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Terry and Tony in South Africa. Two South Africans working from home in East London in South Africa since early 2008.

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Details of My Visit to a Dentist in East London

My Facebook page update this morning: ” … and my nasty bad toothache-causing tooth is out! Yay! And what an excellent experience; excellent dentist treated me like a 6 year old. :)

SQUEAMISH WARNING! There’s a photo of my extracted tooth further down – DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH AT SEEING A BLOODY EXTRACTED TOOTH! (yes, I brought my tooth home to show everybody, lol!)

I wanted to bring the tooth home as am surprised at how large the roots seem (it was the most top left tooth; maybe a wisdom tooth, I’m not sure) and seeing the bad tooth that could have crumbled or broken further when the dentist pulled it out (but didn’t) shows me just how good a visit I had to the dentist, and how good Dr Botha was. Not that I need a reminder, as I will always remember that it was a good dentist visit, and hope that I never need to see another dentist again. Dr Botha must be my new dentist forever.

So, here’s the story:

I ate a hot-cross bun Thursday afternoon, and I think some more of my already-broken tooth broke off. I hit the roof. Well, the “corner” actually – I could do nothing for nearly an hour other than cry. I couldn’t even think.

Somewhere between it all I tried to rinse my mouth out with water, and to drink some hot coffee to try get the pain to ease off a bit – I eventually went to my mother to announce the problem and she found and gave me some oil of cloves to apply to a bit of cotton wool and hold it against the tooth. I also took 2 paracetamol, and half an hour later another 2 paracetamol – the pain seemed to subside somewhat, and now I wanted to get to a dentist in East London to get that tooth out of me. But it was already close to 5pm and I didn’t know where to go, not having been to the dentist in a few years and now no longer being on medical aid.

With the pain being a little more manageable now, I phoned a friend who I remember had once told me she knew somebody who’d been to a Dr Uys in East London who had allowed that person to pay off the visit in 3 payments. This sounded like Dr Uys was going to be my new dentist.

Went to bed earlier than usual on Thursday night, after a supper of cup a soup – I didn’t want to chew anything – and luckily had no pain waking me up during the night. Upon waking Friday morning relatively pain free I was tempted to forget about finding a dentist, but still being afraid to eat anything solid, or that the bad pain would come back, I thought I had better get it over and done with, even though I’m petrified of dentists.

Found the number in the phonebook and I phoned the dentist rooms of Dr Uys at 8.30am thinking that they only opened then – they were booked up until July, but had I phoned at 7.30am I could have come immediately due to a cancellation. Not what I wanted to hear. They said I could leave my name and number and they would call me if there was a cancellation. I was worried about the pain coming back before somebody cancelled their dentist appointment, but left my name and number.

Almost immediately after having put the phone down, I phoned back to ask if anyone there knew what I was supposed to do in an emergency. They said that there were probably a few other dentists in East London that would also allow me to pay off a visit in 3 payments, but that’s all they could offer as help. It wasn’t much help because what I really wanted to know was what does one do in an emergency, and it’s after-hours? I think I would just get myself down to the Frere Hospital in an emergency and hope they could at least give me something to relieve the pain until I could get to a dentist.

There was some help at hand though, due to my having phoned them back – somebody had just cancelled and they could see me on Monday at 4pm! But not a dentist appointment with Dr Uys; the dentist appointment would be with Dr Botha instead. I’d heard that Dr Uys was good, which seemed perfect for me being petrified of dentists, so I was a bit worried to now go and see Dr Botha instead, who I’d heard nothing about, but also petrified of that really bad pain coming back again, took the appointment.

Got through the weekend and Monday in one piece, pain free, but still nervous to eat anything I had to chew, and arrived for my dentist appointment in time to fill in the first time patient file ahead of my appointment.

Anyway, here’s the rest of the story:

Although I hear that Dr Uys is good too, I’m glad I couldn’t get an appointment with the Dr Uys and had to see the Dr Botha instead. Dr Botha is my dentist forever, even if I had medical aid. He was sooooo good, and good with me and my nervousness. I don’t want to ever see another dentist, just this Dr Botha now. Murphy’s Law had better not rear it’s ugly head and this dentist moves to another town or country, like what happened with two other previous dentists I was comfortable with.

My boys have only ever been to the dentist once so far (another dentist) but I want to move them to this dentist, so I think I must phone the rooms and ask about what it is I must do. My boys are on their father’s medical aid.

Ok, so I was incredibly nervous and for some reason more so when I saw Dr Botha was younger than me – I’ve never been to a dentist younger than me before.

But what a treat! He treated me and my nervousness with such patience and like I was 6 years old.

Had me bite on some thing to take an xray, put the xray up for me on a screen and discussed how he was going to try and extract the tooth, showing me that it was badly broken and may break off when he tried to get it out (oh eish I thought) but he said that if that happened, he would cut and still get it all out and that I would not be going home with any tooth still left in my mouth.

I told him it helps my nervousness if he tells me exactly what he is doing along the way, every last thing, and he said “Not a problem at all.”

I forgot to ask if it was a wisdom tooth, but by the size of the roots, and because of where the tooth had been positioned in my mouth, I think maybe it was a wisdom tooth.

Then he gave me three little pricks with the injection needle, and I hardly felt them (his rating went up more)

Then he did a pain and pressure test to make me rest easy that I wouldn’t feel pain or even any sensitivity during the work. He applied pressure by the bad tooth, and then on the other side of my mouth he said he was pricking only lightly and could I tell the difference? Then he did it again, asking me to please be sure I was happy.

I said I could feel a bit of sensitivity by the bad tooth, but like cold, not pain, and he thanked me for telling him (!) and said he’d like to give more injection – the first prick of the injection needle I hardly felt again (but no pain) but the second prick felt a little (just a little) worse than the very first few I’d had. I asked why that was, and he said he went deeper to get at a nerve and to be sure that I would have no pain during the work.

I’m so glad he did that deeper injection. Then he did the pressure and pain test again on both sides of my mouth, and that cold sensitivity feeling I’d had by the bad tooth before was no longer there. He was ready to begin work on the tooth.

He explained what he would do: grip, twist and wriggle the bad tooth slowly and carefully in an attempt to loosen it a bit, and so that there would be less chance of it breaking off further when he started to pull on it – I said I hated the cracking noise, and hoped that there would not be too much of it – he said he didn’t think there would be too much of that – and there wasn’t – there was hardly any!

I just felt really strong pressure which was a little frightening, but no pain. I was making little “ah, ah, ah” noises – he said that if I felt pain I must lift my one hand and he would stop and re-assess – I said that I didn’t want to lift my hands from their really tight deathgrip on the arms of the dentist chair (whenever I did to loosen my fingers my hands would shake too) and could I just make a louder “ah”? I added that he would certainly know the difference between an “ah” and an “AAAHHH.” He said that would be fine.

extracted bad broken tooth

The roots of the extracted bad broken tooth were bigger than the tooth! What an excellent job the dentist did of getting this tooth out without it breaking off more, and with no pain or trauma to nervous me.

Well, I didn’t have to do any loud aahhhs,

and with a bit of loosening, pressure, twisting, and then gripping and pulling, the entire tooth came out – all of it at once, no breaking off!

Dr Botha told me I could relax now, the whole thing was out. Oh my word, what relief.

Then he gave me a stitch (have to go back in ten days to have it removed) and a wad of cotton wool to bite on. He even wiped the corners of my lips clean. Still in disbelief, I even asked “Is that it? Can I get up and go now?”

Once I was standing up from the dentist chair he started telling me about rules for rinsing for the next 5 days, but before he could get far into that I gave him a big hug and thanked him profusely for his excellent work :)

He asked if I had painkillers I said paracetamol and ibuprofen and he said that’s fine as that’s all he would have prescribed anyway.

I’d been in the chair for only 35 minutes from start to finish – paid my first payment, (and then the balance I will pay over two months) and left the dentist rooms a happy girl indeed.

Dr Botha wants to do other work on my teeth too, and I said okay, but only after I’ve paid this fist visit finished, he said not a problem.

Was a little sore last night, and the blood was bugging me – all we did last night after getting home at about 5.30pm was watch dvds – the area was still bleeding a bit when I went to bed at about 10.45pm

I did eat some smash and some yoghurt – very carefully – last night, but didn’t drink anything warm. Changed for a clean wad of cotton wool about 5 times.

Still just a tad of an ache this morning, and still some blood, but generally much better. And the ordeal is all over! And that tooth will never give me toothache again because it’s not in my mouth anymore. Yay! :)

If you need a dentist in East London and you’re petrified of going to the dentist, whether you have medical aid or not, I highly recommend that you go to Dr Botha.

© Copyright Teresa Schultz 2013

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