Monday, March 6, 2017

The not-so-wise tooth


People call the human third molar as the wisdom tooth.
It really is, a misnomer - as it is no wiser than my other teeth.
In fact, I think it is even more brainless than the others.
Why bother come out when you don't have space to - and make my life miserable past 5 yrs and now worse past one week.

So I had this wisdom tooth that started to appear some time before I continued my degree in the UK.
In UK, I think it was infected TWICE - within 3 years time.
I THINK it was infected, because I did not go to see any dentist there.
You see, somehow dental health is not included in the NHS free service (at least that's what people tell me)
Hence each visit to the dentist will cost about £20 - 30 - and thats more than RM100 - for a simple check-up, excluding the procedures or medication.
Thus I kept the pain to myself, gobbled down Paracetamol and it went away.
The first summer break in Malaysia, I skipped going to the dentist.
When the infection happened the 2nd time in the UK, I swore to myself that I will make it a point to visit the dentist in Malaysia when I get home.
And I did.
I just can't remember what the dentist did. I think she gave me an appointment date that I was not able to keep.

And then it wasn't so painful anymore.
Only some time it started throbbing and will usually go away after I brush my teeth so hard that my gum bled.
Then during my houseman year, it got infected again.
Not having time nor the luxury to go to the dentist, I kept the pain to myself again.
Earlier this year, it got infected again.
It was so painful and I was blessed to meet this one nice senior dentist in the hospital, that I asked for her help. She asked me to come to the clinic any time I can make it.

The first time I went, she said my wisdom tooth was impacted and inflammed.
But not infected - hence she prescribed me only Clorhexidine mouthwash - no antibiotics.
She also kindly asked her junior to do scaling for me. My God, it was soo "ngilu".
And then she asked me to come when it is not painful anymore.
I felt like crying - how can the pain go away if you are giving me only mouthwash?
I felt the pain was different from the pain I had before.

But it did went away.
One week later, I showed up again at her clinic.
She had another quick look and asked me to set an appointment with the dental asssistant, at a time convenient for me.
She will have to extract the tooth, if it is a simple procedure, I will get a 1 day MC.
If it's a complicated one, I'll need 3 days MC, as it will my face bengkak.

So I had to postpone the procedure until I completed my housemanship.
I won't be able to get a 3 day MC during my housemanship - it is just difficult.

So, I had the extraction done last Monday 27.2.17
She had a look and was saying things like "opening flaps", "making incisions", "gutters" and stuff - and she looked at me like I understood what she was saying. Oh come on, I'm a medical doctor, not a dentist.
I know what those words mean but I can't imagine the procedure.
But anyway, I simply nodded.
I felt so much in debt with her - and she's so nice that I do not wish to trouble her.

The extraction itself was horrific.
It wasn't painful but the sounds of the machine all scared me.
She was being very considerate and kept asking if I was in pain.
She injected a very generous amount of local anaesthesia that I didn't feel any pain at all - just some pressure.
But it turns out that my not-so-wise tooth was very big and angled in such a way that she can't simply pull it out even after cutting the gum open, making a flap and gutter and what not that I heard her saying to her junior while exploring in my oral cavity while I quietly trembled in fear.

She had to call the Oral Surgeon to come and help but the surgeon was preoccupied at that time.
When you're in this line long enough, you know that when people started seeking help, things are not going as smooth as you hoped. Well, not to scare you lot but it's the truth.
Be reminded though, informing the superior and asking for help from the superior are two different things.

In the end, she had to break my tooth before pulling it out.
Sounds gory eh?
Imagine hearing the grinding machine, working it's way in your mouth.
And my jaw was so tired of keeping my mouth open, I wished someone can just help hold my jaws open. The bigger the better - clearer field for the dentist.

So after pulling the little demon out, she had to suture the flaps back.
And I got a 3 day MC.
My appointment was at 9.30am - post breakfast.
I finished everything - including taking the meds from the pharmacy at about 1pm.
And I went straight home and sleep.
It got so painful as the local anaesthesia effect is slowly fading.
And the oral painkiller needed time to take effect.
I skipped lunch and by the time Akmal comes home that night, I was famished.

The next day, I had porridge for all my 3 meals and I was so much on top of the pain.
I took painkiller on time, and ate only soft food.
I was so pain-free and was certain can do the procedure again, if needed.
On my last day of MC, I started eating macaroni, and all was well.

Only on Thursday, the first day I started working - that the pain kicked in like crazy.
I was so much in pain I felt like crying all the time.
The throbbing pain comes and go.
When it comes, I felt like punching my face hard, right on the spot near my jaw where the tooth was so that it get numb.
I practically lived off Paracetamol, Ponstan and Ibuprofen on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I asked Akmal to have a look at it a few times, and I made him explore around using a cotton bud which I really regretted after that as it worsen the pain and I had to push my cheek on my palm so hard against my pillow to sleep that night.
Last night it was unbearably painful that I had to skip dinner (but I had Manhattan Fish Market for lunch haaaaaa haaaa 😂😂 ).

And today was my appointment day to remove the sutures.
The day I've been waiting for since Thursday.
I did not want to go earlier since I did not want to be a burden.
I have used my privilege as a doctor enough, going straight to the clinic without having a proper referral letters and being able to call the clinic and change appointment dates to suit my schedule, and even had all the staff in the clinic calling me "Doctor" as I pass by - "Doktor, kumur mulut sini" / "Doktor, sakit lagi tak?" etc etc
I didn't want to be a crybaby hence I waited for this day.

And it turns out, the gutter, or the socket where my tooth sat was very deep.
And I had food particles stuck there.
And bacteria were happily feasting on them - hence the pain.
The dentist flushed the socket using syringe and taught me how to do it myself.
And they found some small pieces of broccoli in there (I was so embarrassed at that time - I had it during lunch ytd) 😳 😳 😳 😳
"Doktor makan broccoli yeeee" - said the dental assistant.
Hilang ayu oi.
But I did really gargle as hard, if I can describe it that way, as I can after every meal.

Anyway, now the pain is improving although it is still there.
If anyone were to slap my face now, I'll throw that person out of the window for the pain of the slap will cause more than skin damage to me.

Okay, that's enough for now.
I hope when I re-read this post in a year time, I will remember how painful it was.

And see, I wrote a 1000 words essay on "Removing My Teeth"
Hope this didn't bore you!

p/s: I know the wisdom tooth and the wise tooth ARE different.

-Because life is a test-

There. The size comparison of my teeth vs left index finger


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