Nobody likes a toothache. It's one of the most horrible experiences the human body can go through. About a week ago, I was enjoying a plate of supposedly 'boneless' mutton briyani when the unthinkable happened. I remember rushing through my meal as I needed to get work done. So there I was piling food into my mouth when I bit down hard onto a tiny little bone. I heard the sound of my molar cracking followed by intense pain that lasted for a few seconds.
I was fine for the next couple of days till Saturday came around. The pain that I went through over the weekend was horrible. Throw in bouts of fever and insane headaches in the mix. It's like the right side of my face was hit by a bus. I've been in some bad situations before but this has to be the worse pain I've experienced in my 35 years of living.
By the time Monday came around, I knew I had to visit a dentist. But which dentist? The thought of paying an obscene amount to get this fixed was a major turn off. So I called the National Healthcare Group hotline (+65 6355 3000), told them my situation, did a little begging and voila, an emergency appointment was booked for the following morning.
If you Google "Singapore polyclinic dental", you'll come across horrific comments. From a 6 month wait to fillings falling off teeth and bad service. It made me think "what the hell did I just get myself into?!".
So Tuesday morning came around. I was a nervous wreck while on the way to Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic. I was greeted by the insane number of people the polyclinic sees everyday. A CISCO officer ushered me to the second floor where the dental clinic is located. Thankfully I was called into the dentist's room within minutes of registering myself. Efficient for a polyclinic huh?
Dr Janice Tan did some tests which concluded that the nerve in my molar is pretty much dead. We next did a X-Ray as a confirmation. In Singapore we say "DOUBLE CONFIRM!". After that double confirmation, I had to make a decision.
1) Have a root canal surgery to remove the nerve. After it's removed, I'd have to wait a month to place a crown on the molar. This will cost between $1000 to $2000 with government subsidy.
2) Have the problematic tooth extracted there and then. A cheaper and faster alternative.
It took me seconds to decide to have the extraction. The relationship with my tooth had gone sour to the point I didn't want anything to do with it. Think of it as a nasty breakup with your partner. I absolutely hated it's existence!
After making that non life threatening decision, I was injected with anesthesia. I don't know if it's the quality of the anesthesia or if the dentist didn't wait long enough but it hurt so damn much when she tried extracting the tooth. So she injected more anesthesia and tried again. It didn't work so she injected even more. After 20 minutes of tugging and swaying the bastard of all teeth, it finally came out! Helluva!!!! The moment she said it's out, I felt like a woman that had just given birth. "Yesssssss it's over!".
I wouldn't rate the polyclinic dental services as excellent. It was decent. Decent enough to deal with the issue at hand. Think of it as no frills. Would I go back to them? But of course. In fact, I have an appointment next month to get some filling work done.
I'll end this post with my dental bill...
X-Ray & Processing: $8.50
* the above pricings is after subsidy