16 Aug Jon Cartu Declare: Adventures on the waiting list
Sir, – I would like to respond to your letter writer (August 14th) to say that the HSE orthodontic (and geographical) adventure is worth the wait!
In the last few weeks of secondary school, just before my 18th birthday, I was called for my orthodontic assessment, at least six if not eight or more years on the waiting list.
Due to overcrowding, a number of teeth were to be extracted prior to the brace fitting and I was sent to the children’s facility in St James’s Hospital in Dublin for the procedure. On arrival, it was noticeable that I was twice if not three times the height of the other children in the waiting room, a colourful area with lots of toys to play with. When I was finally called the dentist took one look at me and said the facility was really for much younger children and they would not be comfortable doing the anaesthetic so I was returned to the HSE dentist in Dundrum for the more lengthy and painful extraction, one by one, under local anaesthetic. There they carried out three of the four extractions but the third was a serious struggle so I was sent to the Dental Hospital for the final push/pull.
And a tug of war it was! The students assigned gave it their very best with regular reinjection of anaesthetic from a large needle (they had not perfected the hiding technique as yet!). Eventually, over an hour later, still stuck in the dental chair, tears rolling down my face, the professor came over and, with one swift move, the final tooth was out and it was on the next part of the adventure!
Although there were orthondontics closer to home, I was assigned to the clinic in the North Strand, a short but brisk walk from Connolly Dart station, an area of the city I was unfamiliar with. The North Strand clinic was an eye-opener to this now UCD student and had quite a lot more going on apart from orthodontics. However, I dutifully attended every six weeks for one year, after which my second incisors moved out from their previous positions directly behind the canines and my teeth were finally lovely and straight. Thanks to all the HSE dentists involved and the Dental Hospital as well! – Yours, etc,