Bleeding Gums
January 23, 2009

At times, it does occur to me that possibly, hidden deep beneath the trenches of the International Dental Association’s Manual for Prosthodontists of the World, rests the following statement...

"Even if the procedure is as painful as an immense kick in the nuts, always tell the patient that it would hurt no more than an ant bite."

Which leads to the question, unless you’re an anteater, when was the last time you had a living ant in your mouth? Let alone one that’s munching away your gums.

My own childhood encounters with dentists had thought me a valuable lesson; they are only second to politicians when it comes to mastering the art of lying. They furnish you with pleasant, reassuring stories or more accurately, fairytales as you’re adjusted on the reclining chair (Satan’s Lay-Z-Boy to you and me). To divert your anxious mind, they ask questions about things that remotely have anything to do with your teeth such as school, work, the weather and of course, the size of your cavity.

Perhaps for no other reason than just to rub it in, these questions are asked while your mouth is opened, thus allowing minimal articulation on your part. As demonstrated by the following example of a dentist-patient conversation:

"So, how’s work? Still busy like the last time around?"

"Riuey, fopeuir jreu irfrrrt reosk fkoe treou feas pofe juteor fek sokefs fe fi fo fum..."

(Translated: Just kill me already.)

Miles from the treatment room, sounds of the different dental tools can be heard. The cacophony of it all -- to illustrate its magnitude -- would make William Hung sound like Josh Groban. The dentist’s irrelevant questions fade away as the sound of the tool shrieks its way into your eardrums, stabbing it mercilessly. You sweat as your heart beats faster by the second with your hands grasping everything within reach. In dreadful anticipation, you squirm for a good 10 – 15 minutes of the procedure, which seemed more like 10 – 15 aeons.

Times have changed, thankfully. Dental treatments are much less scarier nowadays. Specialists across the country are boasting and offering non-painful methods at their center. Walk into any clinic and you’ll see huge posters of new, modern technology of dental treatments. None of which, ever managed to spark even an iota of confidence in me. I was disheartened, to say the least, when my 10 year old sister came home from the dentist with a huge glee on her face, unscathed; only a few days after a part of me died during a visit to the same dentist.

Misleading one to believe that the agony of dental treatment is at par with an insect bite is just outright blasphemous. Then again, I should’ve known better.

I wonder if they say the same thing in the International Circumcision Association’s Manual for Circumcision Practitioners of the World.


I agree. I'm 24 and had to hv my dad hold my hand while the dentist worked on me a couple of days ago. Meanwhile, my little sisters (one in primary and the other in secondary school) have absolutely no fear of the dentist.

What is wrong with kids these days?

Diorang ada new/modern technology ke nowadays? Haha haven't pay a visit to dentist for quite a while dah.. maybe gak kene gi lepas ni.. check out the modern treatment/technology.. =)

Chubby Zebra: That's the thing. Apparently they live in a time where dental nightmare is not that big of an issue; as opposed to say, a decade ago. Advancement in technology it seems, leads to a happier childhood.

Tanjung: Better go while it's not pounding your gums day and night. Pasal, according to them at least, it would be quite difficult for the dentist to work on your teeth bila sakit. Makes no difference to me either way though.

The translation just kill me already is the most accurate i've read so far.

I mimpi gi dentist. Mimpi yg sangat detailed sampai bunyi krrriiiiinnggggg zzzz machine dentist tu sounded so real, and the doctor..

lupa nak tgk doctor - busy sakit gigi.

serih. kamu memang lucu.

Syu: Weird how the tool that makes the worst sound is actually only the cleaning gadget thingy whatchamacallit.

Pie: Ramai takkan setuju. :-)

I know which part of you 'died'. But sure.. why not blame the dentist?

Stay off porn my friend.

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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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