Like pulling teeth

A few months ago I was shocked to find a large portion of a tooth in my wife’s side of the bed.  She has not complained of any pain, but since she has Alzheimer’s disease I knew it would be a problem.  I knew she would perhaps allow a dentist to look in her mouth but not do any dental work like drilling, etc.

Nevertheless we went off to the local Maccabi-dent, which we had used in Netanya.  There, since it was an emergency, a dentist looked at her immediately.  She allowed him to look in her mouth, but would not agree to having x-rays done.  He said he could not proceed without x-rays and anyway they were not equipped to deal with such patients, and since she was not in pain it was not really an emergency.

My daughter found that Yad Sarah, a voluntary organization for the disabled, has a home dental service. We contacted them and for a modest fee a dentist came.  She was very nice, she looked in Naomi’s mouth and said that to do the work would require both x-rays and probably sedation and she could not do that, so she wrote a letter to show to our doctor.  I took the letter to the doctor and he said the only place that could do dental work and x-rays under sedation was at the Soroka hospital and he wrote us a referral.

My daughter explained the situation to the Mouth Clinic at Soroka Hospital and arranged for an appointment that took several weeks.  Today we went there. and paid for the visit because Maccabi does not cover dental work other than routine procedures.  We had to wait several hours, but when we were asked to go to the nurse’s office we were met by a truly lovely lady who spoke English and told us that her mother had had AD and she knew the problem and she took Naomi’s information and by the time we left she hugged Naomi (only in Israel).

Then we went in to see the actual dentist.  He too was extremely nice and gentle and chatted with Naomi and charmed her into letting him take an x-ray, that I thought could never happen.  After seeing the x-ray he said that, as he thought, one tooth was broken off and the roots needed to be removed, requiring surgery, and a second tooth was broken and needed a filling.  They gave us an appointment in a month, since she has no pain, and under sedation a surgeon will remove the root and then he, the dentist, will do the filling.  The whole visit today took about 3 hours and was a bit like pulling teeth.  But, the real test is yet to come.


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