Bruce Lee the Dentist

A while ago, I wrote about my dental woes (See “Horror at the Dental Clinic”).

The pain subsided, though it lingered on for days and days. However, just last Friday, it came back with a vengeance, with the pain increasing with each and every passing day. Yesterday was just a nightmare. My lower right jaw was on fire! It was such an intense burning sensation. I was amazing I could sleep in the end.

Well, at my brother’s and his wife’s suggestion, I decided to visit their dentist, who so happens to be named, BRUCE LEE!

I’m just so amused by the name. I joked with my friends about how he’d kung-fu the ache out of my tooth!

Anyway… Only after making an appointment did I discover how posh and (possibly) expensive the dental clinic was. I had no idea what their rates were, but I figured that it was going to be a lot better than going to cheap dental clinics like the the one I went previously.

Although I’m in my mid-twenties, I’ve had a few experiences with the medical scene which has taught me many lessons. Unfortunately, the words, “government” or “cheap” will more or less result in a very traumatic experience, over-worked (or just ignorant or lazy) doctors who insist that there’s nothing wrong with you, or nurses who will kill you by mishandling (according to one friend, his grandmother died while the nurses from a public hospital carried her in a very rough manner – she was admitted for a non-terminal/major incident and death was certainly not expected from it).

Many years ago, I checked myself into the nearest government hospital in the middle of the night because I had severe stomach pains. All they did was to put me on a drip, and I was left lying on a stretcher for hours in agony. After throwing up a few times, the pain subsided a little. The doctor said I was totally fine, and discharged me. Though I was given a day off, I was not properly diagnosed. The pains came back again a few hours later, and at the recommendation of my brother, I went to a private hospital, and things started getting better – a whole lot better! The doctors took stool and blood samples for testing. The environment itself was a complete opposite as compared to the government hospital – it was pleasant. It made it easier for recovery. The diagnosis – simple food poisoning! How hard was it to diagnose this? I was quite annoyed that the hospital I went to before that couldn’t even diagnose that. The bill was a huge shock, but thankfully I had enough money in my Medisave account to pay for it. Sure, it was costly, but at least they really cared and did the necessary testing. It was certainly an environment where you could recover peacefully.

I have many more horror stories from government hospitals and cheap clinics, but I won’t go into them (for now). But basically, my experience in those places have always been traumatic. Sometimes, if one really wants to recover without the trauma of negligence, or from professionals who don’t  do their work well, or a stressful environment, it’s really worth paying such a high price.

Anyway, I digressed. Back to the point. Though I discovered that it was going to be an expensive place, I figured from past experience that it’s definitely going to be worth the money. There’s going to be people who take pride in their work, and get things done. The last thing I want is to waste money at another cheap dentist only to hear him say: “Your teeth and gums look really great! There’s nothing wrong with you. Would you like me to try [expensive treatment A that won’t solve your problems but make me rich anyway] ? Don’t worry, if that doesn’t work, you can come back again [so that we can try yet another expensive treatment to suck more money out of you since we charge very low consultation fees].” Comments in the square brackets are probably what’s going on in their minds.

My appointment was at 8.45am this morning. I went up and was greeted by a lady with a beautiful smile. I told her that I was new here. She told me not to worry, and directed me to the patient waiting room while she prepared some forms to be completed. Would you believe that this is a patient waiting room?

img_3449

img_3450

There are even bottles of wine and an espresso machine for you, while you wait! My (aching) jaw dropped in amazement!

Not too long after filling in the necessary paperwork, the same lady escorted me down the corridor (behind the glass, in the picture below).

img_3451

Amazing! The rooms on the left are the dentists’ personal work room. It was so beautiful. Before I could whip out my camera, I was asked to sit on the dental chair and wait.

This is where the experience gets even better! Next, the dental assistant put a bib around my neck, and handed me a pair of protective glasses that looks a lot like expensive sunglasses. Before long, the dentist who bears the same name as the famous kung-fu guy shows up. Haha… I was expecting him to look a bit like the kung-fu Bruce Lee, but he didn’t.

I told him about my toothache problem, and had him examine my mouth. With just ONE look, he saw a crack in my lower right molar. I had a hunch that this was the problem. The previous cheapo dentist insisted that there was no crack at all. I’m glad I came here today.

Immediately, Bruce Lee swung down a mini x-ray machine and scanned my mouth. The x-ray revealed an infection (build up of pus in the tooth) and possibly dead nerves in my molar. Just to be sure, he sent me to another x-ray room nearby for a higher resolution scan. The machine was super high-tech! The machine started, and it told me how long the scan was going to take – ten seconds. While the scan was taking place, the machine started playing ten seconds of classical music. Haha… That was quite amusing.

The high resolution scan helped to confirm Bruce Lee’s diagnosis. Next, he proposed a solution: “I will do a root canal. This will involve removing the infection inside the gums and the cracked molar, followed by a removal of the dead nerves in the molar.”

To which I replied, “Ouch. That sounds very painful.”

Bruce Lee’s response was amusing, but true: “You’re in pain anyway. It makes no difference.”

Haha… True, true. I had nothing to say after that but to accept the proposal. What was awesome about him was this: Before the procedure started, he asked if I had an iPod or iPhone that I could listen to while the procedure was taking place. Oh my goodness! This guy read my mind! While walking there, I was thinking about that. It would be really awesome to have some musical distraction, otherwise it’d just be terribly agonising lying there, hearing the drills and all kinds of scary noises. I plugged in, closed my eyes, and focused on the music. It’s a good thing I recently gotten my hands on several albums that were specially designed to improve one’s mood. It allowed me to have a slight smile on my face while my mouth was being operated upon. Even with local anesthesia, I could feel some pain – but it was not as traumatising or as painful as the previous cheapo dentist I went to, thankfully!

30 minutes later, the procedure was done. And he had photos to show!

img_3455

Oh my goodness… That looks quite scary. I didn’t expect such a big hole to be drilled into my molar. But yeah… He had to do it to remove the dead nerves – nerves that have been destroyed because of the infection.

You see the mouse cursor? Bruce Lee was pointing to the remnants of where the crack in the molar was.

At this point, you’re probably wondering – how do you get a crack in the molar? Well, I got mine from eating. Food and I don’t get along well. In the past, I’ve had food poisoning and a fish bone stuck in the throat (which required me to see a doctor for removal). I know why this crack came about. For some unlucky reason, there’s been many instances where there was a small bone fragment in my food, and I end up biting on the bone fragment with a lot of force, on the same molar! Ouch. Yeah… That’s how the molar cracked.

Anyway, I was in a lot of pain when the anesthesia wore off, but I’m so glad I’ve been given some painkillers and antibiotics (for the infection).

img_3456

Look at that! His name is really Bruce Lee! I kid you not!

Oh well, it’s just the beginning. I have another two more appointments to complete the recovery procedure.

I’m so glad I went to him, instead of finding some cheapo dentist.