I had been waiting for half an hour, having thumbed through all the torn and
tattered magazines in the waiting room. The dentist, Dr Tan, who happens to be
my friend, was late. She had taken me aside after a church choir practice last
Thursday and slapped me with an appointment with her. I shouldn't have opened my
mouth so wide while singing.
Suddenly, a nurse called my name. I felt like a
sheep to be slaughtered as she ushered me
into the room. Dr Tan was smiling sweetly but she looked intimidating in her
white overcoat. "Just tell me when you are going to take it out," I pleaded
nervously. She donned her mask and looked downright serious. I opened my mouth
to show her where the affected tooth was. She made some small talk but I could
only nod in response. Then, she injected some anaesthetic. "Does it hurt?" she
asked. I was stunned momentarily by the ant-bite sensation. Then, she ushered me
to a chair. "Wait here till the medicine takes effect," she said.
While waiting, I felt my lips growing bigger. Dr Tan continued her
chit-chatting with her patient while drilling his tooth. Dentists are weird.
They ask you questions that need more than a one word answer and at the same
time they are working inside your mouth. This was the first time I saw the other
side of her. However, I did not have time to dwell on
that as another more pressing matter was before me. By the end of the ten
minutes I was pretty sure everyone was looking at my lips.
I was back on the chair again. She knocked on the affected tooth. "Does it
hurt?" she asked again. By now, I couldn't feel anything. "I'm just going to
loosen the tooth a bit first," she continued. I felt her moving here and there.
"Now, rinse your mouth," she said. After that, I sank back into the chair
reluctantly. "It's done," she announced. "Here is your tooth," she said as she
shoved a little dish into my hands.
I could not believe my eyes. The tooth was huge although one of its roots was
gone. I slipped out of the chair, still dazed by it all. I waved goodbye and she
patted me on my back. Before I could say anything, she had already nodded at her
next patient. On my way out of the room, the nurse gave me some painkillers and
some cotton. "Remember your appointment next week," she reminded. How could I
forget? The drill would be waiting for me next week but the thought that Dr Tan
would be attending to me somehow made it seem less frightening. I would
certainly be in good hands.