There’s something about dentists, and I should know, because I’ve been in a dental surgery twice in the space of the past week. Granted, before last week I hadn’t ventured into one for at least five years, but still.
The first visit was made possible due to severe pain. I had an infection or an abscess or whatever the dental definition is for: €1500 and do you want insurance with that?
I was told to come back in five days time, and this time it was even less daunting, as the painkillers and antibiotics had cured the screaming pain, which made me feel richer by the €1500 which I’d written off but now felt I could spend on sweets and chocolate instead. But apparently no: just because I feel better doesn’t mean it’s gone away. I’m not to trust the tablets says Mrs. Gleaming Teeth, the young dentist who looks about twelve years old. The pain will come back. I’m to hand over the money and we’ll discuss some other cosmetic work while I’m at it. But not today. Today we’ll just do two fillings. She tells me she can only do two fillings on the medical card. I tell her that two fillings per visit sounds reasonable to me, but no, she informs me that it’s two fillings per year. So basically, if you have a medical card you’ll be given free healthcare should you get into a fist fight, get blind drunk, take an overdose, abuse your health to the point of life support, or just have a general addiction to prescription drugs which are all free. But a third filling to your tooth, no, that’s not covered.
Not that it will matter in my case. Once she began to prepare for the first filling, I politely told her in my best shaky voice that I’d have to pass on it as despite having given birth on numerous occasions, having pack packed across China and chased snakes out of the toilet combined with surviving various illnesses, attacks and life changing events. But a filling. Not a filling.
There isn’t a dentist in Ireland that believes I can still feel everything even after they’ve supposedly numbed my gums, and even when they are numb, it’s the horrible drilling noise and the pressure and the poking and then no matter how numb you think you are, all of a sudden you get a piercing pain up your tooth and not only can you not scream but you can’t even swallow your own spit and the evil stranger who is doing this to you also has their fingers in your mouth.
There was no argument. She sent me packing with a prescription for valium and told me to make another appointment and take the drugs before I come.
She also did an inventory of my mouth and suggested four crowns in the front and two in the back and some bridge yoke and to get them cleaned and bleached and what not. And no, the medical card doesn’t cover it, but they’ll do me a good deal. It’ll only cost about the same price as a camper van.
I decide that I’ve gotten away with spending the past five years in denial anyway, so I get home and remove the mirror. They’re only teeth after all, and if Shay McGowan from the Pogues got away with it why wouldn’t I? I spent the rest of the day surfing the internet for camping vans and Eastern European dentists. I may as well toss a coin.