Saturday, February 17, 2007

Dentists

I have a relatively gorgeous white mouth now, thanks to modern dentistry....more specifically Dairy Lane Dental in Huntsville, ON. , Canada. Not a perfect smile or perfect white, but clean, healthy gums, no silver or gold in my head and when I open my mouth...I'm all whitish.

I'm mercury free. Which is good because it damned well almost gave me a diagnosis of probable Multiple Sclerosis (early onset): tremors in my hands, numbness in my left leg and three toes, impaired thinking, inability to remember, fatigue like no-body's business, irritability, dare I say...depression, migraines, digestive disorders and living with the most horrendous sense of Self I've ever experienced in my entire 37 years of living.

I am a different woman nearly two years later. In fact, I'm almost a success story. Returned nerve function to my left leg and 95% return of sensation to my three numb toes, I can eat whatever I want now (and I no longer vomit or excrete it in the same form that it went into my system as), I sleep well, my hand tremors only rear their ugly head when I'm overly tired or have over exerted myself (doing things such as Fire Fighting or mucking out the horse for hours on end) AND I've been migraine free for almost 8 months now.

The quality of my life has improved drastically. And, I know there is more to follow, more improvement.

Be cautious the dentist who tries to sell you a root canal and insists you NEED a crown over top of it. I have a lovely five-sided resin (in white) that is doing a fabulous job two years later. A very nice dentist once told me that any dentist wanting you to get a crown is only after your money. I should know, this one root canal I've had done has cost me (and my family and my insurance, over the past 8 years) an almost whopping $10,000.00. Imagine how many goats I could supply a small African village with. Or the solar power my home could be heated and working with.

Buyer beware. Going to the dentist is like shopping at a store...you are a consumer and you pay for a service. Too often we allow these skilled individuals to play 'God' with our mouths and our oral care. And don't kid yourself, bad dental work or no dental work can kill a person. Where is the guarantee if that service/work isn't up to par?

IF you are getting your silver fillings/amalgams redone or restored, make sure they aren't laden with mercury...I should've known that this is what mine were (having been subjected to the wonders of British dentistry as a child) because EVERY time I had ANY kind of work done on these fillings, I would get cold, shakey, feel sick to my stomach, my blood pressure would drop really low or go really high, and I would need to sit in the dentist's chair, under a warm blanket, for at least half an hour before they'd let me leave. I assumed that I was having a psycho-symatic experience...turned out I was just being poisoned. I would vomit for days afterwards. I couldn't keep warm. I was nervous and irritable, something I am not in a healthy state. I assumed the vomitting was years of being bulimic and the multitude of food allergies I had developed as I got older...hmmm, turned out I was swallowing, ingesting and inhaling mercury as I had these teeth worked on and being poisoned. I assumed I was crazy. Turned out I was being mistreated.

A good dentist will give you an oxygen mask, cover you up, use a dam (latex-free if they are any good) and make sure you aren't breathing in, ingesting or swallowing any of that crud.

A good dentist doesn't treat you like a moron for having the shakes following work on one of your fillings or for feeling like you're being zapped along your jawbone (and when you put an earring in, it's worse.)

A good dentist understands that a healthy mouth is a healthy you.

A good dentist knows that what you do in the mouth can, and may, affect the rest of your body.

A good dentist understands that your time is valuable too.

A good dentist also doesn't put silver fillings either side of a gold crown and create a little live battery in your mouth. When I complained to Dr. Sheryl Kapitz of Winnipeg (who botched my first root canal and has helped create over 6 years of oral hell for me...thanks for this very personal experience Dr. Kapitz...I trust not all of her patients have had this experience) that I felt like I was being 'shocked' (and experienced my first ever migraine headaches & was given Imitrex for the pain...which wasn't strong enough), she treated me like I was from Mars. And foolish me, I let her. When I was referred by one of her Winnipeg-colleagues to see an Endo-dontist to retreat the root canal she had performed a scant year or so later, I asked her to reimburse me for the monies I had spent on this botched root canal...she ignored me. When I threatened to take her to court, she intimated that I should just try it & she then ignored me. I couldn't believe the lack of integrity in this profession. Still can't. I've had a bad taste in my mouth for dentists ever since...literally as well as figuratively.

How is it that you can charge an arm and a leg for services, screw those services up and then ask your patients to continue paying you for your valuable time and services when you need to fix what it is you didn't get right the first time? Am I the only person who thinks this is wrong?

My faith has been restored by Dr.'s Smyth and Riley of Dairy Lane Dental in Huntsville, ON. These men care about treating you and your mouth properly. They take precautions in removing silver amalgams...and so they should...mercury is poison and it will make you ill. These gentlemen have also taken a stab at saving this tooth that was botched by 2 dentists and an Endo-dontist before them, and I'm now having more trouble with this tooth...but I have faith in them, and I trust their integrity.

So patients, beware...not all dentists are born equally, nor do they stand behind their work equally. They aren't Gods. They are men and women like you and I, who have undertaken years of training and have pursued intense oral knowledge so that they are able to care for our pearly whites. But they are human. And like all humans, when they err, they should do their utmost to fix it...with minimal costs.

Treat your dentist like any other service provider: insist on the kind of care that you deserve, get second opinions if you feel the need, feel free to ask for your (dental) records to be transferred from one office to another, and ask them to stand behind the work that they do in your mouth. A good dentist will. But I've only met a couple of them.

And don't forget to floss and brush. That's the one thing we can control in our oral welfare. The rest is in the hands of our dental care providers...so choose your dentist wisely. I have.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I have a funny story about dentists. I went to one for the first time in atleast 10 years. I was just getting a check up and a cleaning because I thought it was about time, ha...and as the destist was cleaning my teeth, he asks..."when was the last time you got your teeth cleaned?" Sheepishly I responded, "atleast a decade ago". And he said, "oh! I thought you were gonna say one year." (Now, one would only think...hmmm, cool, clearly coming to the dentist every 6 months for a cleaning is a load of shit for some people.) So, as I'm leaving he says to me..."don't forget to book in 6 months for another cleaning". So, I said, "what for? If I can go 10 years and it looks like 1, why don't I see you in 5?" He said nothing, and I haven't been back, and it's been 2 years. Has his office called a few times to try to get me to book?? Yup.