Thursday, June 22, 2006

lishun gets a root canal - pt.1

once upon a time, there was a girl named lishun who was very afraid of dentists.

she visited her family dentist once every 5 years and, in between, would try her best to keep her teeth in the best condition possible in order to avoid having to see him again.

however, as fate would have it, one of her molars broke and, after getting very cranky and annoyed about having a hole for a tooth, she decided to take teddy geiger's advice and "muster every ounce of confidence (she) has" to go pay a visit to the masked person with the license to drill.

she was very proud of the fact that she could climb up all the steps to reach the dentist's office without feeling faint and, after explaining her situation to the dentist in the best way a medical student should, sat down onto the reclining chair and opened her mouth wide.

while she was pondering the fact that people probably felt most threatened in a dentist's chair because being in a supine position, mouth open and with a person leaning over, probing the most delicate of mucosal layers, must definitely be the most submissive position anyone can ever be in, the dentist broke the bad bad news to her:

lishun's molar was dead and she needed a *gasp* root canal.

she was devastated of course. after all, everyone says that a root canal is the worst possible thing to ever happen to someone and is about as enjoyable as listening to paris hilton sing. she shuddered at the path that lay before her.

21! and she needs a freaking root canal!

the dentist tried to comfort lishun by explaining the first phase of the 3-step procedure (aha! behavioural skills!) and then proceeded to take out the tools necessary to remove all infected pulp from the root of the tooth - pulp that includes tonnes of nerves that are specially designed to sense...pain.

as lishun lay there, submitting to a drill that sent all sorts of weird tastes into her mouth, her life flashed before her eyes. she regretted the times when she was younger and didn't brush her teeth unless her mother laid out the toothbrush, toothpaste and rinsing mug (those big, red plastic ones) on the sink, ready for her when she woke up. she groaned at the times she snaffled the chocolates from the fridge and didn't rinse her mouth afterwards. she also sighed (silently, of course - the drill was still at work) when she remembered the full roll of dental floss that used to sit in her medicine cabinet until her mother decided to throw the never-used stuff out the window.

she was grateful for an understanding dentist though. everytime she winced in pain when a probe hit a particularly tender nerve, the dentist would stop, allow her to rinse her mouth, and inject more anaesthetic through a long, scary needle. judging by the numerous times lishun winced in pain, it's no wonder the entire root canal procedure costs a pocket-splitting RM400.

after what seemed like hours (when it was really just 30mins), the dentist declared most of the pulp gone and went on to stuff the now-empty crevices of lishun's molar's roots with little strips of paper dipped in antiseptic solution. a soft filling was then shaped into a somewhat tooth-like shape and it patched up the crack that caused lishun so much discomfort the day before.

she was relieved that the most painful part was over, but frowned in concern when the dentist informed her that there would be more drilling and digging during the second step. it turns out that while most of the nerves have been taken out, there may still be some remnants left in the root canals and those need to be removed before an inert filling may be inserted.

lishun didn't like the sound of that, but kept on a brave face and proceeded to make an appointment for the following tuesday, when she would undergo the second phase of the root canal.

she stepped out of the clinic feeling a little happier because she no longer had a hole for a tooth, but was crestfallen that she had a bad tooth that needed a RM400 therapy. well, on the bright side, it's supposed to last a lifetime - considering she doesn't break it again.

so, after calling her mother and giving her the news, lishun stepped into her car, revved up the engine, and headed off to university where she could hardly wait to tell her closer pals about the misadventure she had that morning.


moral of the story: paris hilton's singing really isn't that bad.

stay tuned for "lishun gets a root canal - pt.2"!

lishun at 11:55 PM