Diary of Dan

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A dental case and a mental case.

I might not be a warrior, but I know I am one of the worriers!

Given this background (generic though it may be) - you would believe it when I say every morning when I gain consciousness, I do a quick 'environment check' of my teeth apart from brushing them - on the lines of the DEC we guys do at work (Daily environment check done to ensure that all applications we test are indeed working fine that day). So yesterday morning I noticed that a mini-filling done on the inner side of my lower right canine - had - come - off!!!! It had been less than 6 months since it was done, and was done using the 'bonding filling' technique which is supposed to not let it come off! Alas I had praised my dentist a little too much that this filling came undone!

Btw my dentist - whom I really admire, shares his first name with one of my blogger family friends listed here! :)

So.. getting back to the point - I realised I was away from home - Pune - India.. away from my 'dentist'! What was I to do? The most logical step was to get it re-filled from some local dentist. That I'm apprehensive of doctors of all kinds and all nationalities including Indian, did not help me. Also I had this impression of dentists having astronomically high charges. So I asked my ask-all-doubts boss who had already visited a doctor here, about the procedures of visiting a doc - claiming stuff... And was encouraged a little bit. This filling was really a minor one, and I was having no problem apart from getting that feeling that it had to be fixed. But I was into that mood that I should not be sitting and worrying, instead I should be fearlessly visiting a dentist and brushed aside the thought of Ogden Nash's poem.

So I checked the internet for dentists in the locality where I stay. I also remembered this dental clinic I always passed on my way to the station - so while going back home I dutifully stepped in and asked the little receptionist if this dentist did 'fillings' (All people in this country are little). A pretty stupid question, but this guy might be some specialist who would not cater to silly fillings... So I made sure. She replied with a sweet 'yes'. Then I made the essential enquiries, and other non-essential ones, given that I was asking :) (I tend to beat about the bush a lot, and tell stories whole!)

Then I asked her which was the earliest appointment she would give me - and she said the dentist's March diary was totally full! I could only come back in April! And I was like what!!! Then she gave me the happy news that the dentist would see me if I would 'register' and wait for his other appointments of the day to get over. That would mean waiting for anything like 20 mins to 60 mins. I was more than used to such waits, and told her I'd be right back in the clinic after getting my identification number and some cash. Then I called my landlady and checked with her about dentists and got the impression that I had better get the thing done from this dentist closest to home. So I ran home, ran to the ATM and then ran back to the clinic - not strange at all, given that this is a country of joggers.

Miss Receptionist accepted my 'registration' and asked me to sit down on one of the pink chairs in the waiting area. Then I called up my mother and informed her I was calling from a dentist's. She was instantly alarmed, coz I never visit doctors so promptly! She worried that my tooth was so serious that I could not keep away. Then I calmed her down and said maybe it was best that I check what this dentist has to say, maybe get the filling done altogether. She reminded me of asking for the dentist to use sterilised gloves and needles - well :) That is when I realised I didn't even know the dentist's name. I looked at one of the certificates hung on the wall but could not make out the name - it was written in a hopeless cursive style you find on certificates. After some investigation I found out his name - some Dr. Uan Lim Soon. And he had a B.D.S. to his credit, and he was locally educated, and his clinic had the national polyclinics certificate. He was also a 'specialist' - as in he specialised in doing 'dental implants' - he was on the international implantology board or something. So it meant he was a good dentist - he knew his stuff. Also, his clinic had some people waiting, some people coming in to take appointments, some people coming to change their appointments to other dates. Again meaning that he was considered reliable by many people. So I sat down to watch the TV show...

Finally after all the patients were done a masked pink-attired assistant called me in - she actually pronounced my name fine. The dentist then came in from an other room, again with a mask around his neck. He was tall and hefty and old - like he looked fit to pull out any non-cooperative teeth.. with his baaya haanth! I looked around to see where I could deposit my bag and the assistant actually asked me to leave it on the floor! :( Then I opened my mouth to tell my story and Dr. Uan waved me to the dentist's chair in the tiny room. I asked if I should remove my shoes and he said 'don't bother la' - so for the first time in my life I sat on the chair with my shoes on! Then I opened my mouth again to tell my story, I just managed to tell him that I had a cavity I had had filled in Sept, but now it needed re-filing. He toook the chance and thrust a mirror and chisel like probe into my mouth - rendering me unable to speak further.

He began a rapid guessing of what had been done to each of my teeth and his pink clad masked assistant noted down all of it. He spoke about missing teeth and extractions and fillings - as far as I know, I had no teeth 'missing' - whatever was missing was missing owing to orthodontic extractions. He maybe he meant something else. Then I tried to speak again with the mirror still in my mouth - I can be persistent - and he scolded me for interrupting his examination. He said he wanted to be sure he didn't disturb anything else in my mouth. Then he corrected his earlier guesses and asked his pink-clad to correct something he had dictated before. She must have obliged. Then he sat back and announced - Cavity? what cavity? There's no cavity! :) You've got no cavities at all! His eyes became slits with laughter!

I could sense my mercury level rising and quickly steadied myself. Doctor, let me tell you which tooth I mean.. I began. Then I pointed it out - the cavity - on the inner side of my lower right canine! I gave him my orthodontic history in case he wanted to know that I had one - like I told him how the cavity came to be in the first place etc etc.. Then he was like oh! yeah it does indeed look like a cavity.. He had a closer look at it and announced that it would need a bonding type of filling and how much it would cost and stuff. I asked him if he was going to inject me or ask me to take tablets - my precautionary question 1. He laughed again, made eye-slits and said no. I asked him some more questions and we shifted to another room for the procedure. I asked him if the filling was going to come off soon like my previous one and he showed a little indignance. :) I know I can be irksome at times ;)

So this new chair had quite some instruments fitted to it and many hissing noises and 'on', 'off' commands later, the filling procedure was over. Dr. Uan asked me to rinse my mouth and sit up. Then he handed me a mirror and asked me to take a look at the filling - he claimed he had done it beautifully! And then I noticed I couldn't open my jaw! It hurted like hell, and opened my mouth with some effort. Finally I nodded to him and then noticed that I couldn't place my upper molars on my lower molars - a problem I had faced in an earlier dental visit. So I asked this dentist - I'll be able to close my jaw fine after the filling sets, isn't it? And then he began telling me how he had not done anything to my biting surfaces and whatever problem I was facing was not attributable to his filling! I told him - but this problem didn't exist before. Then he became all defensive and said wait, I'll give you proof! He took a picture of the filling and showed it to me on a computer screen, showed me with a dental model, and just refused to listen to me anymore.. I was almost in tears.. He said he could refer me to a 'jaw specialist' if i wanted, and I must have had this jaw problem since my childhood. I thanked him for the filling and made my way out... After another long wait for paying the fees I came out and made my way home. I still couldn't have my molars touch each other and was really worried.

As I reached home and made dinner I cursed myself for going to a dentist so promptly and getting into another problem so easliy. Finally when I began eating and was able to chew fine - I noticed - and hour after the visit to the dentist - that the problem didn't persist! My molars seemed fine! The other tooth that kind of seemed to come in between, seemed to have shifted or something! And boy, was I relieved! I was all joy and thankful! It surely must have been my jaw.. in any case things are fine and this tale can end well.. :)


At 12/3/09 3:12 am, Blogger kau said...

u r a good story teller :P

At 12/3/09 8:31 am, Blogger Daneshia said...

is it? :D

At 4/4/09 11:33 am, Blogger Abinav Kumar said...

Pshaw! No action, tragedy, romance?!

At 5/4/09 4:39 pm, Blogger Daneshia said...

:D cud u not notice the hidden undercurrents of all of those? ;)


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