Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Dentists

Warning: this is gonna be a long read!

It all started when my left bottom wisdom tooth started chipping, I think 4 times. By then, the remaining part was sharp at the edge and gum has become more sensitive. At times, the pain was so atrocious that I wanted to find a pair of pliers to pull it out myself... which of course would never happen. After many senseless self-slapping, Panadol and cursing, I've decided to visit a dentist.

Now, I have not visited a dentist since 2008. Ya, I know... not treating my teeth well blah blah blah. But I can't help it... I have feared dentists since I was 11 years old! Well, thanks to this fat woman dentist in Shah Alam who has instilled this fear in me. I was never afraid when I was small. In fact, I used to visit the school's dentist during recess time when I was in Standard 1 and 2. After transferring to another school, I have not visited since as this new school does not provide such facility. I still remember that incident clearly... how she handled the looooooooooong needle... the force she used to shove me in my seat when I tried to run away... she was not gentle at all! This was not the end.

Dad told me I should get braces when I was in Standard 6. I instantly froze. FYI, I have a small jaw frame so my teeth were like pushing and clashing each other just to be out! Since 'no' was not an option, I had to follow dad to the orthodontic in PJ. Not sure if it was a blessing or what but the dentist was a soft-spoken, elderly man. He immediately put me at ease as if sensing my reluctance. Throughout the procedure, he was gentle but yet stern with numerous scoldings as apparently my teeth was not clean enough. Already having constant headaches, gum-aches and loss of appetite due to the braces, I have to endure the pressure of keeping it insanely clean due to the fear of getting more scolding. Well, he was loud and he will fill my teeth with this pink ink to show the dirtiness. So it was embarrassing as you can see all those eyes at the waiting area zoning in on you when you are leaving. Sigh!

After everything was removed, no more dentists! Until 2008 where I had scaling for the first time after so many moons! She was a gentle lady in her mid-thirties and she had this Faith Hill's album playing at the background. Once she started working on my teeth, she starting singing =.= I know it's supposed to be soothing but it's annoying to me as I was so scared and here she is singing... jeez!

Anyway, after that episode, finally visited a dentist in Klang about a month ago due to this stupid wisdom tooth. Dentist was a friend's recommendation as he happens to be soft-spoken with painless procedures. Unfortunately the clinic is for the rich. After x-ray and consultation, I left with a resolute to visit government clinic instead. Imagine I have to fork out at least RM800 to extract ONE bloody wisdom tooth!!! I was shocked... told the dentist directly I can't afford it. As it is, I'm so broke and he still wanted to suck me dry =.=

As the throbbing pain continued, went to a government clinic in Selangor but it was closed for walk-in, only for those with appointments =.= Found another in KL and it's opened for walk-in... thank goodness! However, another disappointment as after consultation, dentist confirmed it requires minor surgery and can only be done at a hospital. I was flabbergasted! She issued a referral letter and gave me antibiotics to complete as she's worried about infection. Rushed to the hospital as apparently they do not accept walk-in in the afternoon but luckily we managed to consult a dentist. After x-ray, she has the same conclusion and insisted I go for a scaling before the surgery appointment a week later. The best part:
  • hospital don't do it and redirected me to either the same government clinic I went to or to a private clinic
  • government clinic insisted no walk-in for scaling, only by appointment and redirected me back to the hospital or to a private clinic
  • in the end, I had to fork out a chunk at a private clinic near hub's office for scaling, thankfully the dentist was gentle and kind. He also shook his head after hearing me out.
WTF! A total inconvenience for the rakyat! First the run around and then this! This is 1 of the reasons why many preferred to opt for private instead of government clinics. Since we can't afford it, we have to patiently accept this inconvenience. I just don't get it... the clinic would have known this hence the dentist should have done the scaling on the spot but she didn't. She just conveniently turned a blind eye and set a scaling appointment next month. It's like her way of closing the chapter there... very clever. So now, it's an useless appointment for me.

Then D-DAY arrived! I was nervous and anxious, had trouble eating a full breakfast. Well, I was supposed to eat until full, full as advised by dentist and nurse the other day but only managed to swallow a roti telur and iced milo. It was not an easy task with all these mixed feelings, trust me! This time, a male dentist surgeon attended my case. He explained the procedures, pros, cons, etc, also advised that I removed the wisdom tooth at the top since it would be rendered useless after the removal of the bottom one which I reluctantly agreed. As I was so anxious and scared, he even lectured me, that I must be calm or all those anaesthetics would be useless as my brain will be saying otherwise =.= It was nice of him to assure me that it would be painless during the whole procedure. After 25 mins or so, it was all done. Surprisingly, during the surgery, I was calm... kept repeating to myself 'Susan, go to sleep'! LOL! 
Left: brittled bottom tooth Right: useless top tooth
True enough, it was painless although had to endure the rough movements of extracting the teeth but after 3 hours on the dot, the pain slowly but surely shocked me! Thank goodness for the strong pain killers! After swallowing it, the pain dissipate within seconds! FYI, I just needed it for the first day, next day was able to endure without it. I was also grateful that MC given was 3 days... just nice to lay low and recuperate. Honestly, didn't moved much except sleep, watched TV and trying to eat. Every movement felt like eternity LOL! Slow mo but time really flew by and time to head for work.

And then time to remove stitches which was a week after the surgery. Thankfully it healed well... was so worried as I have eczema, so I thought my gum would also suffer the same fate =.= Anyway, FYI, I had to wait for 2 hours to register before heading to the dentist >.< Honestly, it was really an unworthy wait as there weren't people at the dentist. They should separate the queue away from the generals!
Nearly fainted when I saw this!
Overall, I was thankful I could utilize the government clinic and hospital to save some $$$ but having to endure the inconveniences which was part & parcel was not welcomed. They should think of ways to improvise the overall experience, be more efficient and not lackadaisical. This is truly avoidable and not an excuse to mistreat us the poor who can't afford private practitioners. Not forgetting, the dentists and nurses were experienced, even my surgeon was really efficient so I am forever grateful for this good experience in the dentistry thus restoring my faith.

Phew! A long one which I've tried to summarize as much as I can... now rescheduled and waiting for my next scaling appointment in 2015.

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