For this to work I have to start a few weeks back. I was having tooth pain and one of my teeth cracked (don't ask). Anyway it was a pretty annoying, throbbing kind of pain that got worse and worse. Finally I broke down over the weekend and called Dentist #1 at Symes Desilva. As it turns out there are a few Dental places that are open on weekends, but this was the one I could get an appointment with in an emergency and wasn't ridiculously priced. That day I was brought in and advised that 4 wisdom teeth and the broken tooth had to come out. I was then advised of the price, at which point I laughed (hard to do with a mouth full of cotton and tools), went home and decided to see if insurance would cover this. As a side note, Symes De Silva was very efficient, and very good. The bedside manner was a little lacking, but what do you expect for the price and timing? The final price was about $90. Not too bad in an emergency.
I had then decided I should seek out alternative options in the " knock me out and get this thing out of my head category", since Symes De Silva only does pills and locals(not enough for me), and I was still waiting on insurance.
I then headed to Dentist #2 - The Gentle Dental (no website just contact #'s) for a 2nd checkup and got my 2nd opinion verified plus full X-Rays and a referral for about $100; also not bad. If you do go here, don't let the building or front office fool you (it doesn't look that posh), they are very good, have a great chair-side manner and are very helpful. The dentist even went over all of the particulars with the digital X-Rays, so there were no guesses involved.
Afterwards, I found out that insurance does in fact cover at least some of the operation if:
a) it is NEEDED
b) it is performed by an oral surgeon
c) you are fully unconscious
OK that last one wasn't so much an insurance requirement as a Darren requirement.
Next Stop? Oral Surgeon. Wayne Gillingham of Wellington Oral Surgery Ltd was very good, very efficient (if not a little too fast) and knew what he was doing. Though he spoke and worked very quickly (I felt a little rushed) I was very comfortable and relaxed as he explained both the good and possible bad points of the operation. I was advised at this point that I could be FULLY UNCONSCIOUS. Woohooo! I walked away nervous but happy to have it finally on its way and for only $200 (which insurance will cover a large portion of, thankfully).
The final stop was yesterday afternoon's trip to Boulcott Hospital at 3:00pm for a 5 part tooth extraction. Big Fun! Was I nervous? Yes. Was I hungry/thirsty? yes (nothing to eat or drink after 7:30am), was I drugged? Hell yes! After going over the paperwork and telling Dawn I loved her I was taken to the operating room, where the best IV I have ever had ( I literally felt NOTHING and that was pre-drugs) was put in, we talked for a few minutes and then I was out cold.
I woke up with what was described to me as short term amnesia, having no idea where I was or how I got there for a few minutes. My brain began functioning in its semi-normal state and all was well. I was returned to my room and loving wife to pass out intermittently for a few hours.
They gave me my teeth, took out the IV, walked me through the plethora of drugs I could take to dull the pain and swelling and called for our friend Mike to come get us. (Thanks again bro!)
My teeth were given to me in a pill container (which I apparently, though, have know memory of doing), shook them at Dawn just to gross her out. Yep even drugged out I am a sick bastard.
So... now it is the next day not quite 24 hours since I went under the knife. I am a bit swollen and eating soft foods, but feeling much better. The slight pain I feel now I know will get a little worse but will still be better that then agonizing pain I was going through, so that's nice. Hoping all will be well for Tuesday when I go back to my students. Oh yes... I am teaching now, but that will be for my next post to explain. Check out the ice-pack/head gear I get to wear - very sexy.
In the end I learned not be afraid of Dentists, they are not all bad and do a shit job for a decent amount of money (like lawyers, only without the tails and horns ... hehehe). Thanks for reading and hope it helps some of you. Drop me a line if you have any questions or want referrals to anything.
[Editor's note: the surgery and surgeon consultation costs were covered under the general surgery clause of the private insurance I receive through my employer. We have not opted for dental insurance, and even private health insurance is relatively rare in New Zealand. -dawn]