I finally had my first proper dental checkup today in about 15 years! I'm not going to lie I was absolutely bricking it - the dentist terrifies me - waiting to go in to see the dentist and hearing the whirring drills and that horrible chemical smells freaks me out!
However as in the last 3 months I have had to go to the emergency dentist twice - once for a wisdom tooth extraction (which was surprisingly not that painful) and more recently to get an old filling removed, and some treatment plus a temporary filling put in (probably the most painful experience of my life - who knew that a dying nerve could make your whole head explode?) I knew I needed to go - not the least because the emergency dentist told me I had to!
I was lucky enough to finally get on the books of an NHS dentist there is no way I could have afforded to go private and today was my first appointment.
So I arrived early to give myself time to try and calm down but no such luck - I got there at 9.30 for a 9.45 appointment and within minutes of sitting down I was called in. The dentist only looked about 20 - that's a sign I am getting old though right? I swear my GP looks like he is 12 and now the dentist looks young too!
He took my medical history and then got about the business of examining my teeth calling out mystifying numbers and information to the dental nurse who logged it on the chart. He also whilst I was laying there helpless and terrified proceeded to point out as a diabetic I have a high risk of tooth decay, gum disease, having to have my teeth pulled out by gremlins with red hot pokers and so on and so on - I was starting to feel distinctly sick at this point - I'm not a fainter but it was deffo on the cards. So after making me khakk my pants and convincing me that I was going to need all my teeth pulled out he finished up with - apart from the root canal (which I knew about from emergency dentist visit number 2) and 2 old fillings needing replacing my teeth and my gums were in good condition! Jeez thank you very much Doc - you couldn't have saved the diabetics get bad teeth so brush properly talk until AFTER you told me I was all good?
A couple of x-rays were done and he showed me the results on the screen - damn my teeth look good in xray white!
All in all my teeth are good and strong there is some patchiness to the enamel in parts - probably due to the fact I used to guzzle around 5-6 litres of fizzy drinks every day (yes it's a bad habit which I am mostly out of - now I only have 2 or 3 glasses at most a day and drink water the rest of the time). He suggested that my past addiction to pepsi max and juice drinks has caused some damage but it can be repaired by using a strong fluoride toothpaste once a day - he helpfully provided me with a prescription for it. He also recommended I continue with my awesome Oral B toothbrush - mainly because it has a timer so I brush the right amount of time and a sensor to stop me brushing too roughly! and continue to floss. So no changes there.
I get to go back in just under a month to get the fillings done (at £30 so not too bad) and then I have to make an appointment for the root canal :( which is expensive at £185 but is a 90% chance that they can repair it and that I wont need to have the tooth extracted which would only cost £45 but I would rather not lose a tooth.
Sadly I do actually need an extraction of a tooth which broke about 8 years ago - there is no way of saving it but as it's been like it for 8 years they have kindly offered to leave it until the rest of my dental work is done.
So all in all with today's appointment and the emergency dentist by the end of March I will have spent like £350 on dental care - and I prob need to see the hygienist for a scale and polish too - that seems a lot but it's nothing to what I would have to pay privately and I actually dont mind paying in to the NHS for treatment at a subsidised rate. I think we take for granted a lot that we get for free or significantly reduced in this country from the NHS.To put it into perspective - I saw a Dr in the USA for a chest infection - I had a brief examination - it was obviously by the green gunk running from my nose, eyes, ears and chest and the fact i sounded like a train when i was breathing that there was an infection and most likely upper respiratory based. He spent about 10 mins with me. Prescribed antibiotics and was done and dusted in less than 15 mins at a cost of around £250 and then I paid another £100 for the prescription of 14 days supply of 2 antibiotics - so the same price for less treatment, time and so on.
Anyways I can say I am really relieved that my teeth are not about to fall out and that I dont need anything major done - phew