An Unceremonious Pack-up

It is not about a pack-up announced by a director after a film shooting. I am talking about a virtual ‘pack-up’ declared by a doctor in a dental clinic.

Years ago, I do not remember exactly when, I got root-canal treatment done for my aching tooth. The dentist advised me to get a crown fixed on the treated tooth but I ignored his advice and, as a result, first I lost a part of the tooth and finally all of it that was visible was gone  leaving behind only its hidden fragments. I visited a neighborhood dental clinic run by a dentist couple who advised me a tooth implant, which I was made to understand was a minor procedure. The treatment was going to cost me hefty thirty thousand but I was determined to preserve my smile line.

So, on one fine day straight from the college I went to the dentist. After the extraction I was asked to go home, have semi-solid diet and come back for the implant procedure. As desired by the dentist, I reported back after an hour. A sterilized gown, which I was not supposed to touch, was put over my dress covering me from head to toe. While the dentist who was to place the implant was busy attending to a patient on an adjoining chair, the lady doctor made preliminary arrangements for the dental procedure with the help of an assistant. The special preparation creating an ambience of mini operation theatre around me made me a little scary, but I kept a brave front. After an anesthesia injection (the second in an hour, the first was given at the time of extraction) around the tooth, began the deep drilling and digging into my jaw for placing the implant. It would have been five minutes hardly when the doctor stopped. He announced there was no bone in the jaw, as it might have got corroded; hence the implant could not be placed.

It was an unceremonious pack up. Hurriedly, the sanitized gown was removed. The assistants got busy in putting away the especially assembled paraphernalia, and amidst all this pack-up activity, I stood bewildered. In the meanwhile the lady doctor marched into the consultation cabin and I followed her sheepishly. She asked me to shell out one thousand rupees. I could understand Rs 500 extraction charges but wondered what the other rupees five hundred was for. I was told that the extra charge was for the loss incurred in preparing for the failed implant. I was made to feel that I was being obliged, as only 50% of the preparation cost was being recovered from me. Too rattled to continue with the argument; I made the payment and came out feeling stupid for having paid for the disservice. I wondered if it was my fault or that of the doctor who misjudged the availability of the bone/feasibility of the procedure.


Published in Hindustan Times on 23 July 2014

6 Replies to “An Unceremonious Pack-up”

  1. You wrote this article very honestly,madam.The dentist charges were really very high ,that also, many years back. The write up is very interesting.

    1. Thanks Garima for reading and giving our feedback. Glad it resonated with you but dentist’s perspective could be different from the patient. The possibility of human error is always there.

  2. 😀😀 I understand your plight quite well…but had the implant procedure been decided before the extraction , a CBCT scan could have saved the misjudgement. These things happen Mamiji, that’s the reason we call surgical procedures so unpredictable….getting a CBCT Scan done for a single tooth implant to tell u about the missing bone depth could also have angered the patient they were hoping to work upon.
    All is well when it ends well,🙂🙂

    1. Yes Dr Bhanu , mine was biased, one side of the story , obviously from a patient’s perspective . Thanks Bhanu for throwing light on the other side. It’s like the visible part of the tooth that I can see but the other part hidden from the eye but now I get the complete picture. ..

      True, error of judgement can be always be there anywhere but at that point in time I felt cheated especially when the dentist made me pay for the preparation for procedure.

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