Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Life is… knowing when and when not to ‘Dentist’

In my last post, I recounted – in probably far too much detail – my amoeba experience. In the post’s conclusion, I noted that I had somehow lost a significant chunk of my tooth and would need to locate and visit a dentist. Well, I did. And it was… terrifying.

Have you ever had one of those moments or been in a situation where your gut tells you to ‘abort’? Like you’re looking around, and everything about where you are tells you to back away slowly and avoid making eye contact. This, my friends, pretty much sums up my experience at the dentist last week.

I have to be honest – I was pretty hesitant to visit the dentist here in the first place. It’s not that I thought there weren’t capable dentists in Kampala, it was more so the fear that I would end up at the one dentist who wasn’t. And boy do I hate it when my fears turn out to be somewhat true! I have a really good dentist back home, but before finding this one, I had a terrible experience. So, I’m always reluctant when I have to make a trip to a new one.

So, I’m escorted into the room. It’s dark. The room is pretty dusty. I think maybe this isn’t a good idea, but I’m here, so I’ll sit and wait to see what the dentist is like. Enter dentist. She had about the enthusiasm of a rubber boot – i.e. she didn’t. She asks what the issue is then prompts me to open my mouth so she can see where this partly missing tooth is. It was at this point that all of my internal alarms started to go off. I mean, it appeared as though she didn’t know how to use the little mirror on a stick thingy… and she clearly was uncertain of what she was looking for. But, being me, I didn’t want to jump-the-gun quite yet. So, I allowed her to proceed with the process of repairing my tooth.

I was assured I’d be fine. The wait for the assistant to gather the necessary tools was the perfect recipe for me to dream up all of the things that could go wrong. But, again, I told myself, it will be okay.

How many of you have ever had a dental procedure sans freezing? It sounds kind of crazy, right? Well, that’s what I thought. And, I can assure you, it is much better than forgoing it, as my dentist felt was appropriate. One gentle touch of the drill to my tooth, and I was sold on ALL of the freezing no matter the expense! The only thing worse than the instant pain, was the look of annoyance that was now painted on this lady’s face as I requested we wait until the freezing had set in. Here I am sitting in the dental chair, thinking that I’ve pissed off the person in charge of the next steps. This can’t be good…

The next several minutes are a blur.

I’m joking* – I’m happy to report that I survived. A little scarred, but alive. Again, let me reiterate, this is likely not the case for ALL dentists in Kampala. I’m sure there are some skilled practitioners here. I haven’t had any pain since the procedure, so I assume what she did is fine. It was just her methods and lack of personality that made the experience what it was. But hopefully, this is the end of it!

Saturday was the first time in far too long that I felt like myself again. My amoeba is under control, and my mouth appears to be as it should…? I am feeling optimistic that this is the end of my brush with illness for a while. So until next time…

-the Orange Canadian

*About the blurred moments, not how terrifying this experience was.


  1. I don't know why so many people experience such anxiety at the dentist but its a real fear and many people suffer from it! I, myself don't have too much of an issue with seeing the dentist but my father is the complete opposite. He gets very anxious leading up to his appointment and he has trouble sitting through the whole thing.

    Felipe Roberson @ Philly Dentist

    1. Hi Felipe! Thanks for your comment! Personally I've had some not so fun experiences at the dentist when I was little. I don't get nervous to see my regular dentist, because I'm used to them now. But sometimes having to see an emergency or new dentist brings those childhood nerves back. Generally though, I think we tend to fear what we don't know... Hopefully all of the dentist fearers will find a good dentist that makes them feel comfortable!

  2. I do believe that we need dentists. Especially my makati dentist.