Friday, 2 August 2013

If I can get an emergency appointment

I will be prowling off to see the dentist later today. It will all be a matter of whether I am lucky enough to nab one of the spots at the dental clinic. Yes, I cracked a tooth in the night. Ugh.
I do not like going to the dentist. Who does? I do however consider myself fortunate that I am able to go. Many people do not have the good fortune to be able to get dental attention when they need it. Some people never see a dentist. Others see a dentist only in emergencies - or years apart.
There are multiple dentists at the centre we attend. My regular dentist there is a very nice person and the other people I have come across have also been pleasant.
My continued attendance at the centre will be dependent on being able to pay the annual fee for health cover. I hope I can go on doing it because, in the end, it will probably cost less.
I do not pretend to be any sort of financial wizard. I understand very little about economics. I am however puzzled by the failure of successive governments, of both persuasions, to spend more money on preventative health measures.
Surely it is better for people to have access to dental services they can afford? Isn't it better and more cost effective to have your own teeth? Isn't it better to be able to eat your food properly?
There used to be a "School Dental Service" in rural areas. Every two years a dentist and a dental nurse would arrive towing a caravan set up as a dental clinic. All children's teeth would be checked and basic dental work would be done. More complex dental work would be referred to the nearest major centre which had the capacity to do it.  It was a system which worked well. The dentist would also fit in a few adults in the evening - usually extractions for farmers who had not seen a dentist in years.
I don't know when the service stopped. It probably stopped when the other "School Health Service" also stopped. The School Health Service was a similar service except that the doctor and the nurse would use a staff area or, in one case, the living area of the school house. Children were weighed and inspected and sent on their way.
Unless they broke their arms or required stitches in their knees it was, more than likely, the only time they would see a doctor. 
I wonder now whether the lack of access to a doctor and a dentist in between these visits made much difference to the health of the community. It must have done.
Perhaps it also had advantages. The use of antibiotics was almost unheard of. You had to be very ill indeed to be given penicillin - about the only one available. Now the children next door seem to get antibiotics on a regular basis.
I have had one lot of antibiotics in the last thirty years. It was a mild dose and I am not sure whether it really helped the recovery process. I suppose it did - but I might have recovered anyway. I try to do without such things.
But, I cannot do without the dentist on this occasion. So hopefully I will be able to prowl in and present myself and allow the marvels of modern dentistry to work their magic on me. Sigh.

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