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Gummed up

BBC Dentist 1So I went to the dentist yesterday – for the first time in just over 10 years I think. Hold that shrill! Yes I know it’s a long time, and no I haven’t got a phobia about going to the dentist like some people have … it was just one of those things that I never seemed to get round to doing.

That’s a bit of a lie actually, because I did go to a dentist a couple of years ago when on holiday and one of my fillings came out when I bit on something too hard, and I had to go find a dentist in a hurry to get it re-filled. but this was my first proper ‘check up’ in many years.

BBC Dentist 2The fun thing for me though is that I decided to go to the BBC dentist that is on site in one of the buildings (White City), and it’s most odd when you go and find it for the first time, that you walk down all these normal corridors with people at desks doing their jobs, and then … in the middle of it all there’s a dental surgery!

“So how many years?” asks the friendly dentist when I explain that I haven’t had a check up for a while. “To be honest, it’s been so long I couldn’t really say!” I said – and he sort of scowled at me as if he didn’t approve.

And so he checks me out, and it’s fine – I have no problem with pain or any of the fear that is sometimes associated with going to the dentist. I have huge healthy respect for anyone that works in the medical profession – doctors, nurses, dentists – even my opticians, because I can’t think of a better job to do than one which help or cures the ailment of another human. I’m a softie like that deep deep down. Don’t get me started.

The extent of just how long it had been since I last went though was revealed when he came to x-ray my teeth. “Ah!” I said “The old ‘bite in the cardboard thing time'”. “My goodness, you HAVEN’T been for many years have you? It’s all digital now you know!”.

And indeed it is – they still poke a thing in your mouth which you have to clamp down on in a slightly uncomfortable manner, but now it is all digital and within seconds, the x-ray photos of my teeth were popping up on his screen in photoshop. Surreal! He then took further close up pictures of my gums, and he nicely zoomed in to show me where I had a slight gum problem which does need to be fixed, and thus I’ll be going back in a couple of weeks to have it sorted out.

BBC Dentist 3

As I was about to leave, I asked for a copy of the photos, but I think he thought i was joking – but I wasn’t! Well why not? Surely under the data protection act I should be allowed to have a copy of the photos of MY teeth, right? I really wanted to post them up here, but in the absence of that you can have this random picture of this fine set that I scoured the interweb for.

And I know it’s not as exciting as “Are you circumcised or not?” but I suppose I could ask “Do you have your wisdom teeth or not”? As I’ve got them present at the top, but poor wee, under-developed me never got them on my bottom row of teeth. Anyone else missing their No. 8’s?

42 responses to “Gummed up”

  1. Jono says:

    Had three out when I was younger, after they realised that there wasn’t room in my mouth for all the teeth I had. They took a punt on taking a fourth out, and got it wrong. I now have impacted molars in my upper left jaw.

    (and “F5”, as I believe the phrase goes. Not that I couldn’t cheat.)

  2. Anthony says:

    I have all my wisdom teeth. Apparently they shouldn’t be a problem for a year or two, but they’re not particularly extractable yet.

    I had to have a filling re-done on one of my (weak and underdeveloped) bottom molars just before Christmas. They had to give me three local anaesthetic injections before it actually worked. They explained that it’s difficult to anaesthetise those molars sometimes. This probably explains why all 3 or 4 of my previous fillings (all at least 6 years ago) have been quite painful, even under local anaesthetic – and I bet the previous dentist just thought I was being a wuss.

    I was pleasantly surprised when the anaesthetic did, eventually, work and I could tolerate the filling process. Hurrah!

  3. If dentists wanted people to go, they shouldn’t have opted themselves out of the NHS en masse. The scoundrels are in no position to cast moral judgements on people.

  4. Emma says:

    Funilly enough (or not as it is at the moment!) mine are coming through at the mment – I have a big problem with room in my lovely small mouth (haha!) and it means that as they ar coing through, they are making a right mess of the rest of my teeth – including corroding one of them – OUCH!!

    I just hope that they either come through quickly, or stop … and soooooooon!!

  5. Rob(Geoff's brother-in-law) says:

    I predict you having “teeth like The Osmonds” within
    two years…..!

  6. Rude Kid says:

    I still go to a dentists where they do the old “bite down on the cradboard thing”. Hmmm, never even thought it might be a bit old fashioned.

    Had my wisdom teeth out a few years back. The most painful month of my life followed. Absolute agony eating anything at all!

  7. Just what exactly is a “Lifestyles Gym??”

  8. Carina says:

    Had all 4 wisdom teeth out within 6 days… They don’t normally do them less than 6 weeks apart… Imagine the pain… 🙂

  9. Carina says:

    Oh, and they dropped one of them down my throat nearly… Nice eh? Thankfully I used to have massive problems with my tonsils so am used to choking or nearly choking so no damage done…

  10. Rude Kid says:

    I had them all out on the same day! They said that everything would heal up in a couple of weeks. They lied! Couldn’t eat more than soup and yoghurt for a while, then moved on to bread. After a month had my first meal out at a restaurant of pasta, which was the most incredible meal ever because I’d tasted nothing but blandness for the previous month. At least you only have to go through it once!

  11. Rude Kid says:

    The meal was pasta. Not the restuarant. Haven’t got some weird eveil witch gingerbread house thing going on!

  12. Fimb says:

    Mine were impacted into my jaw bone, so at 16 I had 4 days in hospital, a broken jaw, some jaw bone removed and live din munch bunch yoghurts for a while.. Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. My face was so swollen it met my chest, and I had bruising down my chest too.. was quite quite impressive!!
    Best meal I ever had was 10 days after the op when dad put stew and dumplings through the baby blender *L*

    but, I don’t have a single filling, of which I am very proud. But then, I’ve also not been able to afford the extortionate prices charges by dentists for atleast 6 years!

  13. Shaz says:

    Geeze aren’t they the most annoying thing in the world. Funnily enuf mine are playing up too and I don’t have enuf room in my mouth. Last trip to the dentist was only 1.5 years ago, only for them to tell me there is no tooth coming through. Last week I stumbled on ONE BIG MOTHER of a wisdom tooth sticking well out of my gum. Frustrated and sore, I’m getting up the courage to go back again to work out a plan of attack to get rid of it.

  14. geofftech says:

    #11 – LOL! funniest thing I’ve read all day …

    #7 – Kris, the “lifestyles gym” is just what the BBC call their Gym facility! Just a poncy name for something quite ordinary, y’know?

    And I’ve just realised that I should of called todays entry “Making a mountain out of a molar hill”, or maybe “Long in the tooth”. God, I’m soooo funny sometimes.

  15. SK says:

    Concerning getting copies of your own x-rays….

    I’m not too sure if this dentist is under the NHS or not. For NHS patients, x-rays are the property of the hospital or clinic. You can have copies for yourself, but they officially (but quite often not always) have to be asked for in writing either by the patient or requesting doctor (in this case it would be the patient as there is no requesting doctor). However, you have to pay for the cost of the films, or the images on CD (depending on what printing mediums are available).

    If you are a private patient, you should usually (but not always) be able to get the x-rays for free. However, this is down to clinic/hospital policy.

    Digital x-ray images are usually stored in a format called DICOM. If you were able to get the images on CD, then there should be a DICOM reader on the disk. If not, they are available free online.

    BTW, I don’t have any Wisdom teeth, I had them all out at once.

  16. Gerard says:

    Morning Geoff and hello to Tina (remember me?)!

    I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now, as you probably know, and have refrained from posting but can’t help myself now….

    For such an articulate and intellectual chap your constant use of, “should of” as opposed to, “should have” has unleashed the pedant in me, apologies!

  17. stroppycow says:

    had 2 out, one is half way through and the last one has not quite made it through the gum yet.

  18. geofftech says:

    #16 – Gez … Ssseesh! you’re picking holes on what i type into the comments field in a hurry in 30 seconds?

    Blimey – Ian! Watch out! This man really is challenging you for you pedant No.1 spot! 🙂

  19. scottb says:

    I had all four taken out in a single afternoon, it was a holiday (Canada Day, the anniversary of Confederation).

    Not much of a holiday for me though, but I can’t complain, I was pretty much fully recovered in a week, having had
    lots of soup and milkshakes.

    Geoff, I also have not been to the dentist in a long time. The last time I am sure of was Jan 1991, but I know I went
    again within two years, so it has been at least 13 years. Yikes!

    When I finally do I will probably get a thorough scolding. My dentist has most likey retired in the interim, or moved, or died.

  20. viplette says:

    Before I started working in this hellhole I used to look after a dental surgery.

    He had the first completely computerised dental practice in the UK.

    Windows 3.11 on the 5 client machines and a *huge* old SCSI scanner that would only work if I was standing next to it praying. The dental software came from Sweden so no support.

    All the keyboards were wrapped in cling film to protect them from wet hands but basically meant the dentist could not type. The server was out in the waiting room but being Novell 3.11 all I ever had to really do was reboot the monster box and hoover out the dust from the fan fan (patients would lift up their legs when they saw me dragging out the hoover and point out places to clean).

    All started to go wrong when he made me upgrade the Novell 3.11 to 4 something. He ended up selling the practice (for a nice profit) and the first thing the new owners did was rip out all the computers and go back to paper records.

  21. I whole heartedly welcome the assistance from Gerard in keeping you on the straight and narrow.

  22. Dave says:

    Had all 4 wisdom teeth taken out in one go about 10 years ago. They were at strange angles and damaging my other teeth. It was all done under local anaesthetic and took about 45 minutes (one tooth had to be broken up to get it out). Suffered no pain (didn’t need the painkillers provided) or swelling, but was on soft foods for a couple of weeks whilst it all healed up.

  23. geofftech says:

    #20 – That’s great Lia, but .. Have you got your widsom teeth or not?

  24. #16: Pointing out his grammos is…well… pointless. He knows the difference, he just likes persisting in using them to annoy us all!

    #14: The reason I ask is because “Lifestyles” is a brand of condom here in the US. So what is the BBC “Club,” then? That’s not the luxury cafeteria you took me to, is it?

    I had all four wisdom teeth out at 20. Two were impacted.

  25. geofftech says:

    My goodness! And so they are.

    The BBC Club is where you go to drink after work! 🙂

  26. kate says:

    i have lots of teeth, and haven’t had anything removed, added to or filled in yet.

    Although, this may be because when I was young, I had some random paint stuff painted on my teeth by the dentist. Thinking back, it was kind of like nail varnish.

    DId anyone else get that or is it just me?!

  27. Paul Webb says:

    Full set of wisdom teeth, no fillings and (aside from a scape & polish many years ago) I’ve never had any treatment. I did, however, knock off the crowns of a some molars a couple of years ago when car knocked me off my bike. The dentist who inspected the damage said I was lucky – but when I was lying in the middle of a main road in Preston spitting out bits of enamel “lucky” was not a word that sprang to mind.

  28. Tower Block Tina says:

    Hi Gerard, How are You? I also groan at Geoff’s rotten Grammar, but I thought on this
    blog/Internet/txt thing spelling & Grammar don’t count. Us ‘mature’ people
    probably remember when Grammar & Puntuation were drummed into us at school.
    I find it difficult to make spelling mistakes or do the txt thing, in case
    teacher is looking over my shoulder and might whack my knuckles with a ruler.
    Does anybody else have this problem? (With the spelling not the teacher)
    Re Geoff’s Xrays, it must be private, to have the digital I think, our old Dentist
    still does the cardboard jobs, and he’s NHS. Have been with him 20 yrs, and tho’
    I’ve moved house 9 times, still go to him every 6 months, even came back from Ireland
    one week-end for an appointment. That’s loyalty for you.

  29. geofftech says:

    #27 – Paul, are you sure your dentist wasn’t also a part-time saleman for More Th>n ?

    “Lucky? That’s more than lucky…”

  30. Lia says:

    #23 I have both top and bottom on (my) right side and neither on the left.

  31. 25. Dare I suggest you pop into the BBC Club with your camera and post about that next?

    26. Kate, you must be on the younger side… as this is something relatively recent they’ve been doing, I believe. I had my kids’ teeth protected in a way similiar to this and it has definitely helped reduce the number of cavitites.

    28. Proper grammar is still highly valued and important, Ms. “Tower Block!!” Especially to us writers! The Internet/blog/text/email thing is also great, I think, as anything that gets people writing so much is a good thing. It’s just got a grammar code all its own, but is still a form of written communication.

  32. amy says:

    I can SOOOO top you Geoff! At the age of 35 or so I had SIX wisdom teeth removed after 12 years of avoiding the issue (them getting infected once a year, antibiotics always did the trick says this pansy ass.) I had the usual four and then two extra on each of the upper levels. The pain of surgery was nothing. The pain of the removal site gum infection was the worst. 3 weeks of living hell until I could find a doc willing to clear up the infection and give decent painkillers. Hellish I tell you! Be thankful you are ‘less endowed’ 🙂

  33. Fimb says:

    My brother (mid 40’s) had no enamel on his milk teeth, and had to have black stuff painted on his teeth once a month!!

    My mum reminded me that I did a very impressive job of hyper ventilating and then passing out in the middle of the dentist bit of the hospital when I had my stitches out from my wisdom teeth removal *L*

  34. geofftech says:

    “Less endowed” ? Hey i *have* my foreskin! (Ok, let’s not get started on that one again…)

  35. Andrew (TM) says:

    I had two or 3 wisdom teeth removed; the most recent one at age 28… you can see why from the x-ray (bottom left corner)
    See my x-ray at
    This was a film-based ‘panoramic’ x-ray made by exposing the film through a slit while it moved around my head on a robot arm.
    I was allowed to borrow the film for a couple of days to scan it, before posting it back to them!

  36. Let’s end this post/comments and show us the “Lifestyles” Gym!

  37. geofftech says:

    The gym is just a gym Kris! it really isn’t that interesting – neither is the BBC Club Bar! But if you really want, I can post some pictures of them at somepoint, but it’s honestly nothing to write home about …

  38. Gerard says:

    #18 Geoff – of course, rushing or not, it’s bloody basic man, tsk, a chap of your breeding and intelligence!

    #21 Ian – respect to your bad self, keep the faith brother

    #28 TBT – Thank you for your email, you have mail

    Back to the question – Had three out when I was 24, under a general anaesthetic, they couldn’t get to the fourth as it was too impacted. The most disturbing thing was waking up to mild discomfort in the rectum to be told that a painkiller had been inserted as the lining of the bowel provided the fastest and most effective route to the nervous system.

  39. amy says:

    Less endowed as in fewer wisdom teeth than SIX. Although is there something we should know about your nether regions you are sensitive about? 😉

  40. Wayne says:

    so, my wisdom teeth: I had all 4 out in 2 sessions a few weeks apart. The first time, all seemed to go well, and I was given some kind of gauze to bite on to stem any blood that might want to flow. My big mistake was then to cycle the 2 miles home. What a great way to get the blood surging around your body…. 🙁 Can’t remember how long I was in pain, but suffice to say I took the tube the next time.

    One of the the things of which I’m most proud is that I have no fillings. I’ve always thought as long as I keep on doing what I’ve been doing the last 2 decades (in terms of brushing and sensible eating), then there’s no need to go to a dentist, so I’ve not been to one for going on 10 years. My ex’s sister is a dentist and she had a quick look about 4 years ago; she reassured me that dentists hate people like me. I know I’m lucky, cos I used to drink a lot of coke, and eat polos (which my dentist told me were *the* worst things, at least 25 years ago), and to this day I take 2 sugars in tea and coffee.

  41. samantha says:

    I have three of my wisdom teeth. Only one of them is still in my mouth.
    The bottom two were extracted just after I graduated from university, and pre-op I asked if I could keep them. Had I asked afterwards they would have thought it was just part of the sedation-induced delirium: there was one point where I distinctly remember watching them take the clamps off one side of my mouth and reattach them on the other, from the perspective of the back of my throat (underneath the punching bag bit). When I finally came out of the deep bit of my stupor, I thought it was hilarious that I had virtually no control over my lips and kept trying to explain that I was Mick Jagger. Sadly, when the hospital-grade painkillers wore off so did the hilarity, and I resembled nothing more than an extremely grumpy hamster for about two days.

    The third tooth is still growing through in the top right corner of my mouth.
    The fourth has yet to make me and my dentist aware of its existence in any form.

  42. Tower Block Tina says:

    Re.Wayne #40, Cycling after his dental work, made me laugh.In my Lambretta days, I
    was larking about with a fellow club member who weighed 20 stone, and he fell on me
    cracking 3 ribs (mine). We were all at a Bonfire night party, and I drove home on my
    scooter in bloody agony, and the next day couldn’t get out of bed. My mum had to get
    me a taxi to the Casualty dept. at Croydon General, where they told me I had cracked
    ribs. That was only 1 of many scooter related accidents I had before I sold it!
    P.S. No I wasn’t a ‘mod’, a sort of Rocker with a scooter.

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