The other night I was sitting having a cup of tea and reading through my latest work in progress when I felt the front of one my teeth break off.
In a total panic I managed to scoop up the bit of tooth before my dog ate it and put it in a tooth saving jar that had come with a temporary filling kit.
I had some crazy idea that the dentist would be able to glue the front of my tooth back in. Oh, how he laughed when I said that.
I spent a whole night in terror of the thought of having to 1, visit a dentist, or, 2, being unable to visit a dentist because of the pandemic.
As terrified as I am of the dentist I don't want to be left in agonizing pain.
I have a phobia about going to the dentist. The very thought of going fills me with utter terror. When I get there - and that's after I've tried to avoid going by using every trick in the book such as "this isn't really toothache I've got, it's just pain caused by TMJ" and "everytime I go to the dentist my teeth just get worse"- I always look for escape points.
Yes, I may be that crazy woman you saw running screaming out of the dentist that time with my long hair trailing behind me because I'm running that fast.
Tip - phone the dentist as early as you can. They have very limited appointments because they have to leave a set amount of time between patients.
I got up the next morning and started calling my dentist as soon as it opened not knowing what to expect.
It took a long time to get through to them and I thought that they might actually be closed and just have an answer machine on. Eventually I did get to speak to someone.
For those of you who need to go to the dentist urgently and don't know what to expect as I did, here is what happened to me.
Note - I live in Scotland and it might vary because of where you live but the principles will probably the same -
1. WHEN YOU GET THROUGH YOU WILL BE TRIAGED - most dentists are only seeing emergency patients. They need to make sure it genuinely is an emergency.
What constitutes an emergency?
When I did my research, I was told that a broken tooth, chipped tooth, abscess in a tooth, pain and uncontrollable bleeding in the mouth are all considered emergencies especially when they are accompanied by extreme pain.
Because I had a chipped tooth I qualified.
Note - you will only be offered an appointment after you have been taking through a series of questions to ensure you do not have covid-19. If you do you will be referred to hospital for treatment.
2. YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO TAKE ANYONE WITH YOU TO THE APPOINTMENT
Whenever I go to the dentist, my mum goes with me as if I'm child which I pretty much am when I hit the dentist chair. Because of the chance of infection I wasn't allowed to take anyone with me.
3. YOU MUST ARRIVE WEARING A MASK 😷😷😷😷. IF YOU DON'T YOU WILL BE TURNED AWAY.
I know that might sound crazy as you will have to remove the mask at one point but when you do take off your mask the dentist will be wearing a face mask or visor to limit the risk of infection.
4. YOU MUST COME TO THE APPOINTMENT DEAD ON TIME.
This means you can't be early or late. This is because appointments are scrupulously timed so that there is exactly one hour between them so that the room can can be properly ventilated with windows open before a new patient. The examination room also has to be washed and disinfected in between patients.
These measures are meant to stop the spread of covid-19.
5. WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT THE PRACTICE YOU WILL BE ASKED THE EXACT SAME QUESTIONS AGAIN TO MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT HAVE COVID-19.
This might seem tedious but they have to make sure you are not going to infect their staff.
6. DENTIST ARE EXTREMELY LIMITED IN THE TREATMENTS THEY CAN OFFER. THEY USUALLY CANNOT DO FILLINGS OR ANYTHING THAT INVOLVES DRILLING OR THE SPRAYING OF WATER INTO YOUR MOUTH.
Be warmed some dentists as can only do extractions. The first dentist I spoke to at my practice told me that was all he could do because of the limited PPE (personal protection equipment) he had.
Luckily, I was able to get an appointment with my own dentist who had better PPE.
7. FROM THE MOMENT YOU ENTER THE SURGERY UNTIL THE MOMENT YOU LEAVE, YOU SHOULD TRY AND NOT TOUCH ANYTHING AND WEAR YOUR MASK AT ALL TIMES except when the dentist says to remove it for the treatment.
Going to the dentist was scary but they were very nice. As long as you follow instructions you should be fine.
I was told that if my tooth was infected I would have been given root canal treatment over 2 visits.
Thankully in my case, my tooth was just chipped and there was no tooth decay. The dentist told me that the temporary filling I put in was fine and to leave it until the day he could do a filling. If it had not been for the virus I would have hugged him! Yes, I was that relieved.