I’m ashamed to admit but I’ve not been to a dentist in YEARS. I can’t stand the places. Men in white coats poking you with sharp tools the hygienist that simultaneously drowns you whilst telling you off for not flossing, and then they expect you to pay for it! It’s not my idea of fun, let me tell you.
Sadly, for the first time in my life I think I’ve got a cavity. At my age I’m shocked I’ve not had one sooner to be honest. Great, a trip to the hell that is the dentist.
I called up my dentist, turns out that having not been for over four years gets you taken off their patient list (who knew?), and when I asked to re-register I was told they weren’t accepting any more patients. So began my search for a new dentist.
I found a couple online near me, there wasn’t much between them, I chose the one that’d be easiest to get to. So I’m sat in a draft waiting room, half filling in my registration forms, half watching Jeremy Kyle on the TV (he wasn’t the father, and no-one had any idea who else it could be) when I noticed a question on the form:
“Are you HIV positive? YES/NO”
Why would my dentist need to know this? At first I thought maybe it’s to protect themselves in case there’s blood flying – but then surely they should assume every patient’s blood could contain HIV, Hep A/B/C, Malaria etc, so surely they should take ample measures whatever the patient? Then I thought maybe it’s for my benefit – you know to use super sterile kit – but I’d hope all of their equipment would be of the highest cleanliness for every single patient, regardless of HIV status?
I’ve failed to think of a single situation where my HIV status is relevant to the treatment I receive or the safety precautions the dentist should take. If I fill in ‘YES’ will I be refused treatment? If I circle ‘NO’ am I breaking the law?
In the end I circled neither. I handed my forms into the receptionist – who didn’t check them – and I saw the dentist. I’m tempted to phone back, anonymously, and ask why it was on the form – but I doubt I’d get a coherent answer from that receptionist. Let’s just hope it’s another four years before I have to go again…
Best dental wishes,