My confession here might sound a bit ‘brutal’, but it’s the truth. I like extracting teeth..seriously I do. Of course not manically extracting all teeth in a person’s mouth, it just I realise that I really enjoyed my extraction classes throughout my undergraduates.
Extracting teeth = exodontia. A bit of terminology..ehhe.
I dunno how to describe it. Enjoy the feeling when the teeth came out in one piece, what I mean by this is, not leaving the root halfly fractured in the bone. Don’t start gapping with worriness hearing this, it’s quite a common thing when extracting teeth, esp if the bone is dense that extracting that one tooth is enough to burn all energy stored. I never thought myself that pulling out a tooth is that hard. Because my father used to pull out my primary teeth when i was a kid,( I really hate when he did that..eheh ). He used to say sthg like “,… ayah nak tengok je, goyang setakat mana..” and in a split of second, my tooth which was dangling dangerously due to extreme mobility is in his hand. I would be a little bit angry at first, but he was right, there was no pain, not even blood. Because the tooth was already ‘bergoyang tahap dewa’..ehhe. Oh btw..if the root is fractured, we will not leave it behind, we’ll take it out.
Our doctors used to advise us to always exercise the hand, or else it’ll take us the whole day to extract one tooth. Not all teeth is hard to be pulled out. Commonly, the teeth are already mobile due to gum problems, so it’s not that problematic. Using dental forcep, we twist it a little, rotate, move the teeth back and forth a few times, u heard a slight ‘crack’ indicating that the periodontal ligaments are being teared away, and blood will be gushing out. By that time, u know..the tooth is coming out. Smtmes, I have to paused for a while,’ sbb tangan lenguh’, and then continue twisting the teeth. If it’s the front teeth, where there is only one root, it’s more easier compared to molar teeth which have 2-3 roots .
The expression on the patient’s face tickles me smtmes. Heheh..esp the guys. Some would walk in the clinic, all ‘macho’ looking, and when they see the needle, they would go all white. They would say “ err…tak cucuk boleh ke..saya ‘alergik’lah dgn jarum..”.Ehhe..sorry, but we are taught pain-free dentistry, so..hendak tak hendak kena cucuk jugaklah sikit, ye encik, nanti sakit. And to lessen the anxiety and bring back the blood that were drained from their face, we would talk and try to divert their attention away from the needle. But it’s them, these patients, whom im most thankful to. Their trust in us, their willingness to be our patients ( knowing the fact that this person extracting their teeth is not yet a dentist !) and their indirect way of encouraging us, by nodding reassuringly as we struggle to pull their teeth out.
The first tooth I pulled out, was an upper front tooth, which was already slightly mobile. The patient is a middle-age man, who lifted up my spirit that first day by saying “.. awak ni, kalau bukak klinik swasta..laku nih..”( Ohh..i went beaming like ripe tomato..eheheh. ). And as the tooth came out perfectly, the exhilaration, satisfaction and excitement was so overwhelming . Still can recall the feeling, trembling slightly as I wriggled the tooth out, and holding my breath as the blood starting to ooze out ( it was my first time, luckily the patient did not notice my shaking hands !)..and ‘whoosh’..the tooth out! ..ehhehe. Great feeling.
I have this habit of humming as I twist the tooth, the harder the extraction, the more I hum. Smtmes, I just hum away, with no particular melody or songs in mind, trying to lessen the tense and tiredness. It works, for me…and i think it helps to reduce patient's worries and anxiety. Smtmes, the patient would get too absorbed with my humming, that they would ask later ".. awak nyanyi lagu apa tadi? sy mcm pernah dengar lah..”.'( Pulakk ). As we all know, music is one of the non-pharmacological means to reduce stress and anxiety, that’s why some private clinics have a music background played softly during treatment time.
I also like to ask the patients after pulling their teeth out “ cik, nak tengok gigi?". Some would shake their head vehemently, not even glancing at the bloody teeth. Some would want their teeth back, so we'll clean it and put in gauze for them to bring back. It's the satisfaction, i think..thinking that ive succeeded to remove 'the culprit' that's causing problem and pain to a person.
Iskk.. i really miss my extraction class..=/