Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dental Work in San Diego

Hello guys,

you've probably been wondered why I've been so silent.

I'm in San Diego now, and it has been 8 days after a major dental surgery. The procedure was long overdue... most of the damage was created by undiagnosed intestinal lymphangiectasia, topped with childhood dental abuse in a culture (Italy) in which if you go to the ER with hemorrhagic cystitis they don't give you a pain killer but just a prescription for an antibiotic that you have to fill yourself while you're in pain.

I started searching for a suitable doctor in 2005. Soon I decided to give up on Italian dentists, who don't even numb you before injecting local anesthesia in your gums and still think they are not sadists. I started searching for a dentist in the UK (so that my American bf too could interact with my doctor) and thought I had found one to flow to in London.

Eventually, things went South. The first impression was ok but he completely discounted my requests (like, starting with the front teeth, loading implants immediately, have as much stuff done as possible at every visit). I was trying to minimize my phobia, he was more concerned about replicating his "perfect" protocol. So I bailed out of the surgery twice and eventually I didn't even tell him "enough".

At the beginning of January, I was in the US and I had a toothache. I needed to go to a dentist so I tried to shop online. And I found James.

James is a surgeon and an implantologist. He also does fillings, veneers, invisalign, fillings, crowns. When a root canal is needed he refers you to a specialist. At my very first appointment, his dental assistant (Aida) gave my dental x-rays in a very gentle manner, and James evaluated my case. At the end of the visit I was given a detailed idea of: (1) type of treatment proposed; (2) reasons for preferring such treatment over others; (3) detailed cost breakdown.

What really blew me away was the fact that we, together, figured out a plan on what I preferred to do first, when to do it, what else needed to be done before the procedures (my two chronic medical conditions, the medications I take, the special dietary requirements, allergies,), etc.

James and I interacted through email a lot, and I like it. For one, given the kind of stuff I do, I was amazed at seeing a person able to convey his feelings and thoughts online without ever resorting to saying "can we have a phone call instead???". Breeze of fresh air!!!! Second thing, James is always ready to ask for your input, explain his choices and probe you with more questions if you yourself are not resolved on an issue.

The first procedure was entirely pain free. However I did find myself in a rough spot because I didn’t expect my gums to swollen that much. Having new teeth and edema just under my nose deformed my face and I did freak out. James was always very patient and reassuring, even when confronted by me.

The major surgery (14 extractions, 11 implants, a bone graft) was actually a breeze and I don’t remember anything about it. I was never swollen or bruised. I needed Vicodin for 2 days only, and discontinued Tylenol after 6 days from the procedure. I actually never stopped speaking for a minute and was walking around town less than 24 hours after the procedure, and taking pictures less than 2 days after surgery! Robin checked on me before and after the procedure and James gave me his cell phone number, not to mention the fact he replied to my emails on both Saturday night and Sunday morning, and to a phone call at 9.10 pm.

I absolutely love James, both the doctor and the person he is. Everybody of you needing a smile makeover, a dental surgeon, both, or "just" a really caring human being, James works in Hillcrest (San Diego) and Escondido.

1 Comments:

Blogger miguel said...

Looking forward to reading you again, after that ordeal :-).

Best regards,

Miguel

5:50 pm  

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