A Visit to the Dentist – I’m SUCH a Coward!

A third molar.

A third molar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few weeks ago I broke one of my back molars on some crusty Portuguese bread. For the uninitiated the crusts are rock hard so lethal if you have crowns, false teeth or indeed any other form of dentistry!

Despite my aversion to dentists, the noise of the drill and that enormous needle they inject into your gums with such sadistic pleasure, I plucked up courage and went to the dentist’s reception and made an appointment. I’d never used this dentist surgery before, nor did I have a frame of reference from friends as to the quality of dental work or if they spoke English. So yes, I was extremely nervous!

Ho hum, decisions, decisions and as they say “beggars can’t be choosers”.

The broken tooth, one of my main munching molars meant I was unable to eat properly, and it hurt. A lot! Fortunately or unfortunately for me the receptionist indicated the dentist just had a cancellation. Before I could prevaricate she whisked me into the dentist’s chair and he had his fingers halfway down my throat while he muttered something in Portuguese.

“Abrer, ABRER” as he yanked my mouth open.

I grunted and pointed to my mouth as I choked on my saliva. I momentarily contemplated biting his fingers in retaliation. No this was not the answer Piglet so stop being such a coward.

“Abrer, ABRER!” he barked at me.
“OK Mr, it’s not my fault you have big hands and me a small mouth.” I thought as I lay gripping the arms of the chair in terror.

X-ray taken the receptionist and dentist joined forces to explain in pidgin English with the help of the x-ays that I needed a crown, but there was a problem. When is there not a problem in Portugal? NOTHING is ever easy and if it is, I’m immediately suspicious. The dentist gave me a temporary filling but I would have to return and have a mould made for the crown.

Was I in for a treat at my next appointment!

I sat in the chair and he immediately began to drill. I’m sure you can relate to that dreadful high pitch noise of the dreaded drill as you wait, eyes bulging in terror that the dentist will not inflict pain before the injection kicks in.

Hang on!

Panic immediately washed over me and I frantically waved my hands for him to stop.

“You’ve not given me an injection for the pain!” I wailed.

He looked at his assistant for clarification and then informed me “No nerves, root canal.” I felt stupid, but why the hell would I know I did not need an injection? The drilling continued. If I thought the drill was bad, having the impression made of my teeth using a metal plate filled with plasticky grunge was horrendous.

Once this metal clamp was inserted over my teeth I was not allowed to move. I could not even swallow my saliva, and when the grunge ran down the back of my throat I almost gagged.

Focus Piglet, FOCUS!

His assistant used a sucker to help alleviate the problem but only succeeded in exacerbating the situation by sucking up the underside of my tongue. OUuuucccccH I must have levitated six inches from the chair!

“Eshpeerar” He snapped, and then a little more kindly.

“Please do not move” and smiled reassuringly.

I counted to ten then twenty and then lost count in an effort to stay focused. Finally the plate was removed and another inserted metal plate for yet another impression. Much to my surprise I survived. Further explanations ensued, but by this time I’d lost the will to live and just nodded in agreement.

Unable to speak my imagination was in overdrive
“Shall we cut your head off?” “Yes, YES, anything just get this torture over with!”

Finally, treatment over I leapt from the chair, but before I could escape another appointment was needed to fit the crown. No they will telephone.

Three weeks later I’m back to the dentist ready and certainly not willing. More drilling and sucking. My tongue like a snake seemed to take on a life of its own and would not remain still. Finally the dentist stopped drilling in exasperation and held the evil drill in full view.

“I not want hurt your tongue.” he said pointing to the drill’s lethal attachment.

I lay motionless in terror, and even my wayward tongue finally remained still at the prospect of being amputated. Finally, the work complete I heaved a sigh of relief and vowed never to eat Portuguese bread again!

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53 responses to “A Visit to the Dentist – I’m SUCH a Coward!

  1. Oh my poor courageous PiP, you are a HERO! The dentist may be glad he survived.
    Dentist treatment should be conducted under full anesthesia and nothing less!
    Now I will try to think of other, more happy things, or I won’t be able to sleep.

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  2. I abhor dentists. When my grandfather, the welsh one, was 18 he was summoned to the Russian front – First World War. For some reason the army thought that the worst thing which could happen to you was toothache (they forgot bayonets, trench rot, frostbite, death) and so every soldier had to have all of their teeth out before they left and false teeth fitted. At 18. Whilst it must have been horrid, and he said there was no anesthetic, every time I have tooth ache I wish I was him. False teeth rock – imagine a life where you never have to go to the dentist.Bliss.

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  3. I would have wet my pants as soon as I saw the metal clamp and I would have bitten him, just for spite. You have a fantastic gift of writing and while I know it was something night terrors are made of, I couldn’t quit smiling. Keep writing, you’re quite good at it.

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  4. Oh poor you. I feel your pain as I’m halfway through the same procedure right now. Although I’m much more of a coward than you – I waited over a year to go for treatment after breaking my tooth on some *crunchy* muesli! Worst thing is they get you twice, once in the chair and once at reception with their massive bill!

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    • Hi AD, it was interesting when I asked the price he started off at 500euros and it actually cost me less than half that in the end. He started off quoting me for the most expenisve material and when I nearly evaporated on the spot he offered a different option at half the price. Still cheaper than the UK ?
      I’m now wary of anything crunchy, especially muesli

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      • Oh, that is interesting. Maybe I need a chat with my dentist before the next stage of my treatment on Thurs. (So far only had the root canal done.) There was no mention of cheaper options, merely the sense of being railroaded. And it’s about 600 euros! And then he said I needed a mouthguard (for another 800euros) because according to him I grind my teeth. News to me. Although I was definitely grinding them by the time I left the surgery!

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        • Hi AD,
          the variation in cost was down to the type of material they use for the crown. To be honest as you can’t see the tooth I did not see the point in paying top dollar. As for the mouth gaurd…think the guy is trying to make a buck. Good luck for tomorrow!

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  5. I can’t imagine the terror of not being able to communicate with the dentist! Having dental work done is bad enough when you understand what they are doing…

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  6. Have just decided I must be absolutely peculiar [guess no big news there!]. The only thing I mind about dentists is the huge bill [at least here in Australia]! Have just had two crowns fitted one opposite the other on back molars: no problems whatsoever, no hassles, no injections, no discomfort to speak off – too long in the chair with my gentle Chinese-born dentist, perfectionist that he is, sweet music overhead and lots of local gossip heard. Forgotten ten minutes after!!!! Well, have NEVER in all the decades of my life minded getting my teeth done . . . Peculiar: told ye so 😀 !

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    • Hi Eha, I’m just unlucky with dentists I think. the first one I had when I first arrived she was good until she ripped us off over “having a little scrub and polish” as she put it while the injection took effect. I thought she was doing me a favour. No, 5 minutes and 60 euros thank you 😦 It cost more thn the filling!

      Your chinese man sounds gentle. With no local gossip to listen to or musci the dentist is a terryfyong place as your only focus is what he is doing 😦

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  7. I broke a crown while visiting Chile back in 2010. My dentist back in NY had been babying that tooth because it already had a huge crack in it, but some pizza finally did it in! I waited until I was back in Chile a few months later to have it removed and then, since it was way in the back, opted to leave a hole instead of having a post drilled into my jaw and an artificial tooth installed. I think it’s affecting my speech and my bite, but I’ll survive. For me, it’s better than having something screwed into my jaw!

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    • Hi Sally, I was tempted to have the tooth removed but Mr piglet convinced me otherwise. I’d already had a root canal so he just wacked the posts in those holes as far as I can make out, so not too bad. that side of things actually did not hurt, it was the grunge and his method or grinding the tooth down and the sound of the drill.

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  8. PiP ~ You did a stellar job sharing this ordeal with us. Great writing.

    It’s bad enough when we speak the same language as an unknown dentist holding the drill ~ what you went through . . . WOW!

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  9. Commiserations Piglet what an awful ordeal not being able to communciate with the dentist. Glad its all over now an hope that crown stays put.
    As a child we had a dentist with very fat nicotene stained fingers that stank (no gloves in those days). He would trap my lip against my teeth with those disgusting digits and ignore my frantic efforts to communicate pain while saying not “It won’t hurt” but “IT DOES NOT HURT”. I hated him with a passion and in high school refused to go back to him and went to a dentist recommended by a friend instead. I could not believe the difference between the two, the new dentist made the old one seem positively barbaric!

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  10. I can relate to your story, evoking memories of fear and panic and also it reminds me that I need to make a dentist appointment – ugh!

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  11. At least your experience gives you some idea what Mark goes thro’ when Chelsea loses!!! xx

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  12. Oh Carole, even though I commiserate with you for the pain you had to go through, this post is just so funny, I cannot imagine not being able to communicate with the dentist. I have a great Asian dentist here in Perth, very gentle and always explaining every little step, and asking if I am ok or in pain. The only pain is the bill at the end!!

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    • Hi Sami, well the experience was so scary in real time when I wrote it down it sounded quite humorus. You could not write the script. I am sure the guy is really nice, but next time I will brush up (pardon the pun) on likey toothy questions.

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  13. Thanks for the warning about the Portuguese bread. 🙂 I love my dentist and I’m sure you would too. 🙂

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  14. God, you’ve put me off the dentist for life… 🙂 x

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  15. I am also one of those who dread going to the dentist. Even though my dentist and her assistants are dreams and they speak English, I find it very difficult to not panic in the chair with all that whirling, poking, and choking.

    How’s it going with your resolve to give up that crunchy bread?

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  16. Oh dear. I need a visit to a dentist but think I might wait. Can you get home dentistry kits on Amazon? I will have a look…..

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  17. ABRIR ABRIR lol OPEN Open (your mouth)

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  18. maybe… lol
    tell me how are yours tomatos after that tornado? My greenhouse is almost going away…I am from Pombal, Leiria…and theses winds are still weak, 40 km/h. and they are so beautiful…i am growing hydroponics…

    you can see my system on youtube

    I looked for you on facebook….

    they are expecting slowly winds tomorrow.
    but if my greenhouse will away tonight, slowly winds tomorrow will come too late.

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    • Hydroponics looks a great way to grow vegetables. No insects? What about blight? I missed the Tornado, we were out to lunch and the part of the restaurant we were sitting in had no windows and the red wine flowed. Perhsps this is why we saw the bomberos out moving branches and cleaning storm drains as the roads were flooding.

      Better check my vegetable plot tomorrow!

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  19. some insects are attracted by lamps when it are on at night. that white butterfly… and a fungus when is warm… i bough neem oil… i dont know if it is running….but no blight or mildio…i will now make a new video… tomatos were growed from seed…now i am with 40 days of growing and experiencies…not sure if “experiencies its correct” lol… better to write portuguese.

    P.S.: Bombeiros 🙂

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    • i think the white butterfly is something called a cabbage white. I know when I see them they lay eggs on the back of my cabbage plants which hatch into greedy green caterpillars.

      Neem oil, I’ve read about this before. but can’t remember. Do you use this for fungus? Is it called Neem oil in Portuguese. Which type of shop did you buy it from?

      Your Enlgish is far better than my Portugese but as they say practice makes perfect!

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  20. thank you…
    here are insects i talk about…

    i purshased neem oil on uk ebay… i want not use pesticides or fungicides…

    tomorrow i will post on facebook the last update i did now…
    i really spent about 400€ building that “greenhouse”

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    • Hi Milton, they are different to the white butterflies I have. How strange they are and SOOOO many, you have an army of them. Thanks for the tip re ebay I’ve always tried to purchase things on Amazon whose sellars rfuse to post things like miracle grow and bonemeal to Portugal. I will check it out.

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  21. that is just a pic i found on google… i had 7 on my greenhouse…

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  22. Não…ehehhehe i got the name: mutuca. Elas tem um atração especial por lampadas acesas.

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  23. Here stay last update, yesterday…

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  24. Pingback: Seems like we all fear the dreaded dentist | Our Adventure In Croatia

  25. I sympathize. I’m not a huge fan of dentists but we must go! 😦

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  26. Can i add that the dentist was being a bit of a jerk… Sorry! 😦

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  27. I really feel you!!!! I hate my dentist!!!!

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  28. Stuff of nightmares, Piglet. And its not the place one can say , just grit you teeth, now it is?
    I got a lousy feeling in my gut reading this.
    Rather you than moi.

    Like

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