Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Dentists Today vs. Dentists of Yesterday

Do you enjoy visits to the dentist?

Well I don’t know if I am an exception to the rule, but I do. I group it together with things like getting my hair done or having a facial. I view it as a chance to sit back, put my feet up and let someone else attend to my needs.

And I do like talking with my dentist… although the conversation is generally pretty one-sided for most of the time, interjected with few grunts and nods from my end every now and then.

Plus my dentist also has a TV installed on the ceiling right above the chair so I can indulge in some daytime TV while he pokes around in my mouth.

So I would say that I find my visits to the dentist somewhat relaxing!

Nathan has been accompanying on most of my dentist visits every 6 months since he was 3 months old. Our dentist says there is no need to start any official check-ups until his permanent teeth start to come in, unless there is a problem. Just as long as we are brushing his teeth regularly (which he enjoys doing) and bringing him along with me to create a positive association with visits to the dentist. And he is always rewarded with a sticker at the end of each visit for being such a good boy while mummy has her teeth checked and cleaned.

Talking of dentists reminds me of a bizarre but true story my mum once told me...

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In the 50s and 60s, it was common to receive visits from peddlers and tradesmen who went from house to house plying their wares and offering their special services.

One day, when my mother was a little girl, the family received a visit from a travelling ‘tooth specialist’… sort of like a dentist, although I’m not sure what his qualifications were.

The story goes that this ‘tooth specialist’ told my grandmother “Oh, I’m sure it must be very inconvenient and troublesome to manage children’s cavities with all the sweets and rubbish they eat… the best thing to do is to pull out ALL their teeth and put in artificial ones so you don’t have to worry about it ever again!

My grandmother decided it was a brilliant idea and decided to execute the plan immediately. Apparently my mother was supposed to be one of the first victims… but she was too terrified and ran away to hide so no one could find her.

So another unlucky culprit was selected to undergo the ‘treatment’.

(For confidentiality reasons, I shall not mention which uncle or aunty this was).

And so this so called ‘dentist’ proceeded to methodically pull out each and every tooth out of this poor child’s mouth. I’m not sure if he used any form of anaesthetic or numbing ingredient… or even if he did, how effective it was. I cringe every time I picture this scene.

And till this day, this uncle/aunty always swears that if he/she ever meets this travelling dentist again, he/she will strangle him to death with his/her own bare hands.

True story.

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For more stories on my mum’s childhood days, you can check out these chapters…

The Portrait

Itinerant Tradesmen

Child Play

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Read more on our little family project to compile our Stories of Long Ago

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