Saturday, July 21, 2007


I never used to like going to the dentist. Probably a symptom of my childhood dental treatment, of which there was a lot and it was nowhere near as sophisticated (or painless!) as it is today. I even remember being put to sleep with a gas mask over my face before having teeth extracted. So even though I know today's dentistry is little more than mildly uncomfortable, I still dread the approaching appointment as if I were ten years old again.

Our local dental surgery is the Gama Dental Clinic. Well, I say local... it's a twenty minute drive away and we go past at least three others to get to it, but it's the one the Embassy recommended to us. It's a large surgery with at least ten treatment rooms. All the dentists are either South African or Indian and all the assistants, receptionists and hygienists are from the Philippines.

Gama Dental Clinic on Old Airport Rd.

I'm in the middle of some treatment at the moment to have a couple of crowns and to replace some old metal fillings that are starting to expand and crack my teeth. (that just brought back a memory of swilling clear pink mouthwash and spitting bits of metal into a steel bowl, while you struggle to detach the last stringy drip of mouthwash from your numbed lip and end up having to wipe it off with a tissue. They don't have those bowls, or the mouthwash, any more do they? I haven't seen them for years). In fact the treatment I get here is the least painful I've ever had. It could be the same in UK now, but here they have a pink anaesthetic gel that they rub on your gums which numbs them from feeling even the main anaesthetic injection. Does your dentist have that? I'd never seen it before coming to Riyadh.

I went last week to have a crown done, and I go back tomorrow to have the temporary crown removed and the new permanent one fitted. This will be a shorter visit than they think, because the temporary crown fell out this morning as I was driving along the Northern Ring Road at 140km/h (think I'll leave the chewing gum alone for a few weeks til it's all over).

While I'm in "Dentist Mode" I decided to take Abigail for a check-up, partly because she's got an adult canine coming through and the loose baby tooth below it is refusing to give way, and partly because -- with Karen and Elliot working at the Embassy and Abigail off school -- we've got nothing else to do. The dentist offered to remove the loose tooth but Abigail politely declined, preferring to wait a week or so for nature to take its course. But, our dentist also spotted some decay and promptly gave Abigail her first and second fillings. We weren't expecting that, as she has very good teeth, but this was a sobering reminder to her to keep them clean and cut back on the sugar. I sat with her during the treatment, so of course got bored and started snapping photos with my phone.

Waiting for the anaesthetic to kick in

This was the first time Abigail had felt that numb feeling in her mouth and she quite enjoyed the experience, until it started wearing off of course.

"Open wide..."

Blogging about the dentist is quite therapeutic. I don't feel worried about tomorrow anymore.


Laura said...

You didn't mention what every English person wants to know - HOW MUCH DID THE DENTIST COST?

Lucas loved the pics of "beautiful" Abigail in the chair.

Oh, and numbing gel has been around quite a while. Maybe, being the big strong man that you are, they thought you didn't need it?

Did Harry Potter die then??


Chris said...

It's pretty expensive, although I'm not sure how it compares with today's UK prices. One crown and a filling cost me SR3000, which is around £450!

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Anonymous said...

Just thought I would point out, you stated that the dentists are either South African or Indian. There used to be one South African dentist there, but he isn't there anymore. The dentist that has been there the longest is Dr. Parks, who manages it, however, he is from the US. I'm not aware of any Indian dentists ever working at GAMA, it doesn't sound like them.

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