Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Dental Drama

I've always had pretty good teeth. And I was pretty vigilant with my 6-month to 1-year check-ups for the longest time. Even used to have a toothbrush, some toothpaste and a roll of dental floss stuffed in my top drawer at MCKL for whenever I felt I needed a brushing or flossing mid-day... or midnight, for that matter. -_-'

But then Life got in the way. I quit my job at MCKL, moved back to Penang, went on a 3-month holiday in Australia, got engaged whilst I was there, came back to Malaysia, started a new job at KRPG in Penang, planned a wedding, got married, turned 27, relocated back to KL, started freelancing for MCKL, and then got pregnant... all in less than 2 years. @_@

So, yes. As you can see, Life really got in the way back then. Haha. I don't know when it happened but I began to sideline my dental appointments – sacrificing them for precious meet-ups with the folks, family and friends whenever I find myself back in Penang with a little free time on my hands. I mean, come on. I'd rather be sitting down enjoying a hearty breakfast with people I love and care about rather than sitting in a waiting room at a dental clinic, waiting to sit in a dentist's chair. Wouldn't you?

When I heard that pregnancy could take a toll on dental health, I didn't know how true it would be until I actually experienced it myself. My teeth really went to hell after my pregnancy la, I tell you. I don't think breast feeding is helping much either. Remember that mysterious nightly toothache I had back in October last year? Well, turns out it wasn't nothing. The dentist just couldn't do anything for me at the time cos I was pregnant. -_-'''

After my son was born and I was done with my confinement, I decided to pop over to Penang Dental Surgery to get my teeth sorted out. I no longer suffered from toothaches but I was dealing with a lot of sensitivity. I assumed it was cos of all the vomiting I did, beginning from my first trimester, right up to the Week 18 of my pregnancy. T_T #morningsicknessucks

This time around, they could finally take an x-ray of that molar that was bothering me last year. And that's when I got the tragic news. Because I was pregnant then and had to put off treatment for a good 4 months, it's now too late to save that tooth. I needed a root canal!! -_-''' What??? Me?! A root canal!? At 28?! NooOOooOoOooooOooo!! T_____T

So, no choice. The dentist gave me two big-ass LA jabs, installed the dental dam and got to work. Or at least she tried to. My tooth just wouldn't numb up! I could feel everything she was doing! So she said she just couldn't proceed and suggested I see an endodontist (i.e. a root canal specialist) and get a root canal done by specialists and under sedation instead. But guess what. There aren't any endodontists in Penang. WTH. -_-'''

She suggested that I see Dr Jac Lam at Wisma Perintis (contact below) and gave me a super ugly, temporary filling to cover up the gaping hole she had put in my molar. :-/ But, me being the professional procrastinator that I am, I ding-dong-ed and dilly-dallied for a couple of months (I wasn't in any pain ma) before I finally made the call. And then I was told I could only see him a month later. So all in, by the time I managed to see Dr Jac Lam, it was already three months from the time my tooth was opened up.

In the mean time, I decided to see another dentist in Penang – Dr Andy at SmileBay Dental Surgery (contact below) – for a second opinion. To my surprise, I ended up really liking his service. He was very pleasant, personable, and knowledgable. Puts a lot of thought into his work, if you ask me. He also ended up finding FOUR cavities (other than that root canal) that he needed to work on. -_-' Told him I needed a breast-feeding friendly LA if he's going to be doing any deep drilling and that's when he said:

Dr Andy: Ahhh... You vomited a lot during pregnancy issit? 

Pam Song: *nods slowly* Uh huh...

Dr Andy: Eat in the middle of the night then too tired to brush teeth issit?

Pam Song: *shamefully* Urm... yeah.

Dr Andy: That's why your teeth are so sensitive and you've got cavities now! Quite normal, actually. A lot of my patients also suffer from this after pregnancy. Make sure you take Calcium. 


So, now you know. If you plan to get pregnant or are already pregnant, make sure you gurgle with mouth wash each time after you vomit, brush your teeth in the middle of the night even if you're tired, and supplement your diet with Calcium even if swallowing pills makes you want to puke some more. Don't make the same mistake I did. Sigh. =(

Anyway, I got my 4 fillings sorted out with Dr Andy that day – I highly recommend him! – and left the root canal work for the professional. Time went by and before I knew it, my appointment with Dr Jac Lam had arrived. And I must say that after having seen him, I am more than pleased with his work. He was kind, gentle and very professional. His gadgets were really cool and high-tech, too. Haha. Oh, and he was so good at his job that he managed to perform my root canal WITHOUT the use of any sedatives. Only LA. Woo hoo!

Post-root canal x-ray to ensure that the job was well done. The tooth
he worked on is the one that's standing on bright, white roots.

Yay for me, that x-ray showed that Dr Jac Lam did a good job with the root canal. Unfortunately for me, that x-ray also shows a cavity in the tooth next to it. -_-''' HAIH! One thing after another! Rawr! Thing is, Dr Jac Lam doesn't do fillings, or crowns, or any other piece-of-cake dental work like that. To easy for him. Endodontists only work on the heavy-weight stuff. Haha.

So... I went back to Dr Andy's dental chair in Penang a week later, to get my mouth moulded for the crown and that molar next to it drilled, cleaned and filled up. That was last Saturday. Dr Andy was kind enough to rush my crown out for me – in case I leave for KL earlier than planned – so I had it fitted in this Monday morning. That was yesterday.

My new crown.

Well, 5 fillings, 1 root canal and 1 crown later, The Husband is over RM4,000 poorer (T_T) but I'm glad that my dental health is now back on track, my toothache troubles are over, my tooth restorative work is complete and I can finally begin to enjoy going to the dentist again. Phew! What a rough journey. I haven't had this many fillings or this much dental work done since like... ever, man! I tell you ah... my next pregnancy – if there ever is another one – had better be different. I cannot take going through this horror again!

Suite 4-07 Wisma Perintis,
47 Jalan Dungun,
Damansara Heights,
50490 Kuala Lumpur,
Tel: +603 2094 2860

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5:30pm
Saturday: 9am to 2pm, Sunday: Closed

p/s: I highly recommend Dr Jac Lam if you need any hardcore dental work done. He's VERY expensive (my root canal cost RM2,000 – without a crown!!!) but he's worth every penny you spend. Apparently, there are only 4 endodontists in the whole of Malaysia – 3 in KL and 1 in Johor. If you're looking for an endodontist, it might as well be him.

NOTE: They have many outlets in Penang. (See website.) I've only been to two out of the five and both times, I saw Dr Andy. I know for sure that he shuffles between the following two outlets so if it's him you want to see, I'd suggest going to either one of these two outlets:

No. 1-A, Jalan Tanjung Bungah,
Tanjung Bungah,
11200 Penang, Malaysia.
Tel: +604 899 3800

Consultation Hours: 
Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm 
Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays

118-M-06, Island Plaza, 
Jalan Tanjung Tokong, 
Tanjung Tokong, 
10470 Penang, Malaysia. 
Tel: +604-8900 600

Consultation Hours: 
Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm 
Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays

Website: http://smilebaydental.com

p/s: I actually prefer Dr Andy to any of the dentists I've seen at Penang Dental Surgery. Their prices are competitive anyways. Plus, you never really have to wait long at his clinic, or wait weeks/months to schedule an appointment with him. Having said that, I've decided to jump ship and go to him for all my dental work from now on. You guys should give him a try if you're looking for a regular dentist. 


Jesika Mery said...

Excellent site. I enjoyed the site very much. Your experience about dental health that you say is very effective, I think. You will be pleased to know that we have recently merged and acquired two beautiful dental practices, now Occidental and I think we will be able to apply your experience what I acquired here. Thank for giving me a happy moment.

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Zhen Ying said...

Good to know that Dr Andy from Smilebay Dental is good. My mum needs to root canal done too and she enquired about it over there but was reluctant to do it coz it is so freaking expensive. I'll let her know about your good review about him and hopefully it'll change her mind to have him consult her.

I will remember your advise of watching my teeth when I plan to start a family in the future. I have been looking after my teeth well and I hope I will keep that habit up in the future. Calcium and good dental hygiene FTW!!!!

pamsong said...

ATTN: Jesika Mery
– Haha. Thanks. All the best with your dental office! =D

ATTN: Zhen Ying
– Ya, he's good. And his tools are all very modern. Even the drill got light wan. HAHA. Unlike those at Penang Dental. The chairs kana older than us liddat. At SmileBay, the whole dental experience is pleasant la. No need to wait very long at the clinic, appointments are kept, you get to choose your dentist, no need to book your slot months in advance... and most importantly, I was very happy with his work.

If your mom needs a root canal, I don't think she should wait. Killing the tooth is better than losing the tooth altogether. If she needs it already, it means that the pulp is dying slowly. May not be painful anymore that's why she's delaying also but that doesn't mean that the tooth or gums are free from bacteria and other infections. If the pulp gets infected under the root, she could have to pull out the whole tooth. Very wasted. And sure got chewing problems and all later. Quickly go do!

It's more expensive if she goes to an endodontist. If go to a regular dentist, all in plus the crown will only be RM2,000. Of course, depending on what kind of crown she chooses and what material it's made from lah. But rest assured, I did my research. And Dr Andy at SmileBay charges EXACTLY the same as what Penang Dental Charges for his crowns. So... might as well go to him. He has his own lab and he makes the crowns himself summore. Penang Dental doesn't. They send theirs out to be made.

Sounds like I'm being paid to promote kan? HAHAHA. I should be, man! Or at least get free dental treatment for life. =p

And yessssss... Calciummmmm FTWWWWW!!! Don't regret like me. After taking care and having good teeth for so long, suddenly all go down the drain. Haih.

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Winner said...

I living in nearby penang ,I gonna get my appointment soon . Thnks doctor for the good post

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joolian said...

Hi, Thanks for the detailed info in your blog, very informative!
I live in Australia and am considering going to Penang for some dental work. I googled Endodontist in Penang and found the Adventist Hospital website which mentions the full works including endodontics, prosthodontics, orthodontics etc. I was wondering if you knew about this, or know of their reputation? Their link is http://www.pah.com.my/services/dental_care/

healthysmilesdental said...

I will remember your advise of watching my teeth when I plan to start a family in the future. one of my friend suggested me healthysmiles dental group for my teeth and i did search such a It is really best dental clinic. i will go there surely.

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Zab Clement said...

I think all of us have this "dental drama". Really good writing. Thanks. I am into dental surgery this weekend. Hope all things go well.

Haripriya G said...

i would like to ask about how dental crown is valuable to old people.i want to know about treatment for aged people. will you give suggestion?
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james abram said...

Thanks for sharing your great experience! Would probably advice my wife to take good habit of brushing and gargling mouth wash on her pregnancy. Good that she was able to get a bi monthly check up in Dental World Manila.

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Endodontics said...

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