Spin the Globe with Justin Butner

A world citizen may provide value to society by using knowledge acquired across cultural contexts.

Dental Visit

It’s harder to write on exciting days and harder to write about the less exciting ones. If I maintain a balance between doing something exciting for a day and then having a day off, this blog might just write itself. Or possibly having nothing going during the days where my job will be keeping up with life and then having the nights to be social and create new stories. But the days where I have a 48 hour stretch of not much going give me little obvious to work with.

Yesterday I went to the dentist, wrote, read on Tasmania, had coffee, checked emails, made food, ate fruits and veggies, watched “The Bounty Hunter”, had a cigarette, dealt with my insurance company, watched “The Hangover”, and went to bed in a new hostel which is quite nice but more than I’d like to spend. Three lines cover a day. And it still felt like a pretty good day overall.

The dentist. For almost anyone going to the dentist is a dreaded activity, one that happens when it is hoist upon them. For me, that force pushing me was searing, blinding pain in my jaw. Pain that woke me up. Pain that nearly made me vomit. Pain that made it hard to stand up. That is enough to get me to go in. So having found the best reviewed dentist on Google reviews (they really don’t do review sites here in Australia for things other than hotels and restaurants), I headed in to make an appointment.

Upon arrival, the vibrant but professional receptionist took down my information right as Dr. Shaw came out. Hearing my situation and knowing that he had a full schedule for the next few weeks, he amended his plans to go get lunch and saw me instead. Super friendly, super polite, listening to what I was actually saying he asked about the pain and background. He looked around my mouth and poked at my jaw in a repetitious calling of “Does this hurt?” Finding nothing, he sent me for xrays. Upon my return half an hour later, I was ushered straight back again where he looked over the film. “Well, it isn’t an abcess.” I was now out of ideas since that seemed to be the obvious – and easily treated – cause. “And there are no cavities, though these fillings here were drilled pretty close to the nerves.” Something I’m also aware of every time I floss. And though this piece of advice may seem very obvious, please take it to heart: Be wary of going to a dentist you found on Groupon. “But if you look here you’ll notice that the jaw isn’t symmetrical. The right side sits too high up in the socket. It is why when you open your mouth it pulls to that side and then pops into place.” That is a quirk about myself that I haven’t been searching for an answer to for nearly 15 years. Not one previous dentist happened to notice or care. “It is something you might want to look into when you get home and have health insurance again. You should get that fixed long term.”

“Basically your problem is the jaw muscles. Try holding a 10kg weight out at arms length. After a minute it becomes nearly impossible as your muscles tire. Your jaw muscles are clenching and causing the muscles to burn out. Take ibuprofen and relax this weekend. You are too stressed.” He then directed me to call his cell phone while he was on vacation next week to update him on the progress.

A medical diagnosis to chill out. First time I’ve ever received one of those, though I expect it won’t be the last. And after 5 days of ibuprofen diets and breathing exercises with no discernible progress, I went back in. Another squeezed in appointment, some reflex tests, a 10 minute visit, detailed but understandable explanations, and a jaw-stretching retainer called the Aqualizer – all for free, I expect because he knows my situation as itinerant and is charging me what I can afford. He correctly predicted my sleeping pattern and my sinus issues. This was followed with an invitation to contact him on skype if I move out of Sydney and can’t come in, and a request that I keep him posted while he is at a conference this week on my progress.

One of the things I was so sad to leave behind in the States was my medical team. I had found the best doctor (Sohol) and the best dental hygienist (Jane). To throw the insurance and support to the side to travel in a new place is a bit of a step. Fortunately I found the best dentist.

One comment on “Dental Visit

  1. Sheeple Liberator
    November 30, 2011

    Wow, would anyone actually use Groupon for medical services? Yikes 🙂

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This entry was posted on November 30, 2011 by in Australia, NSW (Sydney).

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