Friday, 28 January 2011

I am off to visit the

dentist this morning. The appointment was made at my last check up several months ago. I have spent the last week dreading it - on and off.
I do not like going to the dentist! My dentist is a perfectly pleasant person but I detest the invasion into my mouth.
When I was a child there was a "school dental service". All children were given check ups and some, particularly those in rural areas, were given basic treatment. Children in urban areas were more likely to be referred to a local dentist. The dentist we went to was rough. I can still remember the occasion on which, age seven, I had to park my tricycle outside the dental surgery one afternoon after school, go in alone and have a recalcitrant baby tooth pulled and then continue home with blood dripping down my chin. My mother added to my woes when she lost her temper because I had blood on my school dress. It is little wonder that I do not like visiting the dentist.
Dental standards and practice seem to have changed too. Once it was acceptable to have an annual check up and, unless something extra needed to be done, you did not see the dentist for another year. We went to a local dental clinic for years. The dentists who owned it were supposed to be "very good". They were perhaps a little too good - for two reasons. I suspect they over-serviced. There was always something that required doing. When I left and visited the dentist on an annual basis at the university health clinic in London there was never anything to do. The dentist there was a fellow Australian trained at the same university and at the same time. The other problem was that the dentists were members of a minority religious sect and were inclined to talk religion once they got to know you. If there had been somewhere else to go I would have gone.
Now our dental service insists on seeing us at least three times a year. It is part of the health fund we belong to and the cost is, compared with other dental services, minimal as it is part of the cover. Nevertheless I find it strange that they insist on seeing us so often. Is it really necessary? I am assured that it is and, if we wish to continue the cover, then this is what we must submit to. Now "dental hygiene" is big business. We are given dire warnings about the state of our teeth and our gums and the disastrous effects failing to care for them can have on the rest of our health.
This may well all be true but I cannot help thinking that one hundred years my paternal grandparents managed on an annual trip to the dentist and they both lived into their nineties.
Genes must have something to do with it!


Ann said...

I hate, hate, hate the dentist. I also hate it when they ask you questions as they are sticking instruments into your mouth. Hope your visit was not too traumatic.

catdownunder said...

I survived - but I do wonder why we now need to go so often!

Holly said...

there actually is fairly decent data to support the following
1) regular cleaning does slow down carries
2) early fill of cavities means you keep more tooth
3) the more teeth you have, the lower the chances of dentures
4) dentures are extremely expensive in terms of time, fit and manuafacture.

of course, basic brushing, flossing and staying away from constantly eating simple sugars would make a lot of people's lives better (both weight and teeth!)

catdownunder said...

Yes ma-am doc! I really do know all those things but I still get irritated every time I need to go to the dentist...even though she is a nice person.
(And I am well aware that, where you are currently deployed, the local dental service is pretty well non-existent.)