Wednesday 2 February 2011

The Necessary Evil

Do you recognise this famous walkway that is always used as the location for shooting hospital scenes in Mediacorp TV dramas?


Well it's actually not a hospital per se but a bridge on the second floor that links the Health Promotion Board (HPB) building on the left to the National Dental Centre (NDC) on the right. Many people (even cabbies) also do not realise that the HPB building actually houses the Outram Polyclinic at the 2nd floor as well.

And so it was on the 1st day of Feb, the baby and I made our way to this place for our visits to the doctors. Yup 'our'. Mother-in-law took baby to the left, to the left, for her usual vaccination and I went to the right for my dental appointment.

It was a day of dread for both of us. Well baby didn't know, but when she slowly realised what was happening, the dread spread across her face like wild fire.

It is like what I always say, a necessary evil. You hate it but you still gotta grit your teeth and do it for your own damn good. Much like labour, come to think about it.

Back to my baby's vaccination. The moment she was positioned in the grandma-holds-leg-real-tight-with-fleshy-thighs-exposed-to-nice-lady-with-long-transparent-stick pose, she started struggling and yelling. "Get me out of here mummy, pleaaaseee!" was what I think she said. Then she looked at me with the most pitiful eyes I have ever seen.

I chanted under my breath, "necessary evil, necessary evil..."

Then it was my turn to see the dentist for the 2nd time since I took off my braces way back in 2003. The 1st was 3 weeks after I gave birth. My concerned mother was worried for me and the condition of my bad gums. She insisted that both the sister and I visit the dentist asap. She even made the appointment for us so we had absolutely no excuse whatsoever.

I had been postponing it for the last 7 years. From as young as I can remember (which is really young) I HATE going to the dentist. They prod and poke and nag about how you have to brush after every meal (and I eat like 5 times a day, which meant brushing 7 times a day - seemed ridiculous to me!) Anyway, I had this warp idea that bad gums was inherited and there was nothing I could do about it.

But something about giving birth and being a mother that changed my whole outlook to dentistry. During my visit to the dentist, they warned me that if I don't start flossing, I'm going to lose my teeth. I don't know why, but this time I took it very seriously. For the first time in my life (and I kid you not) I started flossing every night before I sleep. I think maybe it's the mother instinct kicking in. You know the familiar, "it's ok if I die, but now that I have a baby I cannot die cos she needs me" instinct.

So anyway my gum problem was real serious. It was way more serious than the common Gingivitis. I had something called Periodontitis, which meant the accumulation of plaque and bacteria has caused the gums to be inflammed and the bone that holds my teeth to literally disintegrate.


Healthy gums are not supposed to 'peel' away from the tooth, so there should NOT be a pocket (seen in the picture above). At the most the pocket should only be 3mm deep but some of mine were 6-7mm deep. Yup, it's bad.

So anyway, the dentist recommended me for deep cleaning and surgery, which entails pulling back the gums and thoroughly cleaning the teeth on the inside and then patching the gums back (under anesthesia of course!). She also said I may have to have surgery to replace some of the bone that was loss too. After all the treatment, I should be able to get a nice set of gums, for the first time in my life actually. Haha.

Will let you know how it all goes in June this year (which is my next earliest appointment).

So to make sure baby J does NOT have to go through the same thing I now have to go through, I already found her a dentist and will start bringing her to see him when she turns 1 years old =). Better to be safe than sorry like me.

If you're not visiting your dentist regularly, you seriously should. Don't say I didn't warn you =)
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