Will Fight You On This Tooth And Nail

, , , | Healthy | August 5, 2018

(I study dentistry at a dental clinic in France. The dental clinic is split into what we call services: surgery, prosthetics, urgent care, etc. That means that a patient who wants the teeth we remove to be replaced by a prosthesis needs to coordinate his appointments with both services. It’s more complicated than just going to a regular dentist, but in France clinics make you pay exactly what healthcare reimburses, making it free for everyone, apart from “better” acts, like implants. The basic stuff is 100% covered, though, and that’s why poor people come here. Every service is clearly labeled. I have this interaction while working in the surgery service, with a patient who has six teeth left, and NO prosthesis.)

Me: “So, according to your file, we have to remove those three teeth.”

Patient: “But you will replace them, right?”

Me: “It says in your file that you have an appointment in prosthesis; they will take care of it.”

Patient: “But I want you to do it now! It’s in two months!”

(It is rather urgent that his teeth be removed, as they have already become infected in the past.)

Me: “Ah, well, then, we can remove the teeth now, and you can go to your planned appointment. In fact, it’s not that bad; we require about two to three months of healing before we can make a fully-functional prosthesis.”

Patient: “What will I do without my teeth, though? I’d rather stay like this and come back in two months!”

(The teeth we’re talking about are premolars. His front teeth, the incisors, are long gone, as are his back teeth, his molars. The premolars serve no purpose if they’re not surrounded or faced by other teeth.)

Me: “Are you sure? They could get infected again and cause you a lot of pain. They’re of no use to you, you can’t eat with them, and we don’t see them when you smile.”

Patient: “I want to keep them! What would I do without them?”

(I don’t know, the exact same thing you’ve been doing for the past ten years with your six remaining rotten teeth? He ended up leaving and refused any care. Bet he’ll b**** and moan when, in two months, they tell him they can’t do a nice prosthesis for two other months…)

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