“Hello Dr. Phuong.” My mummy greeted.
“Hello Mrs. Shee. How did you know about our clinic?” Dr. Phuong asked.
“Oh… a friend of mine came here before. She recommended me to try. ” My mummy answered.
“Oh really? That’s good.” Dr. Phuong replied. Dr. Phuong has a face of a grandfather, a kind-hearted and loving grandfather. He had a greyish white hair that matched really well with his white teeth. I guess it is a must to have nice teeth if you ever want to be a dentist.
"Em… it is her first dental visit so she is a bit nervous.” Mummy told Dr. Phuong as she pointed at me.
Oh.. what an embarrassing secret mummy…. Dr. Phuong smiled at me. His jaw didn’t really drop to the floor as I would have imagined. Well, it was not that embarrassing after all. But yeah, mum was right. He was handsome.
“Oh.. no problem sweetheart.” Dr. Phuong said.
As they were talking, the nurse in charge pushed me to the dentist chair. She was a Vietnamese and she didn’t speak good English. I couldn’t really understand what she said but I could understand from her body language that she wanted me to sit on the dentist chair. Mummy was still busy talking. I was nervous and I wanted to shout for “Help mummy!!!”
Before I realised it, I was already on the dental chair and hooopsh…. I heard a sound of like the air being let out from a big balloon and I was being “pushed” up. Wow, that was awesome! I felt like I was the pilot getting ready to take off. The nurse put a piece of paper towel on my chest. She clipped the paper towel on one side and role a green wire over my neck and clipped on the other side of the paper towel. That was a DIY do-it-yourself bib. Awesomely easy. Isn’t?
I was really nervous. At that very moment, I really wanted to escape. I recalled my mummy once told me she was nervous going to dentist too. She was even more nervous going for injection but somehow as we grow, we need to learn to control our nerves and they are controllable. So, I tried really hard to calm them down.
“Shirley, it is OK. I just need to put on my glove then I take a look at your teeth. I am not going to do anything but just to look at your teeth. OK?” Dr. Phuong said.
I could not find my voice. I just nodded. Tears came to my eyes but I controlled it from rolling down. I knew I could do it. Mummy said I just need to trust Dr. Phuong and everything would be fine.
“Oh, you have such a nice teeth there. You must have been brushing your teeth.” Dr. Phuong said.
I nodded with my mouth wide opened. I came to realise that it was not easy to nod with an open-mouth though.
“OK, close your mouth a little while.” Dr. Phuong said as he passed me a mirror.
“Can you see your teeth in the mirror?” Doctor asked. I nodded again.
“Come over her Mrs. Shee so you can have a good look at her teeth. Let me explain to you.” Dr. Phuong said.
“She has a few permanent teeth down here and up here as well. Because her gum is still a baby gum, therefore you will see that the teeth are quite “squeezy” down here. But, not to worry, wait for a few months for her gum to grow more.” Dr. Phuong said.
“OK.” Mummy answered.
"OK, Shirley. Close your mouth and say gee…You see her front teeth are not inline with the bottom teeth. This is because she has a habit of using her tongue to push her teeth.” Dr. Phuong continued.
“Babies like doing that but usually they will stop after two and a half years old.” Doctor added. Really?
“Shirley, you are seven years old already. I am sure you are not a baby anymore. Right?” Dr. Phuong said. I smiled a little.
“Now, I will teach you how to exercise your tongue so that you will stop pushing the front teeth using your tongue.” Dr. Phuong continued.
"Open your mouth a little and say ah…, then stick your tongue on the palace… yeah… higher a bit.. yeah… that is right. Then close up your teeth and say gee…. without moving your tongue. OK? Then, try to swallow.” Dr. Phuong said patiently as I did what he said.
“Sometimes it will be difficult to swallow; perhaps you can give her a glass of water. She can swallow the water instead.” Doctor said.
“OK, Shirley? Can you do again? Say Ah…. OK OK…. Stick your tongue… yes, very good. Then, say Gee…. OK, now swallow. Well done!” Dr. Phuong said as he nodded with a gentle smile.
Dr. Phuong said that I needed to do this exercise 10 minutes a day for the next two months. He would see me again in two months time.
“Shirley, do you like rabbits?” Doctor asked me as he showed me a rabbit face with two front teeth resting on his bottom lips. I smiled a little bit more. He looked really like a rabbit when he did that. A rather cute but elderly rabbit. Gee…
“wek.. I tenk we ma lik abit but… we don’t want to look like one. Do we?” Dr. Phuong teased. I figured out after that what Dr. Phuong was trying to say ~ “well… I think we may like rabbit but…” I laughed.
Yeah, mummy was right. Dr. Phuong was funny, handsome and really nice.
You know, I still didn’t quite understand. How something as soft as my tongue could possibly pushed my teeth out? They are called permanent teeth, aren’t there? Permanent means something that cannot be moved or erased. If you had used permanent markers to write on a whiteboard, the writing would be permanently there and would not be able to move it or erase it.
“It is because her gum is still a baby gum; therefore it is still not very strong.” Dr. Phuong told my mummy. Wow, Dr. Phuong was not only handsome, nice and funny, he was a mind-reader in fact.
“Shirley, when you come for the next visit, I will see how well you have done. If it is necessary, we will fix an appliance to help you hold your teeth to the right position. If you practice well, then we will not need any appliance. OK?” Dr. Phuong said again.
Dr. Phuong showed me and my mummy how an appliance looked like. Yuk! There were wires that looked like braces. It was ugly. Dr. Phuong said the appliance would help to pull my front teeth backward if I tried to push them forward with my tongue.
“You need not wear it at school. You can wear it at home after school.” Dr. Phuong continued.
I didn’t want that thing to be in my mouth. It looked like the fake teeth my grandpa was wearing except it had wires instead of white teeth on it.
“Some children can use their tongue to fix and take out the appliance, without using their hands. It becomes their little toy.” Dr. Phuong said.
Really? Well, it may not sound so bad if I really had to put it on. If it was for my own good, may be I could try. It was not painful after all.
As I heard Dr. Phuong was talking to my mummy, my mind wondered. I didn’t know since when I started to relax lying on the soft dentist chair. I still heard Dr. Phuong saying something to me or may be to my mummy as if we still didn’t understand. But I wasn’t paying much attention. I was admiring myself in the mirror that Dr. Phuong gave me just now. It was a special mirror. It was a two sided mirror. One side was a normal mirror. The other side was a magnifying mirror. Wow, that was another awesome!
“Dr. Phuong, Shirley has a few new teeth coming out but the old ones are still there. Is it necessary to pull them out to give way to the new ones?” I heard my mummy asked.
“No, no. It is still early. Not until it becomes like that, we can let these teeth drop naturally. Keep wiggling it, Shirley, it will be fine.” Doctor answered as he pointed to my other permanent tooth that just grew out of my gum. I had been expert in tooth wiggling. So far, I had wiggled 6 teeth and I had 5 teeth in my secret box. You know why? Let me tell you.
I lost one of my little teeth in school. It must have been a naughty tooth because it chose the wrong time to come off. I was having PE lesson on that day. As I was chasing after my opponent, I felt something rough in my tongue. Oh my god, something bad happened. I stopped running after my friend, instead I ran for the toilet. I took the tooth out from my mouth and washed it under the running water. I wanted to make sure that it was really clean so I could keep it in my secret box at home. When I was done washing it, I dropped the tooth onto a tissue and then only I realised that there was no tooth in between my fingers! The tooth was so little that I didn’t even know it slipped off my fingers. I didn’t know when it slipped off my fingers either!
So, back to my first dental visit today, well. it was really nothing after all. It was not as embarrassing as I had imagined. There was no pain. And Dr. Phuong was not a monster dentist either. The visit in fact turned out to be AWESOME!
• I learned how to make a DIY do-it-yourself bib. That’s awesome No. 1.
• I knew how a pilot would have felt at the point of taking-off. That’s awesome No. 2.
• Dr. Phuong’s detective mirror was as cool as my detective pencil case. That’s awesome No. 3.
The only trouble now is, I have to wait for another ttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo months before I can own the appliance. I wished really badly for the TIME MACHINE …….
Don’t worry, the soon-to-be-my appliance will be mine soon. In the mean time, I will make myself busy with the detective pencil case.
Oh, I almost forgot, I suppose to tell you the story about my teacher who did not agree that I was a PERFECT (= polite + obedient + hardworking + helpful + talented + well-mannered + confident + brave) young lady. I will tell you next time.
~~~ THE END ~~~