Readers' Submissions

A Lovely Dentist

  • Written by Thai Ties
  • June 1st, 2005
  • 10 min read


Accidents happen, they do. That’s why they are called accidents.

I had a had an accident involving a rifle butt, my jaw, and, a very enthusiastic member of the military showing me a technique. To be honest he was mortified that he’d got it wrong and indeed (they) paid for the treatment. But living on johk and khao tum for a couple of weeks was no great fun, but at least beer can be drunk via a straw.

However, what they would not pay for was the damage to my lower teeth which were in all probability going to be removed, or most of them at least.

I’d consulted various Dentists and Hospitals and had come to the conclusion that one around the corner from the office was the best and cheapest bet, the two Dentists being female, educated, but with minimal English. However, I considered that teeth were teeth in any language so they couldn’t go far wrong as long as they kept whacking in the anaesthetic.

Some dental work got done then my Mum turned up on holiday ; 69 years old then, and still globe trotting to Thailand. I swear that every cab driver in BKK calls my Mum, “Mum”, as do most people in Thailand – they have great difficulty in pronouncing, ‘Morag’.

We got her lodged in her favourite hotel in Soi Zero, the more down market one which she liked as they do cinnamon toast for breakfast and half the staff lived in the same compound as me therefore giving her unlimited access to gossip and intrigue. They were always ever so nice to my Mum the folks in Soi Zero, ever, ever so nice.

There were times when she found it difficult to pay for anything and could get a little irritated over this practice.

The girls cracked her up with their stories and the guys, the older guys that is, were surprised with her capacity to drink whiskey given that they had never seen me touch a glass of the stuff.

Now, my Mum had been to lots of places off the beaten track in Thailand on previous visits and at that particular moment in time I was pursuing a Pharmacologist in Nakhon Sawan.

“How about,”, I suggested one evening, “That we go to see the lovely Seesuda in Nakhon Sawan?”

“Who’s she, and where’s that?”, she replied.

I explained and she was right into the idea of going where few foreigners lived.

The next morning we were at Morchit, got tickets, munchies and newspapers. Mum wanted to sit right at the front of the bus which caused some discussion as I never feel that being the first at the scene of the accident is a good idea.

But, your Mother is your Mother and sometimes one has to defer to other opinion. We were about half way to Nakhon Sawan when I began to feel some pain in a lower molar and thought, “No, please no”.

The pain passed after a time and we continued our journey to Paradise City, left the bus and got a samlor to the apartment block where Seesuda had booked us rooms. (Not that Seesuda was sharing with me – dedicated to carrying her virginity to the grave so she was).

We got checked in, gave the lady a call, and waited. Seesuda turned up shortly afterwards with her pal Noi, (a Nurse), then ofski to that lovely Chinese joint in the middle of Nakhon Sawan which serves the best Hoi Thawt that I have ever eaten, anyplace, in any country.

Now, Seesuda and Noi were partial to a beer or twelve so we had a great time before retiring back to our rooms, me alas alone in a rather large bed.

At 2am I woke with some maniac using a jack hammer in my lower jaw. It would not go away – ice cubes didn’t help, the vodka in the fridge didn’t help, gosh it was murder.

I rang through to my Mother’s room to ask if she had any painkillers ; She’d replied, “No”, but did have some immodium.

After telling me not to swear at her, she suggested that I call my Pharmacologist friend who could surely score a hospital dentist or something to ease the pain. Good idea – free drugs!

I dialled Seesuda who lived in a hospital owned apartment, you actually had to go through the hospital switchboard to get to the rooms, and explained my situation.

‘The pain, the agony, I needed comforting, how can I stay alone in this distress’.

Didn’t work, but she did put her clothes on then drove to the hospital dispensary and arrived with a bottle of pills. By this time it was 3am and no way was she crossing the threshold to my room so we had to be content with a, “See you tomorrow”.

She also warned me not to drink any more alcohol. I lied.

Co- Drymanol. Hmmmmm…. Let's try two and the last of the vodka.

Suffice to say the combination worked a treat and I slept exceedingly well suffering no pain at all.

When I woke though it was a different story – thump –thump-thump in my lower jaw and I really wished that a hand gun was available so that I could get back to Sattahip and sort that Marine out.

That thought soon left after I’d swallowed a couple more, but knew that this was an abscess and needed to be fixed. People can die from dental abscesses you know.

As we were leaving that day there was no opportunity to access dental treatment in Nakhon Sawan so I had to remain content until such time as we returned to Bangkok.

The bus journey took forever, no pain due to the pills, but this feeling of overwhelming pressure in my lower left side jaw. And a real yucky taste.

Arriving back at Soi Zero my Mum opined to buy the locals some grog and the girls some Mekhong which in my current foul temper did not go down well. “Goodness” , she said, “I had five kids with less anaesthetic than you’ve been shoving down your neck for the past two days.”

Indeed, quite.

So, I took three, had a large glass of Mekhong–coke and retired to bed to leave my Mother to get her own way back to her room in the Soi. (Knowing that the girls would see her safely home).

The next morning Nu was on the phone early. We had to meet the Air Force about some bid. Work is work, so I showered, dropped some more pills and headed off in an office direction after asking Daeng to tell my Mum to see me at the office in the afternoon.

The meeting went on forever, all that I wanted to do was get this pressure released from my jaw as it was becoming very, very uncomfortable and whilst the drugs had lessened the pain, well, an infection too close to the brain could be harmful in my particular case. (Sniggers in the back row?)

We got back to the office mid afternoon and who should be waiting; Mum, the staff doting on her and she having a great time not speaking a word of Thai and they speaking barely a word of English. But, communication is communication and they were certainly doing that.

I suggested that I was going to the dentist and we duly descended the stairs and into Soi Watanasilp from thence into Pratunam until we arrived at the surgery.

The receptionist asked me to wait for a few minutes so we duly took a seat whilst my Mum looked through a copy of 911 and expressed amazement that so many people got murdered in Thailand.

“Guess how I feel Mum?”. “Oh – be quiet, nothing coming over you.”

Snarl.

Well, I duly got ushered into the surgery, which involved two dentists working back to back in the same room, the nice lady had a look and a sniff then declared that I had an abscess

True, so true.

She then picked up her drill. I said, “Injection”. She said, “No waste money”.

Actually she was quite right – she drilled the top of the tooth off, inserted an‘easy-out’ type thing and burst the abscess It was messy but the pressure was released and what a relief that was.

Such relief, I could have married her on the spot.

I was then told to sit in the corner whilst the abscess drained, spitting all the time into a paper cup as she continued with her other patients.

After about half an hour she motioned me back to lie down then produced a hypodermic which she proceeded to inject at various points in the gum around the offending tooth.

The usual five minute wait was taken up by me asking where she had studied, she asking me what I did and how did I end up with a bunch of broken teeth.

The Nurse handed her the forceps, she opened my mouth and gripped.

Bloody hell! My automatic reaction was to jerk away – christ it was painful.

She said, “Ooo”.

She gave another twist, I yelped again.

She said. “Ooo”. (Actually, not being a masochist, it was nice to see the concern in her eyes.)

It was decided that more injections were required so the nurse prepared another syringe.

The nice lady then proceeded to inject directly into the removed top of the tooth, directly into what was abscessed tissue. Wasn’t painful at all.

Then we tried again : Same reaction ; I would twitch, squirm, close my eyes every time she got a grip. She would look in my eyes and say, “Ooo”.

Eventually I gave up and just said, “Fan oahk leo leo”. <translated means get the tooth out of my mouth fastStick> I was getting pissed off.

Being a nice lady she wished no person any bodily pain, but got down to it and within seconds the offending article had been removed much to my relief.

It felt so much better.

After a few minutes in the waiting room where my Mum seemed to have made friends with the receptionist, my Dentist came through with some antibiotics and a sort of an explanation why the injections didn’t work – the infection being just to concentrated that the drugs couldn’t get to the nerves.

No worries, it was done and finished. 220 Baht.

Mum and I walked through the vendors in Pratunam and back to the office whereby I helped myself to a beer from the fridge as everyone just had to say, “Jaep mye?”. (Painful?).

My reply being, “Jeap arai, Khun Thai gua mor fahn, phom mye gua”. (What’s painful?. It’s Thais that are scared of dentists, I’m not). Which is an absolute and utter lie of course!

However, to end this diary, I will say, that after they had fixed the teeth up having removed a number, then making me a bottom plate in consideration of the previous damage to my jaw bone, it has been the best dentistry that I have ever received. I have recently had dentistry from the NHS (U.K.), on the government payment scheme the costs were, well, far too much. The level of treatment and concern for the patient were awful.

And, guess what? If you need dentistry done, go to Thailand and have a walk around ; There are many and I am sure that you will find one that you ACTUALLY like!

Stickman's thoughts:

It's a brave man who cuts corners on his health. I'm petrified of the dentist so just find one of the most expensive and gop there figuring that it will (hopefully!) be less painful!