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Dental nightmare on the road

October 03, 2008|By ERNST ARNOLD, Hagerstown

This is my misadventure in Eastern Europe right after the wall came down in Berlin.

I was backpacking through Europe and found myself in Erfurt, Germany, with a severe toothache.

Luckily, there was a university with a dental school. The enthusiastic student interns took some X-rays and determined that I had a large abscess in my lower jaw. An eager student intern performed a root canal and drilled the wrong tooth!

He got it right the second time and said to report Monday morning for surgery. Yikes!

Monday, I was brought into an operating room where three balding elderly East German dentists looked me over. The dentists went to an adjacent area to consult, pulled the curtains and erupted into a loud argument in rapid-fire German! Suddenly, the curtains opened and there were three beaming dentists. Trouble. They bored two holes through the gum and jaw bone into the abscess. They finished and said to report in two days for quality control.

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Tired and worn out, I was not about to hang around in Erfurt so I went to the bus stop to get back to friends in Munich. Sitting at the bus stop, I noticed I was attracting attention. I thought that maybe my pants zipper was unfastened.

I tilted my swollen head to glance down and all the blood/goo that had pooled in my mouth poured out over my white shirt creating a bloody mess! People avoided me.

Arriving in Munich, I was tossed off the S-bahn (a commuter train) for not having the proper ticket! I had to walk three miles to my friend's house.

The only good thing about the whole experience was the cheap $137 dental bill.

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