I’m with Copernicus.  I don’t think that I am the centre of the universe and that everything revolves around me.  There are some, however, who may wish to contradict this statement.  I’m telling you this as I had toothache.  It was a bad pain underneath a tooth on the lower west side that I have had trouble with for years.  First it was a filling, then another, then a cap which eventually fell off and now the whole tooth is history.  Quixote was right when he said that teeth are like diamonds.  Once you have lost them there is really no way of going back.

Throughout my dental adventure I have had a recurring abscess.  I know what one feels like and I know that the only remedy is antibiotics.  I was going to say cure but that seems to be a step too far.  There is nothing quite like the pain.  I have not been through child-birth though I have had kidney stones yet an abscess brings its own exquisite delight.  It is a pain that is enhanced by loneliness and darkness.  When you are suffering you would do anything to pull the tooth out yourself.  Not that that would help.

I could feel the pain coming.  It started off as a hum and gradually throughout the day worked up to a crescendo.  I thought it prudent to stop what I was doing and make my way to the dentist.  Now I live in Morpeth and work in Durham and so a visit to the orthodontist takes a bit of planning, a luxury that I didn’t have.

Despite my pleading there was no way that they could see me.  All of the emergency slots had been filled and they would not release any more until the following day. All they could offer was for me to ring them as soon as they were open and they would try to fit me in.  I went home with a heavy heart in the knowledge of a fitful night’s sleep ahead.  The next day I duly made my way back to the dentist and was granted one of the emergency slots later on that morning.  I must admit to being very grateful as I made my way out with a prescription in hand.

Now, I have no desire to be churlish.  I am glad that I have access to high standards of medical care and I am well on the way to being mended yet I can’t help feeling that the systems in which I found myself is tuned to a different era.  Demand for dentistry seems to outstrip supply and the appointment system seems to reflect this as if to control demand rather than meet it.

Dentistry is not my business and I am in no position to get involved but I wonder how many of the systems over which I have influence will fall into the same camp.

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