Disclaimer: I was not asked to blog about this, every word was written on my own accord.
I don't know what the dental clinic was like in your primary school but I hated mine. It was probably one of the biggest fears everyone shared then besides getting a lecture from the discipline mistress. I studied in Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) Toa Payoh primary and secondary, and I guess it was one of the few schools that practiced teeth brushing sessions for kids in lower primary. I say this because I was a transferred student and only joined the all-girls school in primary two. Before that I studied in a neighbourhood school and after a year, my mother decided to transfer me for whatever reasons.
The point is, we didn't have such teeth brushing sessions in my neighbourhood school so I was taken aback when it was compulsory to brush my teeth with my classmates after recess. The school’s dental nurse would guide us and it was so awful because we didn't use toothpaste at all. Can you imagine brushing your teeth with nothing but water and the naked bristles rubbing against you gum? You may think it's fine but if you're doing it along side 25 other 8-year-old girls, it's quite disgusting. Especially when you start to feel the sprinkles of water and saliva from their toothbrushes on your arms (or even faces)!!! Yucks.
Besides those sessions, all students were required to visit the school's dental clinic at least once a month if I'm not wrong. All schools practice this AND I LOATHE IT. My first visit was already so painful I was trembling in fear. I just don't understand why couldn't the nurse just be a little gentler? Just because my teeth were all deciduous, doesn't give her the right to push them around as she pleases. So much for proper dental care, thanks to her ignorance, I was scarred for life. I am so frightened of visiting the dentist, well until now... We'll get to that later.
I remember a particular red clipboard filled with names of girls who needed to visit the dental clinic. Whenever a student from another class came over to my class to read those names out, I would freeze and pray that I'm not one of them. It felt almost like the reaping moment in The Hunger Games. Some times, God decided not to answer my prayers so I would be called out but when that happens, I would fake a tummy ache so I could spend some time in the sick bay instead of in that repulsive dental clinic. I JUST HATED IT SO MUCH.
As I grew older, I learnt how to escape any visits to the dentist and I guess eventually, the school nurse stopped bothering me. I had about two whole years free from her in primary 5 and 6. It felt amazing. Everything was great and I never had to worry about seating helplessly in the dental chair anymore.
Due to my horrific experience in primary school, I haven't had a dental check up for years now. In fact, I think it's been close to a decade. hehehe. But trust me, once you hit 18 and if you're one of the unlucky ones, you might start to feel a tingling pain at the back of your jawline. Say hello to wisdom teeth. (Wisdom my ass) Miserable me is one of the unfortunates. In due time, I have no choice but to visit a dentist to extract them out.
My visit came earlier last month though; I paid my first visit to Idental Clinic. The first dental clinic I stepped into after a REALLY LONGGGGGGGGGGGGGG time. The intention was just to get my teeth straighten out with Invisalign but along the way, I found out that there are so many more other problems to my teeth than just how crooked they look. And I could have prevented all of those problems if I visited a dentist on a regular basis. But how could I right? I mean I was scarred thanks to my primary school's dental nurse and I am certain that majority of Singaporean youths are facing such problems as well.
A perfect smile will get you places; I'm not exaggerating about it. Maybe there isn't a strong emphasize on having a healthy set of teeth here in Singapore but I personally strongly feel that there should be. I mean look at Americans, at least 4 out of 5 kids wear braces but what about the kids here in Singapore? Americans visit their family dentist on a regular basis but what about us here? We are afraid of visiting one because of our experiences when we were younger right? I mean, go look at make up tutorial videos and just stare at the YouTuber’s set of pearly white and compare them to what our local YouTube sensations have. It's a far cry and it's embarrassing.
Apart from just how it affects our physical appearance, it will eventually affect our health in the long run too. Don't take dental care so lightly; neglecting may cause diseases, tooth loss or even something as simple as bad breath.
I think the government should do something about this. hahaha.
Anyway, back to how I felt at my first Idental visit. I was extremely nervous for sure but not as much as I was in primary school because I'm a lot more vocal now so if I don't like something, I'm not afraid to speak up. I didn't have to do that though because my dental surgeon was so patient, gentle and he was constantly checking to see if I was feeling alright. The entire experience was truly different from what I expected it to be. And without a doubt, it wasn't painful at all, nothing like what the school's dental nurse had to offer.
It made me realized that those nurses never cared about us kids at all. We weren't paying customers so they don't stand to gain anything, no commission or incentive whatsoever. Which is why they didn't care about how we felt. Also, being kids, they knew that we wouldn't dare speak up hence they just did whatever they wanted to.
I just feel the need to inform everyone not to be afraid of visiting a dentist anymore. It isn't like how it felt back in Primary school. If you visit a dentist now, you're going as an adult, as a paying customer, a patient that requires health attention. You will be granted whatever you need and if you don't feel comfortable about something, no one is going to force you to open your mouth. Trust me, visiting a dentist isn't scary and I'm sure we've all been through other sort of pain growing up, heartbreaks, internal self conflicts, I'm sure everyone of us can sit through a teeth polishing session would flinching ;)
I've spoken way much more than I expected to so I'll probably talk about my teeth problems in another post. My problems include receding gum line, impacted wisdom tooth, crowding and overbite. I'll explain those terms in the other post. Just so you know, those are REALLY common problems and you might have them unknowingly too. It's better to visit a professional dental surgeon to analyse your teeth. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to health and well being.
If you don't know which dental clinic to visit, I highly recommend the one I'm attached to now.
Shall end this post with a X-ray photo of my teeth!
Courtesy of: Idental Clinic. Can you spot a problem?
Stay healthy everybody!:)
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Grey Skyes Trench
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