I’m proud to say that I never had to wear braces, retainers or even dentures.
Well, I might have to wear dentures eventually but I have a well-shaped and healthy set of teeth. I had to undergo two dental surgeries for two impacted third molars–the other one was in the upper set! Gosh! The agony of it! I still have two more that need to be “excavated” and pulled out–hello Dalacin and Mesulid! I miss you two! The first two were literally excavated. Extracted would be too mild a word for what was done to my wild teeth–my dentist told me one was even deformed and looked like the tree near Hogwarts. I had an RCT (Root Canal Treatment/Therapy) for one of my second molars because I love my teeth and I don’t like losing them–um, I don’t believe in euthanasia when it comes to my chewers.
Anyway, I think the RCT will have to be redone because I have a bad feeling that it wasn’t done that well. What can I say, I was a poor student in Metro Manila and the best cheap ortho that I could find was that lady dentist somewhere near UP-PGH because I didn’t have the patience to wait in line for PGH dentists–believe me, at 7 in the morning, the lines are already a mile-long! The dentists in the Diliman infirmary do not do RCTs there and they charge sky-high in their private clinics. Hello, Manila rates? Besides, it was done over five years ago. It’s about time the time capsule gets out of the earth. LOL.
I’m sure not so many people even know about RCT or what it is or what impacted third molars are because for most patients, the answer to an aching tooth is an extraction, and the only time to visit a dentist is when the tooth hurts real bad and a thread can’t do the trick.
I thought about writing about my teeth issues and of those people that I know because of this blog entry. I remember my landlady in Cebu who perennially gets mouth sores and lesions because of her cheeck teeth. I learned about the relation of misaligned cheek teeth from my dentist and I asked my landlady if that was the cause of her constant mouth probs. And after over four years of my stay in that place, I learned that her problem could have been solved easily had she done what her dentist told year over 20 years ago but it’s too expensive so what she has chosen to do is just apply that cream that she gets from her dentist anyway.
We Filipinos have a way of taking care about ourselves–I should know. I refuse to quit smoking–well, not until I’m 30 and I still have 3 more years. 😀 You know how we Filipinos are? Remember the expression, malayo sa bituka? And our penchant for disregarding any discomfort–basta makatindog pa, ok pa na!
No wonder Dentistry has become a not-so-lucrative field nowadays, especially in this part of the world. But then again it all boils down to our country’s culture and economy. You see, foreigners, ok, let’s take Americans for example. I don’t want to generalize because I only base this to six Americans that I personally (meaning I have really seen in person, people! Being an online goddess, I have to make that clear. :D) know although all of them agree on one thing–I am weird because I bring a toothbrush to work so I can brush my teeth after lunch. They don’t. Yeah, brushing twice a day is ok. But for them six, once a day will do. Two is also fine but three? Excessive.
The thing is, they can afford to be carefree about it. Going to the dentist isn’t really as traumatic for them as it was for most of us. Traumatic being, painful, expensive and expensive and expensive. Most foreign countries have really good medical, inclusive of dental, coverage so when they get hurt, they don’t have to worry that much. If you’ve seen Sicko, you’ll think what I’m saying is bull. But if you compare their medical benefits to ours, you’ll agree with me when I say that theirs is almost heaven. My take here, this problem is more of economical than cultural. That’s why it’s really sad
Besides, no offense to the really good dentists in the area, like my new online friend, there aren’t that many good dentists hereabouts. From where I grew up, I could count with one hand the really well-known dentists when I was in my toddler years. The first one was a character who must have played a huge part in the childhood years of almost all those who grew up in our town in the 70s and 80s. I remember laughing to stories about my brother playing tag with the dentist, his assistant, my father and someone else before he was practically held down to the dentist’s chair, which was, by the way, just another office chair. And then came the cold steel injection…and then the PLIERS! Ok, I’m exaggerating, as I have comfortably become accustomed to these days, but I know the cold steel injection because I had been to his clinic before. The first time I had a Pap Smear, I remembered my first trip to the dentist because the feel of that cold steel thing being slowly inserted to me and then slowly twisted–you get the picture!–was really reminiscent of those cold things that they inserted in my mouth when I was but a kid. The second dentist, who happened to be a public school dentist, was anything but sanitary. Ok–she was DIRTY! And she became a major figure in urban legends here and there. Well, I must admit, I judged her by her looks. Correct me if I’m mistaken but how would you describe someone whose hair was unkempt and smelled like hay examined my teeth while we were standing up because that amazing chair didn’t work anymore? She was also wearing her farming boots. And we were standing right by the kitchen door near the sacks of palay were dried. Tell me, is that sanitary? And the local grapevine spewed tales of her being into Satanism. Oh, how the kids feared her! I think that was sometime between 1987-1990? I’m not really sure, but the infamous cult gained notoriety around that time with wild rumors linking it to some symbols and products. But my parents knew that dentist and we were neighbors so we never really believed it. But still!!! I remember using the thread to pull my teeth after that fateful visit to her “clinic”. I’d rather do it myself. There was another one–he was my favorite. The smell of Johnson’s Band-aid Isopropyl Alcohol reminds me of him because his tools were always clean and he always smelled clean. I think somehow that triggered the OC in me. I can’t live without an isopropyl alcohol–nope, ethyl won’t do. Anyway, years later, he was rumored to be hugely drug dependent–it seemed like something that dentists in our area got hooked into then–and I didn’t wanna take a risk in having my tongue pulled out instead of my teeth. Good thing I was already about to go to college then. When I was a kid, I told my mom then that I had to see the dentist every six months because I read in one of my textbooks that that’s what should be done! And since then, I never had any major problems with my teeth. Except for those force majeure like those stupid wisdom teeth! I still have a few teeth issues that need to be addressed because they MUST be. I have one molar that has been leaning heavily on one cuspid (I always confuse the cuspids with the bicuspids, doc, unsay tawag sa tapad sa first molar nga di second molar? hehe). Because of this, my gum hurts every now and then because everytime I chew, the leaning bully tooth pounds on the hapless leaned on tooth. And of course, there are still two more wisdom teeth that need to be removed. God! I was born with four crazy not-so-wise teeth! I mean, what wise tooth would want to grow inwards when all the rest grew outwards! And to think they’re the last to really grow! You’d think they’ve learned from those that came out before them! Jeez! Now I remember my niece. My sister has overdone the dental care of her kids. I’m not sure what happened but because my niece’s milk teeth were still there when the permanent teeth were supposed to take centerstage, they had to do major milk teeth removal or whatever they’re called. Sigh! I remember pushing my gums with my tongue and massaging them with that ultra-powerful muscle, because my mom told me so. I don’t know where she got it or if it had any medical basis but I think that’s the reason why I never had any sungki or even misaligned teeth. But I’m still eyeing Zoom because I smoke big time and my dentist always curses me behind his mask everytime he cleans my teeth because of those stains. He said using Zoom would not be practical if I don’t quit smoking. So what’s the verdict? Hmmm…But as they always say, prevention is better than cure and if you have second thoughts about seeing your dentist anytime soon, think of the last time that you had a toothache and how it ruined not just your meal but your whole day. Now, think again.