Thursday, September 13, 2007

NHS Dentistry

I had to go to the dentist this week. Unlike everything I hear on t'telly I have an NHS dentist. A very nice part NHS part private dental practice who have made it very clear to their patients they are not (like so many) completely privatising. Fortunately.

As I had to go to there last week too. And I've got to go back again in a few weeks. Like I've been doing for the past year or so. As far as I know that's not a situation likely to change. I can't imagine a private practice would take me on as a patient. Not that I could afford the cost of private dental charges if forced into that situation.

Problems with teeth and gums are common to those with EDS
. Although EDS is thought to be a condition affecting primarily the joints, collagen affects pretty much everything in the body. It's like the cement in a house, strong in most people, pre chewed, left out in the sun runny chewing gum in EDS'ers. We tend to have very high arched palates (something that should be checked for as part of the overall diagnostic process), narrow jaws, fragile gums, some have very overcrowded teeth, or even loose teeth. As an undiagnosed teenager affected by the hormonal changes of puberty, I was convinced I would wake up one day to find my teeth on the pillow next to me as my molars were so loose and wobbly. I could wibble them around with either my fingers or tongue. Years on my teeth have stabilised but are apparently a funny blue colour which very much excites those doctors who understand what it is and infuriates both my dental practice and myself who know it means my teeth are vulnerable to anything and everything and can require proper cleaning by the hygienist as often as every three months so badly do they stain. Even these days when I don't smoke any tobacco, hardly ever drink tea or coffee, and am effectively teetotal. (ignoring the out of date Baileys incident. ahem)

Last week I saw the hygienist who cleaned my teeth, and this week I returned to see the dentist. My gums have receded exposing the dentine and my teeth are literally starting to 'crumble' away in places, not helped by my ability to grind through every bite guard made for me within days. We are trying to find ways to deal with this. I do not have any decay thanks to my mothers complete obsession with sugar and so have never needed even a single filling. This I suspect is likely to change as I eat sweets like well, er candy these days. As I write this drumstick lollies and liquorice flyers. Bliss. I'll be sorry tomorrow though as the damn things contain wheat.

It all sounds great. Apart from the sweets. Except I can't open my mouth for examination let alone treatment without my jaw dislocating so it is an uncomfortable experience to say the least. My face is still slightly puffy from last week's clean. This time as if to illustrate a point, my jaw dislocated with a resounding pop as soon as I opened my mouth for the dentist. I thunked it back into place and supported it with my hands as usual throughout exam and brief treatment stopping every so often to pop it back in as it insisted in sliding straight back out. It was all over in less than 10 minutes and having booked another appointment for a few weeks time for an impression for yet another bite guard I went off to see the beautiful young man (which let's face it is far more interesting than my jaw dislocating in the dentist!)

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