It all started with a bloody stone in the spinach lunch that I took at an Indian restaurant in Taman Tun. It cracked one of the upper molars & left me cursing and swearing. This of course merits a trip to one of our regular dentists in SS2 PJ.
After an hour’s wait in a less than comfortable waiting lounge …. my turn finally came and guess what? The dentist took a look at it and told me this …. “I think you’ve got to learn to live with a chip in your tooth?”. “Huh????” was my response. “What the F***!” was my mind’s response. I waited an hour to hear that???????????? I persisted with a “But why?” . “From my experience, it’s better to leave it alone. The chip is small and if I wanted to fill it, I’d have to drill a bigger hole and this means your tooth will be rendered unstable….You’d need a crown if you insist on it being filled ….it won’t last long on a normal filling…blah blah blah”. My mind had switched off – I WAS NOT GOING TO PAY FOR A CROWN FOR A LOUSY CHIPPED TOOTH!!!! FULLSTOP.
“It’s OK, doctor. I’ll learn to live with it!”. Out I went.
Two days later, I find out the painful way, I don’t want to live with a chip in my tooth. My tooth hurt when I ate, it hurt when I brushed, it hurt when I drank…………………. Sucks. I should have gone against the doctor’s ‘experienced’ advice and insisted on a filling to spare myself further inconvenience ………………
So I went to the dentist, again. A different one this time. I decided to be adventurous and go off the beaten track and try a new doctor out, nearby our house.
A marked change. The whole waiting lounge area seemed carefully thought out….
It was like being in someone’s living room. It had a reception table facing the doorway & that was practically the only thing officious about this space. There was a cozy lounge area which was furnished with a 2 + 3 seater. A coffee table lay in the middle. There were shelves displaying books, magazines & even dental products that you could browse through.
To the left of the sitting area was a little tented play space for children. This space was boxed in by comfy vibrantly coloured IKEA lazy chairs ideal for parents to monitor their kiddoes in. In my case, ideal for settling down with a book in hand.
Beyond this space, was a brightly lit area furnished with a small rectangle table complete with wooden chairs all round – perfect for patients who wish to work while waiting. A young lady was actually catching up with her homework while waiting for the dentist, when I was there.
The walls were a soft orange with a stencilled chair rail. There was a lovely oil painting of two kebaya clad nyonya ladies. There were also framed antique ornaments adorning the walls. Quite a visual feast actually. To top this off, soft instrumental music filled the air creating a calming, homy atmosphere … perfect for taking your mind off the wait and the imminent walk into the dentist’s room …. where the drills await!
Soon, my name was called……The doctor was young and pint sized. Hmmm… this is going to be interesting. I have never encountered such a young dentist ever. Was I in good hands?
Well, we went through the whole rigamarole of “What’s the problem? – My tooth cracked – Can you fill it up, it hurts when I eat, drink, etc…” “No worries, small patch job will solve the problem…”! Yippee, he’s willing to patch a small hole up without making it bigger!
So I braced myself for the SUCTION – DRILL – WASH – SUCTION – 1st PATCH – MORE DRILLING – 2nd PATCH – POLISH – BITE routine.
Well, if you notice, there were 2 different patch phases. Don’t ask me why. I’m not the dentist. But the thing is, everytime the doctor patched, he needed to wait for it to harden for 2 to 3 minutes. Note my surprise when he instructed for ‘Earphones!’ …. Huh????? I’m used to hearing – cotton, amalgam, tweezers, suction etc being barked at the dental nurses… but Earphones is new. Next thing I know, the doctor was walking out of the room and the nurse plonked a pair of earphones over my head. Instrumental music (that was playing outside in the waiting lounge) now streamed into my ears…. hey…wait a minute, there is even the sound of water flowing in the background…… Bizarre. Well, this earphone regime was repeated 3 times in between the fill job.
I VERY NEARLY CRACKED UP. I was trying so hard not to laugh. Funny situation I was in really. Thank God I managed to hide my face behind the book I brought ………….
Now picture me lying down on the dentist’s chair with a pair of earphones over my head listening to some seriously CORNY but CALMING MOJO music, with a bib tied to my neck, a mouth stuffed with cotton wool, reading a book – I could’ve sworn the nurse even dimmed the overhead lamp above the dentist chair. What a hilarious sight that must have been! Hmmm…. almost half expected a foot reflexology and head massage ………. Ok, pushing my luck there but is this what they call a dental spa experience? Corny I know, but really really relaxing.
I was almost reluctant to leave the room when the job was done. After giving me brief instructions about not eating over the newly filled up tooth, the doctor advised me to go come again for scaling & polishing. Well, waddaya think….. FUYOH………
p.s. I notice, most dentists have one thing in common. They are usually soft spoken. They have a way with words to calm your nerves. Generally speaking, they possess a quiet & gentle demeanour.
There is a however a difference in the frills offered by old and young dentists. The older ones obviously have more experience. They have their regulars and it has come to a point where they still earn a decent living based on their age old practices. They deal with the problem. No frills, no fancy decor needed. No arguments there.
But it is indeed refreshing to know that things have changed and if you decide that you want more contemporary & relaxing dental services, the younger doctors are better placed to offer you that experience. I suppose these can be called gimmicks, or attempts to be different to gain entry or to garner a larger market share in an increasingly competitive environment. But hey, who’s complaining. The consumer stands to benefit, and in my case the dental charges were indeed competitive. So I get more for what I pay for. So why not? Gimmick away!