Friday, 9 July 2010

The tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth

Monday 28th June 2010

Thursday morning whilst I was having some muesli for breakfast I bit on something hard. That doesn’t seem like a nut, I thought.

It wasn’t, it was a big bit from one of my fillings. I’d lost fillings before and they weren’t funny. Drinking anything remotely hot or cold caused immense pain so I bucked up courage to take a tiny sip of tea.

I scrunched my face in anticipation of the forthcoming pain. Nothing. I tried again. Still nothing. I took a bigger sip of tea. Again nothing.

Later, having poked around with my tongue, I found where the filling had come from and took a look at it in the mirror. It looked like only part of the filling had come away, which was probably why I hadn’t been experiencing any pain.

Nevertheless I knew it needed to be looked at so rang my dentist. I had made my dentist aware of my mobility problem back in November and they were happy for me to remain on their books (anyone not visiting the surgery for 18 months is automatically removed) and if I had any problems, they would arrange a home visit.

“I’d need to speak to your dentist about this”, said the receptionist, “however she’s not in today but will be tomorrow, so I’ll ring you then”.

True to her word she did.
“I’ve spoken to your dentist”, she said, “and I’m afraid there is nothing we can do”.
“I was told you could arrange a home visit”, I replied, reminding her of what had been agreed in November.
“I’m sorry, but she is not prepared to do anything. All we can do is recommend that you find another dentist”.

Having been at that practice for over 16 years I was not a happy bunny !!!

Whilst my tooth wasn’t causing me any problems I knew it would sooner or later (4pm on Christmas eve was John’s prediction…) so had to find another dentist.

That morning I rang the local dentist advisory service and explained what had happened. They gave me details of two dentists in the local area who, not only had good disabled access and late opening hours (so John could take me after he finished work), but would be able to take me on as a new NHS patient. They also weren’t overly pleased with my dentist and said they take the matter further if I wished.

I said yes. I knew the outcome would be still the same, however I wanted them to know that I wasn’t happy with the way I had been treated.

The advisory service rang back later that afternoon.
“I’ve just spoken to them”, she said, “and explained that you weren’t very happy. They claim they contacted all the dentists in the Sunderland area to see if they would take you on as a patient, however all of them weren’t taking on new NHS patients”.
“Somehow I doubt that”, I replied, “especially since you gave me two who were”.
“I also asked them why you were told they could arrange a home visit”, she said, “they said you were given the wrong information and don’t know who could have told you this”.
“It was my dentist who told me…”, I answered.
“They have offered to speak to you further about this”, she added.
“No thanks”, I said, “it’s not worth it. I’ll just get more lies and excuses”.

Having had a good relationship with my dentist (I was one of her very first patients in when she opened her practice; as a wedding present she gave me a free clean and polish a couple of days before the big day; if I needed to see her in an emergency, she always fitted me in, no matter how full her appointments were), I was genuinely upset with the way I had been treated.

I hope my new dentist, who ever he/she may be, will be a little more courteous.

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