Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dental Damage

I was never one of those kids who had a fear of the dentist. I even kind of enjoyed going, despite the fact that many of the trips were to have teeth pulled (most of my baby teeth didn't fall out on their own, then later when I was getting braces, I had to have some permanent teeth yanked because my mouth was too small). I had my first cavity discovered, drilled and filled by a super-cute Costa Rican dentist in Tilaran back in 2002. It wasn't until 2004 or 5, when I was living in San Diego, that my fear of the dentist started.

I had gone in for a cleaning - just a cleaning - although the whole thing was terribly painful. I left with all of my gums bleeding and the dentist telling me that was just because I was on birth control. The whole event was pretty scary, and soured me on the whole dentist thing. Since then my trips to the dentist have been pretty few and far between - although I went to one here in Daegu back in May. I had my teeth cleaned, the abraded enamel on my front teeth fixed, and two cavities diagnosed. It wasn't a bad experience at all.

I went this morning to have the cavities worked on. It was pretty horrible. While the Costa Rican dentist had drilled-n-filled without any anaesthetic, he had told me to let him know if I felt any pain, and that then he would shoot me up with some novocaine. This fella didn't give me that option; he just started drilling. All the yowling in pain coming from the patient on the chair (me), didn't slow the drill one bit. He only did one of the two cavities... meaning that I need to go back and do this again if I want the other one fixed. My filling choices were gold or amalgam... as the former cost $250 while the latter cost $25, I went with the amalgam. It's pretty ugly - I look rather like I have some chewing gum stuck on one of my molars. Not a big fan.

It doesn't hurt any more (the pain stopped as soon as the drill did), but it feels odd, like it almost hurts, if that makes any sense. And I've felt nauseous all day :-(

Now I'm faced with the choice of finding a new dentist in Seoul, or returning for more torture in September when I come back to Daegu to collect Charlie. According to my boss, getting cavities filled without being numbed is normal over here...

3 comments:

Eve said...

I got some cavities filled here in Seoul a few months back. They shot me full of novocaine (even though I requested no novocaine -- I prefer temporary pain to several hours of numbness). But since I went to a dentist that advertised English speakers, I spent a FORTUNE. My co-teacher saw the bill for all the work done (x-rays, 3 cavities, cleaning and the filing down of one tooth) and it was 700,000 won and she said it was "reasonable for a dentist with a U.S. degree." Sigh.

Anonymity said...

Sadly, that sounds like US prices :-( Since I'll be in the US for a couple of weeks, my mom has offered to make me an appointment with her dentist... I'm still trying to decide if I want to shell out for quality care and numbness or if I want to go back to "my" dentist in Daegu when I return to pick up my cat...

Eve said...

Take the numbness if you need it. :)