|Tom, standing outside Taylor Dental Practice in New Plymouth, New Zealand.|
Finally, Tom’s tooth abscess is resolved. After three months since the onset of the problem, two rounds of antibiotics, both of which gave him temporary relief, two trips to a dentist, one in Fiji in November, the other yesterday, it’s all over now.
“Dr. Dennis, the Dentist” at the Taylor Dental Practice in New Plymouth pulled his tooth after examining his x-rays and giving him three options for the tooth that had already had a crown:
|The waiting room was comfortable and organized.|
1. Root canal with a new crown at an expense of NZ $1500, US $1011
2. An implant that would take eight to nine months (out of the question, time-wise)
3. Pull the tooth
It didn’t take long for us to decide. As the last tooth next to a wisdom tooth, losing the tooth wouldn’t result in a noticeable difference when he smiled or laughed. Who among us in the senior years hasn’t had at least one tooth pulled in their lifetime? This was a first for Tom.
|There was plenty of reading material, but we didn’t wait long.|
Tom has always had “laughing gas” (nitrous oxide) for all dental work, a practice that started when he was a young adult. This is seldom used in many countries and wasn’t available at Dr. Dennis’s location.
The tooth would be pulled with only a lengthy injection of Novocaine (Procaine) and out the tooth would come! He hesitated when hearing there would be no nitrous oxide used. With reassurances from Dennis, the hygienist, and me, he decided to go ahead.
|As shown in Tom’s x-ray, the gray area under the far-right crown is where the infection has been festering off and on.|
I asked Dr. Dennis an important question before he began the procedure, “How long would it take to pull out the tooth?” He explained it would be over in less than one minute. Knowing this gave Tom a bit of comfort.
We had visions of a dentist tugging and pulling, broken bits remaining behind, with the dentist using leverage to yank out a pesky tooth. Not the case. It was over in 10 seconds, not one minute. We were both surprised by how quickly the tooth, mushy in the gums, easily came out.
|He still smiles, considering what was ahead. The goggles are worn to protect the eyes in the event of any “flying” tooth matter during the extraction.|
The look of relief on Tom’s face was evident when the dentist showed him the extracted tooth. It was over. What a relief for him and for me who’d suffered along with him over two worrisome rounds of antibiotics and trips to the dentist. After a few instructions for care, we were out the door of the treatment room and off to pay the bill.
Considering the exam, the x-rays, the Novocaine injection, and the extraction, we expected a bill in the several hundred dollar range. Were we ever shocked when we were handed the bill for NZ $170, US $115? We couldn’t pay it quickly enough.
|Dr. Dennis, the Dentist did a fine job, quick and painless.|
No doubt this would have been much more costly in the US although not quite as good a deal as it may have been in Fiji at NZ $4.09, US $2.76 per dental appointment.
In examining the sterilization at the two locations, we felt more at ease in New Zealand and we’re glad we waited, even though it cost Tom an extra round of antibiotics. That’s not to say the dental care in Fiji is inadequate but at their low prices, it may not have been possible to provide the degree of caution exercised in New Zealand where we felt totally at ease.
Based on this single experience, we’d highly recommend Taylor Dental Practice and Dr. Dennis, the dentist with whom we chatted for a bit about his homeland of Malaysia which we’ll be visiting this upcoming April on our next cruise. Overall, it was a relatively painless and pleasant (as such an appointment can be) experience in a professional, competent, and caring clinic.
|Allison, the dental assistant was equally friendly and supportive.|
After the extraction, we continued on with our grocery shop. I told Tom we could easily wait to shop until today when we’re soon heading back to town to visit with June and Simon at their historic home. He insisted he was fine and we could continue with our multiple-stop shopping.
Heading to Pak’nSave, on a different day of the week than last time, again we ran into June who was also shopping. We all giggled over the coincidence assuring her we’d be at her home as planned at 11:00 am today, Friday. Small world.
Then we were off to the Kiwi Meat market with a final stop at New World Market for the balance of the items we couldn’t find at PAK n SAVE. By the time we returned “home” the cleaners, Ra, and Isabel hadn’t finished cleaning after arriving late.
|The old metal crown Tom had made many years ago, moments after it was pulled.|
Hurriedly, we put our perishables away leaving the remainder on the dining room table to deal with later, and headed back out the door to “kill” another hour. Tom had suggested a new road to explore he’d spotted on the map. He explained he was feeling fine and has continued without pain or discomfort since the extraction.
As always in New Zealand, every road offers myriad treasures and we continued exploring for a few more hours taking photos on another overcast day. We’ll share those photos in the days to come.
Photo from one year ago today, February 5, 2015:
|It was one year ago today that we attended our first Full Moon Party, organized by friend Richard, as we continued with a busy social life in Kauai. Thanks, Richard, we’ll always love you for befriending us! For more details, please click here.|