, hey?

    And, Naughty Caity. And Naughty Uli!! And Caramaena!!! What bad girls.

  6. AND Velcro!! I am very disappointed.
    Stomper, you're comparatively good!!

  7. When I entered the comments area there were only "3 comments" apparently! We're all here at once!

    I was going to claim about a 5 year absence myself (only went last month after putting it off forever for the same reasons as you!) but I see I'm in illustrious company and have come a very poor 2nd last! We are all naughty, naughty ladies ;-)

  8. I remember seeing a film whre a character is undergoing all kinds of dental repairs and grimacing and my mother telling me it was because this character didn't go for the regular checkups.

    So I'm pretty obsessive about that, given this story took place when I was 6.


  9. Honestly! I'm such a goody-goody. Here was me thinking I was soooo bad for letting it go 4 years and all you rebel types out there just trump me with your 12 and 14 years. At least Joke, Kirsty and Nutmeg are goody-two-shoeses with me...

  10. Oooh. I actually love going to the dentist. I get to go sit in a chair and have someone take care of me and I don't even have to talk!

  11. I had a dentist once called Dr. Love.

    He looked like Dennis the Menace, but he was actually rather good.

  12. I think dentist stories are a bit like labour, no one ever tells you their great labour story, "Yeah went in, took drugs, squeezed kid out it was all normal" They love to tell you in gruesome detail every horrid moment in vivid colour, same with the teeth stories. My dentist is fine, other than almost having to take out another mortgage for payment!

  13. If you HAVE to be tortured AND pay for the pleasure, it's at least nice if the torturer has a decent bedside manner! So-o-ooo worth it to take care of the pearly whites...Old ladies without teeth? Not a pretty sight....

  14. Everybody has been here before me.
    I have blogged before about dentists, so wont go there again. I am a devout coward.
    I am so glad you have found a dentist you like, it makes all the difference.

  15. I'm there every year without fail. usually not a checkup, just more crumbling teeth/problems, as per me.

    I think i've had 6 root canals now.

    I love my dentist though, he 's kind, not demeaning, sympathetic, gentle, and a wee bit hot to boot.
    I've mentioned him locally, and i'm not the only married woman to swoon. Seems he's a bit popular.


    Before this I had a man who, although his work was fine, would sigh a lot, and try to hide his disgust with the condition of my teeth badly. I used to feel like a dirty old toothless bum when sitting in his chair. Hated him.

    So yeah, I know what it's like ..

  16. I hate all things dental - GROSS. The worst thing about teaching year 1,2 or 3 is that everyone is losing teeth and constantly showing how wiggly they are, how they can twist around, how much they bleed......YUK

  17. I've had one root canal and that was done by Dr Butcher...

    Put me off a bit! He wasn't bad, not much of a 'chair'side manner though.

  18. Nearly TWO years ago I went to the dentist after not seeing one for nearly 10 years!! I had been traumatised by a butcher of a Dentist ripping out my 4 wisdom teeth IN the Chair!!! Having lived for 7 years away when I returned I was still too scared to see my lovely dentist from years prior (the butcher was a referal) - I was sure he could "tell" I hadn't been to the dentist. So I found myself an unknown (to me) dentist and went - get this - I even went under my husbands name!!! Like what was the Dentist going to do??? Anyway it was awful - and very expensive and I swore I would go every 6 months!!!! And here I am nearly two years later. The thing I need to tell myself is "I will NOT die if I go to the Dentist. They don't tend to kill their patients!!!" - So WHY am I so worried about going again! Honestly I would rather give birth than go to the dentist!!!

  19. I didn't go to the dentist for five years, and surprisingly when I went, they didn't fall over with shock. The one place I do have to go is the optometrist, and when I finally turned up (a year late) it was a new woman who lectured me, and scolded me, and frowned heavily even when she had to admit my eyes were fine. Anyway, she's gone now, and my new optometrist is lovely. At least the optometrist doesn't hurt!!

  20. Gosh, you Melburnians get all the good stuff (whine, whine). We don't have good dentists in Sydney, just very rich ones.

    Glad you had a good experience though. I have to take the child very soon. Maybe I'll move to Melbourne. Actually, maybe I'll send him to you and you can take him! :) (And get him to eat vegies while he's there!)


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