Afraid of the dentist?
“Do not go to the dentist in Egypt!”, strongly recommended my own dentist during my last check-up before the big departure. The legislation on the disinfection of the instruments being different from the European standard, my doctor assures me that the dental offices are an important vector of transmission of hepatitis C in Egypt. Thank you doctor, it is noted!
Imagine what passed through my head when after a few days of diving I felt a filling move. I checked, once, twice, no doubt: I had an amalgam that wanted to go on his own! It’s still bad luck… I went twice to the dentist the month before I left. A check-in first and then a few days before leaving, it was another amalgam that I myself foolishly dislodged with the dental floss… Anyway, I thought to be ready before leaving…
The problem with diving is the change in air pressure. As we descend, the pressure rises under the weight of the water around us. Each air pocket in contact with the water will contract.
At the level of dentition, if – despite the amalgam – a small crack allows the air to come in or out of the tooth, it will compress on the descent and expand on the ascent, sometimes causing the detachment of the amalgam. If the tooth is banged up it can also hurt. At least I didn’t feel anything.
But hey, here I am with a filling which moves… And as my dentist says, a filling that moves is a nest of bacteria. So here I am with three options: a) do as if nothing had happen, and find me in three months, in Sudan, with a toothache (we did not talk about Sudanese dentists with my doctor…); b) go back to France to go to my dentist… A defeat! … or c) find a dentist in Egypt.
And this is where the most important rule of travel comes into play: always have a local contact in the country you are visiting. In my case, Gouda saved me! Yes, yes Gouda is his nickname. It was the father of the family who welcomed me when I arrived in Cairo. He immediately recommended me a fantastic clinic where he had taken his son for his first visit. He was able to reassure me that for sure there are bad places in Egypt, but also very clean ones.
I was able to make an appointment directly on the Internet as with Doctolib in France, except that here the timetables are much more flexible. I had an appointment at 9:00 🙂 Luckily Gouda agreed to come with me. Because still I was not reassured. I don’t like dentists except my one in France. And this was the first time I had to go to a medical appointment in English. You’re never totally at ease in this case. In addition, once at the right address, all alone, I would have had a hard time understanding where I had to go. In fact, as in Paris, the dental office was in a residential building, except that, as everything is written in Arabic, it was not easy to guess where to go.
The receptionist did not speak English either, so once again I was glad that Gouda was with me. When at the dental office, as I said, everything was great. The waiting room super chic and comfortable. The dental office itself equipped with everything needed. Hygienic conditions as good (if not even better?) as in France, with small plastic slippers to wear, a complete cleaning of the armchair between patients…
The dentist had two assistants, that’s a lot of people for my little mouth! (actually, it’s not really necessary… my dentist in France handles everything alone) The dentist was very very nice, he listened to me, and told me everything he was going to do…
After having found that indeed my amalgam was getting out, he announces: “Well, we’re going to have to do a little anesthesia”. I hate anesthesia, which leaves your mouth limp for three hours. So I stop him and I tell him. “Well, if it’s not essential… I prefer to avoid… ” Yes, yes, be aware that when you change an amalgam, anesthesia is not automatic. It is definitely possible to do it without. You feel something, but it’s quite bearable. And then above all it has two advantages: the dentist has to pay more attention to what he’s doing ^^ and if you have not atrociously suffered it means that the nerve of your tooth is fine and that you will not suffer more afterword. Personally, I am always afraid that during anesthesia the dentist touches the nerve without realizing it, and that once the effect of anesthesia passes the pain assails me. Yes, it is a experience I lived and a very bad memory.
In short, the doctor confirms that he will look if it is possible without, and he announces that – yes it will. Relief. After a few minutes of milling, amalgam shaping, ultra violet light drying (is that it?) and sanding, he tells me to close my mouth. It’s perfect on the first try!
Well, he informs me that the amalgam just next door is also a bit old and that perhaps it would be nice to change it. But I tell him that “No, it’s fine thank you, we’ll wait quietly that he dies of old age”, given that for my dentist everything was fine. He tells me, “No problem”. Although I can see that he thinks it would have been better to ^^
After that, he fills in the insurance papers and issues the invoice in English. In all and for all 30 euros and change, reimbursed by the insurance (should be).
I came out very happy from the dental office 🙂 I could almost say that it was a good experience!
If you ever need to go to the dentist in Cairo: Https://goo.gl/maps/yCwsxaB8aKn
To find the entrance, contact me if needed (it’s on the left of the building)