Tuesday, 17 June 2008


I never practice the ‘every six month visit to the dentist’ because I don’t like the dentist.

I hate the dentist. I’m afraid of the drill.

Perhaps it was the numerous fillings I had at a young age. So much metal in my mouth that once Suemae said that ‘it might trigger the metal detector’. Still, I do not take heed of that advice.

Then, there was that RM400 smile. I think it was for polishing and scaling. Mom moaned a lot after that because I spent so much on one trip. And I had that tag above my head. I think I saved the receipt, somewhere in my past.

When I was in primary school, you get a yearly check up by the dental nurse. Oh how I dread those time. I feel as if they were out to get me. There seems to be something or some work to be carried out. Oh yes, I’m convinced that they gave me fillings just for the thrill of it.


To cut the long story short, I finally registered and made an appointment with a dental practice who does NHS and private treatments.

My first visit was about two weeks ago. I had a quick dental check and x-rays for my molars just to check if they are decaying inside. Mr. Dentist (not Dr. as it was shown on my treatment sheet) advised that I needed fillings done to the front of my teeth, two fillings.

Other than that my teeth looked well overall, very pleased with myself. The toothache that I had a while back was just my wisdom tooth growing through the gum (but he said it with some bombastic words that I had to clarify with him after that just to make sure we were on same wavelength).

An appointment was made to see the Dental Hygienist, fillings and to discuss the result of the x-rays.


Today was my second trip to the dentist.

First I went to see Ms. Hygienist. She was a very nice and kind lady. Even advised and showed me how to brush my teeth properly. She carried out scaling and polishing and prepped my teeth for Mr. Dentist.

TOH later said for the amount of money I’m paying, of course she was nice. More on that later.

Anyways, the appointment with Ms. Hygienist was quite interesting because you get to wear a bib and protective glasses. Hmmm...

As much as I kinda enjoyed the experience, I was dreading the drill for the fillings.

Once my teeth have been polished and scaled, I went on to the next consultation room to see Mr. Dentist.


Compared to the earlier more relaxed room, Ms. Dental Assistant was not helping the atmosphere by making lots of banging and slamming sound in the room.

This time I wore a pair of ‘sunglasses’ and a bib. Honestly, don't remember wearing a bib in my past dental expriences. So professional. So impressed. So dreading.

Mr. Dentist showed me my x-ray and said that I will need work done in four of my molars.

Great just great. -__-

Today two in the front and another two more appointments for the rest.

That means more drill. That means more pain.


And that means more money out of my pocket.

More sighs.

Anyways, Mr. Dentist said that he will be proceeding with injecting anaesthetic onto my gums to numb the area before the fillings on the two front teeth.

Anaesthetic?! O.o?!

The only time I get an anaesthetic was if I getting my tooth extracted.

I said I’ll give it a try. After all, I’m paying for it.

After I had the anaesthetic injected to my gums, the right front part of my face started becoming numb, all the way up my nose! OMG, it was such a weird sensation.

Once ready, Ms. Dental Assistant made herself useful. She had this wee vacuum in my mouth to vacuum as Mr. Dentist works.

Very interesting.

Don’t remember having a fancy vacuum in any of my dental visits before. This vacuum is different from the typical one because in the old fashion way, you prolly have this hook-on vacuum, not a very nice sight, but you still have to get up to rinse and spit, very often. Now, that action has been minimised.


Speaking about sit up to rinse and spit, I find it rather interesting that when I get up to rinse/spit, Ms. Hygienist/Mr. Dentist will straighten up the seat and then lower it again. Every time!

Service? Hmmm...?


Then the dreadful thing commenced, the drilling. It wasn’t that bad I guess. I was too busy squirming from the drilling sound and more busy wondering if my face looked weird from the anaesthetic.

Oh, before Mr. Dentist started his work, we had a chat about the works on the molars. He did provided a couple of options to me, NHS provides metal fillings for about £12-£15 each or the private white fillings for about £50 each.

I said I’m not that fuss. But actually I was thinking, ‘goodness more money!’

So halfway through the cleaning and drilling I had to stop Mr. Dentist.
ennazus: See the metal and white filling you were talking about earlier...
Mr. Dentist: Yes.
ennazus: That’s not for today right? That’s for the molars isn’t it? And you will be giving me white fillings for my front teeth today, right?
Mr. Dentist: Yup.
ennazus: Just to make sure that I’m not the crazy one who say ‘whatever fillings to my front teeth’.

Honestly. I kinda freaked out there.


Before I realised it, the two very small fillings had been done and Ms. Dental Assistant was pointing this blue light at my teeth, which I presumed it was some UV light. Which I presumed it was used to speed up the drying and setting of the filling.

Which again, I find it all interesting.


Painless work and no metal feeling and no you-have-to-wait-for-donno-how-long-before-you-can-use-that-part-of-your-teeth advice. I would have liked the dentist then.

Anyways, the UV light story...

It is at this time you look up to see Mr. Dentist and Ms. Dental Assistant look away while waiting for the beeping sound (of the UV wand) to prolly indicate that the right dose or time has passed. I guess that’s why the ‘sunglasses’ was provided.

See, one thing I really can’t stand is that they don’t explain everything.

Like what the ‘sunglasses’ was for. Or like it is not that harmful. Or that the ‘sunglasses’ will protect my eyes. Or that I don't have to wonder or even worry.

Just like the earlier visit when I had the x-ray. I was asked to open wide, Mr. Dentist put in the x-ray film into the back of my left mouth, asked me to chew on it, aim the x-ray machine at the spot, and then walk out of the room, close the door, open the door and then come in again to do the same to the right side.

Now, what was that all about? No explanation nothing. Such a weird experience. I don’t even know what to do. So I closed my already damaged eyes. I don’t need it to be damaged further, not that I’m not doing enough on it already.


The next thing I know, it was all done. I wanted to ask Mr. Dentist something but forgotten because I was too engrossed thinking about my next pain or painless session and the hole in my pocket that seem to be getting bigger with every visit.

He advised that the numbness will go away in two hours time.

I wonder how weird I’m looking. Up until now I haven't been showed a mirror. I guess it’s different when you were a kid, the dentist will let you hold a mirror to see the work being carried out. Perhaps it was one of those ‘how things work’ experience.


Anyways, how could one forget about the money?

When I first made the appointment to register and go for my initial check up, I had to provide a £10 deposit over the phone. Fine.

I thought maybe it’s their way of making sure you don’t miss your appointment.

After the first visit, I was told to pay £4 plus for my x-rays.

Hang on a second. The reason I went for NHS so that I don’t have to pay or pay minimum.

Then I was told that the estimates for the treatment is £53 plus. What?!

And I had to pay another £10 deposit plus that £4 plus. What?! again.

£4 was the outstanding charge for the day's treatment and the £53 was the whole course of treatment. Apparently, this includes the two x-rays, fillings for my two front teeth, and hygienist appointment and check up.

The only thing that was free or covered totally by the NHS was the check up.

Great. £53 already in one visit.

Fifty odd quid for treatment I haven’t done in years, it’s not too bad I justified to myself.

And that £20 deposit will go towards my next appointment. Very clever man, these people. I also thought it was a good idea so that I won’t have to pay lump sum as I’ve already put in some money towards it.


But then today, the bill has come up to £107 plus!


Apparently this includes the four fillings to the molars, in my next couple of appointments.



Paid for the day's treatment and still have another £30 plus to pay when I come in next time. I just hope they won’t find anymore reasons to work on my teeth.


Times are really changing.

Obviously there has been technological advancement.

Obviously it has been ages since my last dental visit.

Obviously we are getting older.

In the UK, I believe they are moving away from mercury fillings because of the apparent danger and more importantly it is un-environmental friendly for disposal. You know those ‘un-green’ or ‘unsustainable’ buzz words.


Gone were the days that Dentist Lee had to put the filling capsule into this machine with dials to have the mercury filling capsules ‘mixed’ about (I think). And then he will put the mixture on this 'plate' and use a syringe like thing to inject the fillings.

Gone were the going up the dark-ish stairs to ring the bell or rap on the dental practice's grille as it prolly wasn’t the safest area around. Or even walking to the back of the dental practice in the dark to the toilets.

Gone were the times that we will walk about Dentist Lee’s consultation room while one of us sisters or our parents had their dental treatment.

And as much as I hated going to the dentist, Dentist Lee’s place was this very minimal decorated place. Just concrete floor, some old dental posters - one of them will at least have an animation of a tooth or Captain toothpaste or something along that line, some boring 1970s/80s sofa, and that coffee table/rack filled with magazines, on the front page woman with big hair and bright make up.

Those were the days when we will go open the drawers of Dentist Lee’s patients’ records, not that we know what it was all about. To us, it was just the kaleidoscope of colours on those manila cards that held our attention. Or rather the action of opening and closing the drawers. Very mindless. Or just sitting in the reception swivel chair.

We were kids anyways. We were easily entertained. We were bored.


And every time after the dental appointment we will go to the bakery next door, Twinkles, to buy cakes, to smell the freshly baked cakes and breads.

That, is the highlight of the trip.

That, is the only thing that made going to see Dentist Lee a bit more bearable.

That, I’m sure wasn’t the best of ideas. Cake = sugar.

But I’m sure my parents knew it would please us.

And so we look forward to the next trip. Sort of.


As for now, I just had a look at my newly polished and scaled pearlies. Man, do they look good!

So shiny! So happy!

Too bad I forgotten to take a pic of my before and after procedure. I think it wasn’t that obvious anyway, or maybe not.

I didn't want to eat anything or drink anything to stain it, to take away its shine, to damage this so called perfection.

Looking forward to that weird numbness sensation in two weeks time? I really wonder...

1 comment:

Su Anne said...

Yea!!! those trips to Dr. Lee... Hahahaha... i hate going to the toilet, cos its so dark and the distance to walk there is so faaarrr... and i remembered we became his 'nurse' or receptionist... hehehe... since no one's there and we were bored... can play!!!