Dental tales

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By Susan Palmes-Dennis

The 'S' Factor

Saturday, February 8, 2014

WHEN I was small, I don't like dentists.

I think most kids in my time share the same opinion.

Of course my attitude towards dentists changed over time.


How I wish I made friends with dentists when I was still young so I could have taken better care of my teeth.

It was a different time then.

The dentist's clinic scared me even with the smell of Lysol as I saw the pot where they boiled the big needles and other dentist tools.

When a tooth must be extracted because the dentist could no longer save the tooth one has to pray.

At Tagoloan Central School and later at pilot school, the first in class to face the dentist is someone big in front of the class.

As you can see nobody would volunteer to be the first.

Many would suggest that the patients be listed in alphabetical order.

One need to muster his or her courage if he or she would be the first and the others would ask him or her how it felt afterwards.

I couldn't remember if there was a time I was first in line.

But I think once I volunteered to be the first so that I can go home.

In my Grade 1 to Grade 4 classes were Gracia Nabong-Salac, Nonalyn Eduave, Evangeline Gamber, Solita and Minda Casino while the boys were Santos Casino, Vicente Yap.

A fortune Milan Dagus came in to our school from Sta. Cruz when we were in Grade 5, I think.

But I'm digressing. The tooth extraction really hurts.

Usually the trips to the dentist would be announced in advance and the students would make an excuse in advance to avoid their appointments.

I don’t remember exactly what year it was that I had my right molar tooth extracted.

I do remember that no amount of cotton laced with white flower would soothe the pain.

The ache was so horrible that I knocked on the wall repeatedly.

It is said that a toothache is the most painful feeling.

The problem with pain is that it multiplies and reverberates throughout the body.

No dentist would extract if the gums are bleeding or swollen.

I was already big that time when I went to the dentist in my town and asked if he could extract my tooth.

He was reluctant but I told him he should finish it.

To cut the story short the right molar tooth was taken out and the first thing I did was get out of the clinic and pulverized the extracted tooth to ashes—it was my only means to get even with that tooth for causing me so much pain.

It is a different time for the dental care clinic 30 years ago when TV would flood viewers with toothpaste and mouthwash commercials.

Braces also made it to the scene too, never mind if it came from Cogon and was peddled by our Maranao brothers.

A little detour on memory lane; I remembered asking a friend where she got her braces and she told me she got it at Cogon for P200.

“It's a fashion statement,” she said and I thought, don’t braces cost a fortune?


Just ask my favorite dentist in Cagayan de Oro Dr. Dante Pajo.

He took very good care of my teeth back then and he discounts his services.

I was unable to see him when I returned to Cagayan de Oro three years ago because he was identified with the purple (violet?) color and I don't want to jeopardize his political relations.

So I went to another dentist, the son of Dr. Dignos, my favorite public dentist.

Her son is also a dentist and a very good one too.

Flash forward to my new home in North Carolina.

Dental care costs a fortune here in the US if you don't have insurance. But the price is worth it.

The dentist made my two crowns in front of me in less than seven minutes each.

I checked in at the Carolina Dental Clinic at 9:30 a.m.

After exchanging pleasantries with my dear Ronnie, the dentist started working on my teeth.

An X-ray showed that I needed two crowns to hold the “partial teeth in the front.”

I was given a Novocain shot which rendered my upper left chin numb allowing him to work on my teeth.

It was okay at first even when I heard the drilling on my tooth.

More drilling and I can feel some pain so I prayed my rosary and I exclaimed that it hurt.

So he gave me another shot and I can hear the drilling but felt no pain.

What he is doing there, I wondered.

For 30 minutes it was done and I was wheeled to another room.

I lay down on a dental chair wearing a dental apron.

The lady assistant said another dentist would be with me shortly.


Then a good looking young man wearing a blue uniform came and asked if I am okay.

I said I was okay but inside I said “no more drilling please.”

He used what looked like a little mirror spoon in my mouth to check on what was done earlier.

He also had on his hands what I thought was a little USB.

I think he was measuring something, I don’t know, because I lay so low and he was seated in front of me.

This story is quite long already so to sum it up, he made my crowns or “replacement teeth” in front of me.

It's quite amazing and the price is amazing, too.

Until the next dental tale, this is your tooth fairy mother telling you to take very good care of your teeth.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 08, 2014.


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