Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mouth wide shut

"Hmm," says Howard the orthodontist, looking at my ghostly gnashers on his laptop. "You've got abscesses on both of those, but the number 4 we can do a root canal, cost you a few thousand, if you think it's worth it. But the No 5, that bad boy has got to come out."

I'm back in his chair and on the clock after a night of torture in the upper jaw following oral surgery and a load of stitches in the lower earlier this week.

"Right," says Howard, whipping out his cellphone. "I'll buzz Annabel [my dentist} and tell her she needs to squeeze you in. We can't have another night of pain." No, indeed we can't. Especially me. Anyway, it turns out Annabel has scarpered for the day but one of the partners -- "Those boys are great," declares Howard -- will fit my mouth into his schedule.

Off I drive, jaw throbbing harder than the engine. This is how I meet the Russian dentist the "partners" keep off the letterhead and stashed away in the only room without a panoramic city view.

"OK David, listen to me, I give you my opinion," says Dr V Avdeev (BDS, Voronezh; Dip Odont., Pretoria). "Number 5, definitely he has to be removed. I don't like it. But number 4, this is my opinion: we extract number 5, we relieve the pain. Number 4, I think now the problem goes away. I don't do root canal yet. Wait two days, if there is pain you call me immediately. Im-mediately! OK?"

Good god, I think, I've found a dentist who isn't on a mission to relieve me of as much cash as possible. I like it. I give him a thumbs up, absurdly, as if he can't understand English.

"Take a deep breath ..." says V. Avdeev, plunging a needle into my palate. "Sorry David, is finished, OK?"

I will draw a veil over what follows out of concern for the sensitivities of my readers. But it is painless. "I don't like it," says V Avdeev. He shows me the offending tooth. "See, infection, very bad. But is unusual. You have double root, not one. Most dentists they have a problem with this, but my post-grad is orthodontist. Not one person in 10,000 has this double root. You are strong, David!"

He writes out a scrip for painkillers. "Now I tell you very cheap pharmacy," he says and gives me directions. I decide V Avdeev in his room without a view is my dentist hero.

I'll be back. Unfortunately.


Blogger First Nations said...

I will not tell you how long it's been since I let one of that bunch into my face. I will only say "Metal Braces for Three Years, Hammer and Chisel, Seven Extractions".
But an honest, merciful, budget-conscious dentist? It's like one of those bleeding statues of Mary or something.
*dabs at eyes with hankie while connecting to Expedia*

7:32 PM  
Blogger Pashmina said...

"Root canal"
Two words that strike as much fear into my heart as any in the English language. Anything that Russian dentist can do to prevent No. 4 having such abuses forced upon it can only be a good thing.

Does he travel?

10:24 PM  

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