The Hidden Pain

I'm fine/saveme


The Lies We Tell Ourselves.

The Lies We Tell Ourselves.

I did not sleep much this weekend. No, the haze was not bothering me. I had been delaying my appointment with the periodontist for more than a year now and the gnawing “discomfort” got unbearable. For 18 months I have been lying to myself that this gum disease would go away but it has been determined to be in the advanced/agressive stage and I was “high risk”.

I got a standard dental hygiene cleaning process done last Friday with my general dentist in preparation for this morning’s appointment. X-rays were also taken that day thus it was no TGIF for me but the cherry on the collapsed cake was why did the dentist and his assistants have to scurry out, leaving me alone in the cold room? It’s scary to be by oneself in a clinic!

Well, the dentist got back inside what seemed like an eternity when in fact it was less than 38.7 seconds. He sat me down next to him and started re-explaining my condition; he’d done a good job 18 months ago and I still have the pamphlet on periodontitis. Normally, I am impatient with listening to repeated information but I was buying time. I was hoping he would turned into a harbinger of good news… That my gums would be miraculously excused from the probe and I’d be shoved out of his busy clinic to make way for his waiting clients.

I do not understand how this could have struck me since I adopt aggressive oral care habits! I brush my teeth fairly often and well (I have a toothbrush in my mini toiletry pouch which I carry in my handbag), paid the dentist quarterly visits and take radiographical examinations when necessary so this was very unexpected. My regular visits also meant I’m alerted to this disease early but I chose to ignore it, left it untreated until it has deteriorated into progressive loss of the alveolar bone around my teeth. And if I continue to leave it untreated, it can lead to the loosening and subsequent loss of teeth. It’s already happening!

Truth be told, I have not been eating proper meals since Bomba. I had three pastilles and even that caused pain! My dentist said this was a silent disease because by the time patients realised they needed treatment, they would have already lost more than 50% of their bone mass. Shudders…

The anesthesia numbed my tongue so much I thought it was hanging out all the time. Bam's food may just be the right diet for me the next few hours. Soft, mushy diet for my sore gums.

The anesthesia numbed my tongue so much I thought it was hanging out all the time. Bam’s food may just be the right diet for me the next few hours. Soft, mushy diet for my sore gums.

This morning, I spent an hour with the periodontist. She went through the x-ray with me and detailed what she would do as primary treatment. Then she told me to come back half an hour later while she prepared the “slaughter house” (yes, I am being melodramatic). So, tail between my legs, I went out on a limp and had a cup of coffee while my lips still had sensations.

The periodontist rubbed some local anesthesia on my gums and gave me more than 10 injections in the beginning. Then intermittently during the drilling, probing, tunneling and scraping, would ask her assistant for longer or shorter needles citing the upper palate would be more sensitive when invaded, over my goggled head. This was nerve centre not data centre! Ugh!!! I’m hearing all these… Hello? I’m on local anesthesia here… was she numbed too?

The periodontist (noticed how I kept referring to her as the “periodontist” ? She’s not going to be my best friend for sure, benefactor maybe, but friend, never!) spent one hour fifteen minutes renovating my facial cavity.

A woman’s periodontal health may be impacted by a variety of factors:
Menopause and Post Menopause

I will be getting a review with my dentist later this week (there may a need to remove my wisdom teeth – yes 2-3 of them) and another “date” with the periodontist in about 6-8 weeks’ time for a follow-up session on today’s procedure as well as to assess if I would be needing (needing? seriously!) even more hostile treatment like the slicing of my gums and planting bone particles to irritate and hopefully stimulate new bone growth. But that would also mean I’ll have lower gum line, looking like a horse! What next, a gum graft? Knock on wood!!!

Anyhow, since I was too bothered to eat during the weekend and am now too sore to eat, I started browsing the facebook at what my photography friends were sharing and came across this article:

“Pain isn’t always obvious. To show how we often miss the warning signs, we created ambigrams and printed the ads upside down in magazines. At first glance, the reader sees a positive phrase. But when the ad is inverted, the copy reveals a sentiment quite the opposite – revealing the hidden feelings of those who are lost and depressed.”

I got intrigued at how photography can be used to deliver powerful messages in a creative way. This advertisement was done for Singapore-based suicide prevention organization Samaritans of Singapore where it recently ran a series of ads that highlighted the challenge of spotting depression.

I'm Fine / Save Me

I’m Fine / Save Me

I Feel Fantastic / I'm Falling Apart

I Feel Fantastic / I’m Falling Apart

Life Is Great / I Hate Myself

Life Is Great / I Hate Myself

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression…
Please seek help!
Refer them to proper help!
You might just save a life!

Information and Photos credits for the SOS article:
It’s Nice That
Ads Of The World

When depression hits me...

When depression hits me…

I hit back!

I hit back!

This dark and moody tub is justifiably named Reverso!

This dark and moody tub is justifiably named Reverso!

You Can If You Believe!

You Can If You Believe!
Don’t Go Through Life, Grow Through Life! – E. Butterworth

By the way, did you like the wooden planks I used for my pictures?
I painted them myself 😀 Hurrah!
Blogging has made me a very hands-on person. There’s so much in store!

Happy blogging 🙂

21 Responses to “The Hidden Pain”
  1. Be Well And Happy says:

    oooh Sam, that sounds really horrid. I do hope they find a way to help you and that you feel better very soon. Kind regards.

    • Sam Han says:

      I hope this treatment helps or at least maintain/slow down the disease. i would really hate to have my gums sliced off. I am starting to practise toothless grinning in my mirror, lol…

  2. Jessica says:

    Oh, no, Sam!!! I’m so sorry to hear about your teeth and the pain you’ve been experiencing! We always take our health for granted until we lose it… Kind of like those silly earrings I lost, eh? I hope your mouth feels better soon. My own father has been having a lot of dental issues lately, and he’s been healthy all his life!!! I really like your exploration of the ways to express pain through pictures, too. Those images that read the exact opposite thing if you turn them upside down are pretty amazing…. Hugs to you! Feel better soon!

    • Sam Han says:

      Hi Jessica, i’m sorry for your dad’s too and i hope he has higher threshold than me. i kept praying in my mind when the periodontist was drilling and scraping the fibrous tissues. i think i have reached another level of endurance, hahaha… Those are ambigrams which many secret cults/sects use also to relay messages, a variation of something like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code? hehehe…

  3. Janet Rörschåch says:

    Oh my goodness, Sam. I feel your pain. Teeth can be so painful. I hope you never, ever have to go through that again. Thank goodness for chocolate ice cream.

    • Sam Han says:

      I like the name Reverso for the chocolate ice cream, it’s like i can reverse things, hehehe… when in better mood, i like nutella, burnt caramel and a very local flavour horlicks which is actually malt. i’m heading in (dental) again this Thurs, wish me luck 😉

  4. Melisa R says:

    Oh, it made me so very sad to read about your health problems 😦 I hope you feel better! I will follow your example in how to battle depression, I think its’ very smart to attack it with ice cream.

    • Sam Han says:

      Hahaha, ice cream was my whole 2 years’ diet when i was living in Malaysia and Dubai. I eat a pint daily, lol… That was bad. Moderation is the trick, eh? 😉

  5. Take a seriously those who told you that he/she even thought about suicide,
    studied said that more than 78% of the victim told someone about their suicide thought,
    As a dentist gonna be, i thought you should get your general check up, including hormonal, physic and psycologic since periodontal problem is an

    • Sam Han says:

      Thanks Dedy! I will 🙂 It rained here today. Did your side rain?

      • Yes, heavy rain within lightening in Palembang Sam,
        i’m so sad about your periodontitis ,
        Take a heavy antioxidant such fruits and veggies diet to improve your immune system.
        mostly dark colored things like berries,pomegranate, purple veggies or fruit, beets etc

        • Sam Han says:

          Thank you Dedy, I am very thankful for your concern. I hope this initial treatment work. I do not wish to have to consider human, animal or synthetic bone particles. I will heed your advice on the diet and be more careful. Thanks Dedy for your kindness 😀

  6. i mean periodoltal problem mostly a symptomatic disease, curing the sypmtom (periodontitis) without curing the causal(source) will make the periodontitis present over and over again Sam

  7. thenerdyscribe says:

    I had to have gum grafts done a year ago. The worst part was not being able to do things like suck through a straw after the grafts were done. May your mouth make a speedy recovery!

    • Sam Han says:

      Oh Ms N, so sorry about the gum graft and i sincerely wish i do not need to have it. i’m going for my dental appointment in 45 min’s time. extraction of wisdom teeth (2 or 3 of them) may be necessary. Cya online soon.

      • thenerdyscribe says:

        Hope everything went well on your dental appointment. I found ice cream and smoothies were a good treat after my wisdom teeth were taken out. Best wishes!

        • Sam Han says:

          Hi Ms N, my appointment went well so far. The dentist is giving me an option to delay my extraction until my next review with the periodontist in August. I told him my pocket need to recover more than my gums, lol…

  8. Just got to this – have been reading in the wrong order. Really sorry to hear this.
    But if you find that, (wanyi de hua – 1 chance in 10,000), you wil have to lose teeth, a suggestion: go out and find someone obnoxious (like an Indonesian logging tycoon or a Cambodian senior govt official) and just punch him first. That way you can at least say you lost your teeth doing good for humanity 😉

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