I went to the dentist….
I always knew my only two erupted wisdom teeth needed to come out. The top one had grown at a 90 degree angle to my jaw and the one at the bottom was growing perpendicular, and hooked under the tooth in front of it. The two on the left probably need to come out as well- but they have remained unerupted and as such I’m leaving them alone!
It was the bottom tooth that always gave the most problem, hurting every time it wanted to show its ugly head.
Late last week, I saw that a friend of mine had recently removed his wisdom teeth. This drew attention to the pain I was feeling for the millionth time, I was scared that it would get really bad at the wrong time *cough* during exams *cough*.
So on Monday morning I messaged him.
The University of the West Indies currently has a dental programme, the more senior students operate at the Dental Clinic at the University Hospital of the West Indies and are supervised by consultants.
My friend told me about his experience and how quickly he got through, I went there that same morning.
The universe was definitely on my side that day, I went mid afternoon, right after lunch time and I saw another friend of mine, who was going to get several procedures done. We spoke about the importance of taking care of our teeth (don’t worry blog is coming) and how by doing this we can avoid future painful visits.
Unfortunately for him they couldn’t do one of his procedures, and he was kind enough to give me his spot instead of doing one thing that day and then coming back the next morning.
How does it work?
Getting an Appointment
I went to the clinic as a walk in, and then got assigned to a student. You can decide to make an appointment or someone may be able to see you that same day. Just know if you are a walk in, you might have to wait a while.
There is an intake form that you have to fill out and it has personal information. Your name, address, number, illnesses and general questions about your health and oral health.
Before any procedure the student assigned to you must do an oral examination. This involves checking for lymph nodes of the head and neck, looking at the outside of your mouth and lips, the insides of your mouth, your teeth and finally X-rays. After you do your oral exam you set an appointment for your procedure. For some persons the procedure can be done on the same day but I had to schedule one.
I had to remove two teeth, one was a simple extraction and the other was surgical. It’s safe to say I was terrified. In general, I’m scared of the dentist, but the dental student assigned to me, Rochelle Watson, did her best to try and keep me calm.
In order to prepare for this procedure I followed the advice I wrote in Scary Surgery and it helped. I asked persons for advice, watched videos of the procedure and watched videos of how it went for others.
On the day itself, I was still scared but had on a brave face. It was all under local anaesthesia so I closed my eyes and told her to only tell me when it was done!
The simple extraction did not hurt at all, I felt the pressure but there was no pain.
The surgical extraction, was a different story. The pain as minimal, but I could hear all sorts of sounds, drilling, cracking and I could feel the pulling. My small little tooth fought hard to stay in but it was a relief to finally have it out!
The simple extraction didn’t need to be sutured but the surgical did.
For those of you who are wondering, none of these procedures are done unsupervised and the surgical extraction was done by an oral surgeon.
For the first hour I had to bite down on a piece of gauze so that I could form a clot to stop my mouth from bleeding. I was not allowed to spit or eat from a straw. My friend that I told you about earlier warned me that chewing would be a difficult task and suggested I go on a liquid diet.
He was so right!
I got pain killers, antibiotics to prevent infections and steroids to help with the swelling. I have to be careful when brushing my teeth and use warm salt water to rinse to help with healing.
Because I’m a student the procedures were very affordable, in total I spent $6000 JMD (without help from insurance).
$1000 to register
$0 for the oral exam
$2000 for the simple extraction
$3000 for the surgical extraction
For persons who are not students of the University of the West Indies, it is still affordable. Students get the oral exam free and also get half off of all procedures. They also take all major insurers.
For non students the price would have been roughly $12,000 to $15,000 without insurance. (I’m not sure how much the oral exam is)
UHWI Dental Clinic is for those of you who would like affordable and quality dental care. They offer all or most of the procedures a regular dentist or dental clinic would.
Is my fear of the dentist gone? I doubt it, but I’m so proud of myself for being brave enough to do something I really should have done years ago.
Dentist to be Rochelle Watson did an excellent job and you should check her out by giving her a call at +1 (876) 821-9487. The opening hours are between 8:30 am to possibly 4:00 pm.
As a medical student, I know how important it is to have patients who are willing to allow you to learn from them. I hope that those of you who read this will go in for your next cleaning, filling, root canal, extraction or what ever dental procedure you need. The dental students are well trained, well supervised, and the costumer service is great!
Let me know if you check out the clinic down below in the comments!
Samantha C. Johnson