Web         Gaudiya Discussions
Gaudiya Discussions Archive » HEALTH, TRAVEL, ENVIRONMENT
Health, travel, environment and other related topics. Tips and tricks for keeping your body in shape for spiritual life. Taking care of your health while traveling in India.

A Tryst with Dentistry - (Apologies to Nehruji)

braja - Sat, 19 Mar 2005 10:08:35 +0530
After a filling fell out several months back I resolved to get the problem taken care of lest it develop into a bigger problem. As with many of my resolutions, this one lacked, well, resolve. On my last visit to India I left it till the last day before visiting the dentist’s office, only to find that I was the victim not only of procrastination but the unfathomable Indian system of different markets closing on different days. This visit I made good and had myself sitting within the dentist’s chair a couple of days after arriving. Perhaps sensing my history of procrastination, the dentist also had his drill reaching into the depths of my being within moments of walking into his office. That’s something else you encounter a lot in India—medical professionals don’t feel any need to explain or forewarn. I’d no sooner finished telling this chap how a filling had fallen out than he had my mouth open and was drilling intently in the space where it had once lived. Somehow I’d expected that he would make a diagnosis and tell me the condition. Nope. He let his drill do the talking.

I have to say though, that it was a very modern drill. All his equipment was first class, including some kind of light gun that sets the material in the filling within seconds. Given a choice between a good bed-side manner and good equipment, I’d favor the latter when dealing with teeth. And after sending bone and the remainder of my filling to smithereens, he did stop and tell me what he’d done and what needed to be done next. I’d have to return in a couple of days and report on whether the tooth was giving me any trouble; if so, I’d need a root canal.

I did return, armed with a background from Google on what a root canal actually is and also quite confident that I didn’t need one as the tooth seemed OK, just sensitive to heat and cold. (Ha, just remembered a verse from the Gita that I hadn’t thought of in a long time—matra-sparsas tu kaunteya. The children’s song version is catchier still. “Happiness and sadness come and go, just like the summer heat and the winter snow.”)

Dr Mohindra then let me know that he’d crown the tooth, which sounded like a harmless thing, a simple task of putting some kind of lid on the thing. But alas, Mohindriller set about grinding the poor tooth into a stump! The pain was so intense that I thought I’d pass out. I gripped my hands together, sometimes thrashed my feet and kept thinking that he was going to be done any minute now. Three quarters of the way through, he asked if I wanted a shot. A shot? Yeah, a triple on the rocks. And then another. Maybe I can blot out this whole experience. Anyways, if you go to a dentist in India, it seems that they’re not in the habit of giving Novocain unless you ask for it.

After drilling the tooth right down, he put a temporary cover on it and gave me three choices for a crown. As much as the stainless steel one was tempting—ala that bad guy in the James Bond movie—I went for the most expensive ceramic option, hoping that throwing money at it would somehow give me more chance of staying away from these drill maesters in future. I rode home in an auto with a gamsha wrapped around my jaw, trying to prevent the cool evening air from getting a direct route into my nerves.

The next day I returned for my coronation and a cleaning. Mohendrilla-ji had warned me that I had two more cavities but after the cleaning, he found another four. Thankfully—and this is why I can believe in God—none of them required drilling. He pasted his magic mix and then used his ray gun on them. After the cleaning and cavities, I was ready to ascend my throne. The crown was readied and my mouth prepared. All it needed now was a blast of air from Mohendrilla’s modern apparatus and we’d be done. The only problem is that a blast of industrial air on the bare stem of a decapitated tooth is incredibly painful. The pain stayed around constantly for days, with four-hourly doses of Tylenol giving the only respite. Strangely the tooth soon started a habit of only hurting at night. Each night, shortly after laying my weary head upon the lacking-in-the-spirit-of-comfort pillows you find in India, it would awaken and howl at the memory of Mohendrilla’s infernal wind machine.

However I later put this nightly pain to good use.

On previous visits to Sri Radhakunda I had tried to summon the crows and parrots as prognosticators of my future. They were quite unreliable however, giving decidedly mixed indications. On this visit I decided that my howling stump and its crown would provide the omens. If the nightly pain stopped while staying at Radhakunda, I would take shelter there. And you know what? It did stop. For a single night as I bedded down at the Manoranjan Dharmashala (where every member of staff must belong to an ancient family of singers from Bengal—the bathrooms are horrible but the sounds are sweet) my toothy stump was peaceful. The bag of Tylenol sat next to me all night, untouched. He started up when I returned to Vrindavan but by then my decision had been made. I took diksha soon after and then, remarkably, stumpie stopped crying, for good.

And the details on all this: Mohindra-ji is located near the Delhi university/Kamla Nagar area. As an antidote to the possibility of incurring suffering there, the Motilal Banarsidas showroom is only a few doors away, as is a great cyber-cafe. PM me if you need the address or phone number. The treatment cost me around Rs. 5000/-, say, US$120. And diksha: priceless. wink.gif
lbcVisnudas - Sun, 20 Mar 2005 01:08:41 +0530
What a funny story! I will always remember it. It reminds me of the wisdom tooth extraction I had at the Belur Math charitable dispensary some years back. In the chair while the dentistji was getting ready to yank it out, he heard me say quietly, "Jai Kali". He stopped and said "just relax". On the out breath of relax, he had my tooth out and was ready for the next patient! A true artist! I also remember the pain of that tooth prior to extraction gave rise to the most sincere prayer and japa i had up to that point!
evakurvan - Sun, 20 Mar 2005 01:38:18 +0530
Haha get this, I have the same story happen to me very recently but with another flourish of bizareness. Just like you I had to get a crown but as it was happening, due to some fluke of bacteria being present, the dentist infected me. So i had to go to a special archdentist to remove this infection by splitting my gums open. First though I had to take 8 pills a day to unswell the infection, because at that level of swelling, I could not yet be operated on with drugs, and no dentist wanted to split my gum open without drugs. I looked like the elephant man. These 8 pills a day made my insides bleed for one week, so i had to be rushed on a stretcher to the hospital for internal bleeding. All the while looking like the elephant man. There I had to wait, still on a stretcher, in the halls of the emergency room for 10 hours, no exageration. The ambulance guy who brought me there casually asked me: "Are you a non-seeing person?" Sure, I am just closing my eyes not because it hurts to internally bleed, but because i am secretly BLIND! Hahhaha, "non-seeing!"

The healthcare system is so organized here, that after 10 hours of being on a stretcher in the middle of the hall to see a doctor, I had to literally pry myself up and gush blood -right in front of the eyes of the nurse,- so she can realize i need help -now.- I did this despite my hangups of humiliation. She then exclaimed in surprise: Get someone to see the girl right now! The whole time this was happening to me, no doctor figured it was the 8 antibiotic pills a day I was taking. So I was sent for all these sicko tests to figure out what it is, and here i am freaking out the whole time, sure that i have some bizarre disease. The dentist who -caused- all this to happen is not offering me back the 700 dollars I had to pay for all this stuff to happen. He is aware of what his procedure did, but he is not responding to my answering machine message. Message or not, I plan to go back to his office one day and settle it! This whole thing was the most funny thing I have had happen in a long time seriously.

Tapati - Mon, 21 Mar 2005 14:01:53 +0530
A lot of dentists don't flush out their water lines and disinfect them properly. People have received not just gum infections, but heart valve infections. I would take eva's advice and avoid this dentist like the plague.

You might consider your legal options.

Coincidentally (no pun intended) my husband works for a company that looks into the backgrounds of dentists for their insurance companies. He hears all kinds of horror stories and I made him promise not to tell me until my own dental work is finished.
jatayu - Mon, 21 Mar 2005 20:12:43 +0530
QUOTE(Tapati @ Mar 21 2005, 08:31 AM)
A lot of dentists don't flush out their water lines and disinfect them properly. People have received not just gum infections, but heart valve infections. I would take eva's advice and avoid this dentist like the plague.

You might consider your legal options.

Coincidentally (no pun intended) my husband works for a company that looks into the backgrounds of dentists for their insurance companies. He hears all kinds of horror stories and I made him promise not to tell me until my own dental work is finished.

Good points, Tapati! Just found this yesterday, while we might always need dentists to some degree, find out when you do, when you don't, and when some of them may be cheating you. Click around - interesting stuff there, go through the newsletters

"I have learned more from your website and (Dr. Nara's) books than in 30 years of going to the dentist.  I am now disseminating this information to my children and also to my clients, as I'm a consultant for natural healing.  The truth shall set us free. Thank you for consistently working on doing just that."

Pam H., Naples, FL
brajamani - Wed, 23 Mar 2005 04:22:17 +0530
Dentist in India? forget it, I would have looked for the local hashish dealer and sat with the chillium babas until it stopped hurting biggrin.gif

Here in the states I went in for a filling too and walked out w/ 3,500 for three crowns mad.gif

Its corruption crying.gif