Saturday, October 16, 2010

It’d better not happen on the road…

Of late, in addition to just wiping Rosabelle’s teeth with a Xylitol wipe and brushing it after (no toothpaste yet…), I’ve been trying to make sure Rosabelle gets more chewing action. See, on Monday, I went to Arrail Dental (the dentist I’d used previously at The Exchange moved to the new Huamao branch, so yaay, it’s nearer for me) for a check-up as I had a nagging achy gum on my right lower molars area, and after scaling/polishing (I normally do this in Singapore, but my last check-up was in March, so it’s overdue anyway), he told me there wasn’t any problem and the fillings had not come loose. Instead, he suggested that it could be my upper right wisdom tooth which was causing the aches. He gets patients who have aches in their teeth/gums, but a lot of times, it turned out to be their wisdom tooth that was making the nerves in other parts of the mouth painful. He then suggested an extraction. OMG. I was so NOT prepared for this – I was prepared for at most a filling!

He asked me to have a think about it, since my wisdom tooth was only half-grown-out and pushing against the teeth in front, making it a primal position for getting food stuck in. He said there were dirty areas that I really need to clean well, and though I get X-rays once a year to check on this tooth, I was still contemplating whether to do the extraction. His scaling/polishing was more painful than any I’ve ever done in Singapore – maybe I am too used to Dr. Johari in NTUC Denticare at Parkway Parade; been using him for as long as I can remember – so I can’t imagine how painful Arrail’s extraction must be. He said that after scaling/polishing, I need to wait at least 3 days anyway for an extraction, so I could go back and think about it.

Other than the pain (I can’t eat solids for at least 5 days!), cost is an issue. I paid RMB340 for this past session, and it was with a 40% off scaling/polishing (some promotion they coincidentally have now). Extraction costs between RMB800-RMB1,500, which I’m sure is more affordable with my trusted Dr. Johari. Sigh… and so I waited until Wednesday night, when I could not even chew properly as my lower right gums were so tender and swollen – the pain was so bad it was painful to even swallow my own saliva.

And so I decided to get a second opinion on Thursday, making an appointment to see a dentist at IDC Dental at Winterless Center, again going when Rosabelle was taking her afternoon nap. The dentist and assistant seemed more thorough this time, and suggested that I take a full X-ray (the facilities are more high-tech than those at NTUC Denticare), and she saw that my lower right wisdom tooth was embedded and not coming out. She suggested that this could be the cause of my gums getting inflamed as it was pushing against the tooth in front, or it could also be because of a build-up of deposits stuck in the gum area. There is a slight gap between each root of the tooth and the gum, and normally, it will measure 2mm, but mine measured 6mm at the swollen area. It meant that there was a huge gap between the tooth and the gum, and any deposits inside could lead to inflammation.

Hmmm… after my visit to Arrail on Monday, the dentist had also applied some anti-inflammation substance on the swollen gums, and failed to inform me that I could not eat nor drink for at least 30 minutes. Could that be the reason that even more deposits went in (since the gums would have to be slightly pried open for him to rinse and apply the medicine)? Immediately after that visit, I had an afternoon tea of decadence at Comptoirs de France after (yah, go on and stuff yourself silly with sweets after a visit to the dentist…). I was having a choc craving and ordered a chocolate cake AND a hot chocolate. I sort of regretted it after finishing the cake – there was only so much of chocolate I can take in one sitting, though I managed to finish every single sip of the hot choc. I was on a hyper-high from then from too much caffeine, haha! But more regretfully, I can imagine chunks of chocolate bits getting into the already inflamed gums…. Ouch!

In any case, the dentist at IDC gave me good and bad news – good news was I did not have to do the extractions on that day as I needed the swelling to first go down. The bad news was my swelling cannot go down quickly if I did not take anti-inflammation medicine, which I cannot, since I am still nursing Rosabelle. So they could only wash and apply medicine topically, which was still very painful as they needed to pry open my gums, and I need to rigorously rinse my mouth with salt water to aid in the swelling (which I've been doing). I am hoping that the swelling can go down, fingers crossed… and when it does go down, I also need to have a long, hard think about whether I want to go ahead with the extractions.

First of all, IDC would refer me to Beijing United for complicated cases, and this hospital charges RMB3,400 PER tooth, so I can basically foot two return legs to Singapore if I extracted both. And even then, it would depend on the extent of complication of each tooth extraction to see if they were to take out both the upper and lower ones at the same time, or wait a week in between (I can’t imagine which is worse – 200% pain endured only once, or 100% pain prolonged over a longer period). Even then, I would need to take the anti-inflammation medication or risk it getting all inflamed, so I would need to either stop nursing Rosabelle (luckily she can take cow’s milk now), or pump and throw, like I did the last time when I had my bad spate of food poisoning. Oh well, what I wouldn’t give to get back my healthy set of pearly whites… why didn’t anybody advise me to remove all my wisdom teeth before getting pregnant, hah?

The good thing that came out of these visits was after I enquired about Rosabelle’s still-yellow lower teeth in spite of rigoruous cleaning, the dentist suggested that I should let her use her teeth to chew as much as possible, as that has a cleansing effect. This means I should consider doing away with my trusty scissors, or at best, making sure that I do not mince things up too finely so that she can chew, chew, chew. As with all parents, as long as she downs her veges and fruits, we take the easy way out and make them into small bits. I, for one, admit that I am too impatient to let her chew her way through a whole apple/pear, so we scrape and make juices for her instead. Now I know better, and am making a concerted effort to not cut, cut, cut her foods too small so she can chew, chew, chew!

I also let her attempt to rinse her mouth the past few nights, using a cup of potable water. She ended up drinking the whole cup instead, as she had a very cute action of taking a sip, then swallowing it before attempting to spit it out with a ‘pffft’, haha! So we’ve been making sure she goes to the toilet again after she nurses, and before she sleeps, since she’s so bloated up on water. After she eventually figures out the spitting out, I can then introduce toothpaste (though the dentist at Arrail advised that it’s not too late to start on that even from age 3).

I am hoping that my tooth problem will clear up soon enough, and hoping against hope that it will not flare up again (though the IDC dentist says it’s likely it will recur since it has swelled up once – she told me that I should not try and rest/sleep well and not take over-heaty stuff to prevent it from getting infected).

This is because Rosabelle and I are going on a trip – YAAAY! Girls’ week out! YAAAY! My brother was already planning a China trip (he’s covering China for a month in November) since early this year, and I remember telling him that it’s waaaay too long in advance for me to plan if I wanted to join, and later, I wasn’t really keen as Guilin would be cold in end-November, and I worried if it would be suitable for a toddler, or more accurately, whether I am up to it to take good care of her (i.e. in terms of safety and food) by myself since Wayne’s working and unable to join us.

After having a think the past week, and seeing that the only places in China I’ve only ventured to are Zhengzhou (countless times), Xinjiang, Shanghai, Wenzhou, Chongqing, (all for work), Tianjin, and Inner Mongolia (for short trips), and having a husband who isn’t half as keen on travels as I am, I need to bring our daughter to explore other parts of China (or it’s a real joke to have spent so much time in China and not travelled around much…). Further, as I am only going back to Singapore over CNY 2011, it’d be a long while before I see the folks back home, so it would be really nice for Rosabelle to meet Gong Gong, Po Po, Simon Ge Ge and Gu Gu (my brother), as well as Uncle Boa. My sis and brother-in-law won’t be coming along, since they need to be home to take care of Gideon, so naturally Marianne will stick to Mummy dearest. I am also heartened by the fact that there will be so many adults, and especially Mummy dearest, who will probably pack for a troop (think loads of plastic bags, medicines, tidbits, plastic bags, plastic bags…), who can help in taking care of Rosabelle for me.

It’s an irony that my brother, all the way in Switzerland, is planning for the whole trip, down to the hotels, haha… but I can be reassured of quality travel (nice hotels!) as he isn’t the kind to rough it out, and is very meticulous when it comes to all these trips. For once, I can sit back and just take a back-seat and relax, haha!

On Thursday, I booked our tickets on Ctrip – Rosabelle’s tickets are now 50% of the full fare, as opposed to just 10% before she turns two. Sigh… if I’d taken the trip this month before her birthday, we could have saved about RMB1,500, and maybe used it for the travels, haha… Luckily there are flights that have us arrive and depart at the exact same times as our parents. Also, a lot of folks say end-November isn’t exactly the best time to take in the sights of Guilin and Yangshuo since it’d be cold, but it will be an experience, I guess! I can imagine packing for a month for our 8-day trip from 21 to 28 November, and I need to figure out what foodstuff to bring along as I can’t imagine all foods there to be kid-friendly, so me being me, I will be swinging into planning and action after I get Rosabelle’s birthday next Sunday out of the way, heh!

I think my family will have a fun time with her – when I told her that we were going to sit the plane and meet the folks in Guilin, she started dancing whilst I was nursing her, haha! That’s her posing and requesting for me to take a photo of her at lunch on Thursday:
And her ‘act cute’ pose…
Then a pose of ‘how do you show me you’re excited about going to Guilin?’…
Then stoned, and back to meal-time, haha!
I am sure looking forward – now silly teeth, get well like NOW!!!!

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