Sunday, 16 January 2011

Bye bye wisdom! Hi hi dentist!

Egyptian pharaoh, Ramesses the Great died at 90. It was later discovered that Ramesses had severe dental problems, so serious that it could have led to an infection enough to claim his life. During Ramesses's time, dentistry was still unknown. I feel sorry for the unimaginable pain the great pharaoh must have suffered in his later years due to his dental conditions and that he had to live so long while bearing the pain. I wonder how he slept. I was completed defeated by a decaying wisdom tooth just after 3 sleepless nights.

Since my childhood days, I have been extremely afraid of dental procedures as I had a trauma involving the dentist when I was younger. The dental nurse at my primary school was most unsympathetic and insensitive. Not only did she pass contemptuous remarks, my gums were painful and often bleeding profusely during each treatment, as if red was the natural colour of my saliva. To me, one of the happiest thing about leaving school was that I no longer had to undergo mandatory dental treatment arranged by the school.

If the pain was less than excruciating I would not have visited the dentist after not having done so for almost 2 decades. Last Saturday, I turned up at the dental clinic feeling apologetic and remorseful. It often takes one to have gone through an ordeal before feeling sorry not to have gotten the fundamentals correct right from the start. Fortunately, the dentist and dental nurse were most forgiving. They were only interested in alleviating my pain and not criticism. Whether it is the advancement of dentistry techniques or customer service from paying premium prices, I felt safe and unintimidated as I received the dental treatment. I could not have imagine tooth extraction to be painless, but it was. And I did not see a single trace of blood during and after the procedures, not even a blood soaked cotton wool or gauze pad. If I had not been given my extracted tooth as a "souvenir", I would not even believe that it was done.

Now that I have had my wisdom tooth extracted, I feel liberated. Not just from the throbbing pain that had kept me awake for many nights, but from being a coward that I was for decades, after having overcome my phobia of dental treatment. I have still to attend several follow-up sessions with the dentist after this but I am feeling good about it!

Bye bye wisdom