Sam fan Thomas the Cameronian marooner musically speaking belted some wonderful tunes. In one of his Makossa style songs he praises one with a wonderful smile. In my own Luhya opinion, a beautiful smile has to preview a wonderful set of teeth. The lips unveil them just a bit to invite a welcome, invoke appreciation or a courteous beckon even a fitting acknowledgement. Samba Mapangala of the Loketo fame was more direct in his “vunja mifupa kama meno bado iko” song. In his overture he intends that life has to be enjoyed. To him this can be done when one has strong set of teeth and appetite. This then follows that teeth are important for our existence as we have to chew food and life at the same time. I know poetically speaking having teeth could also mean being strong, brave and bullish. I dare add that when one has a strong set of teeth their confidence could be more than average.
My dental check up visits over the years have been few and far apart. Doctor Ojwang’s stern face and loud commanding voice could not allow many to enjoy a visit to his clinic in Dandora phase three. The pale look of his patients in those cold white wooden benches did not offer any encouragement either. The screams of grown men sent chilling shudders in one’s spine. You see in late eighties, health technology in our country was basic. Anaesthesia was not as potent and you could hear Dr. Ojwang commanding his patients “kaa ngumu nani!” this would then follow with “fungua mdomo vizuri! Susan shika hiyo mikono yake sawa sawa” this would be followed by loud helpless screams. I tell you many patients ran out and others instantly realized their toothaches could wait. To make matters worse the nurse would give you salty water to gaggle then add some to the affected area before padding it with cotton wool for you to bite hard for thirty minutes. The instruction would be given in a firm voice. You can imagine the sour faces in the waiting area that met you when you visited. You could not dare leave until they affirmed that the bleeding had stopped.
From this experience I willingly obliged whenever a loose tooth needed to be pulled out at home. I even became my own dentist to avoid my mum’s firm grip and her swift pulling out technique. She had this family health and hygiene book that had illustrations and was an easy read. She would religiously read it just like her bible. She would then become a doctor and nurse upon our return from school. She would check our noses, tongue, hands, skin, teeth and even our scalp with magnifying precision. When she would find fight bruises, we would be disciplined for them then the hot water massage would ensue.
The pain of a toothache reverberates through the entire body starting with the head thus cannot be ignored. Many people try home remedies and self-medicate as they fancy not a visit to the dentist. The agony of such visits is not only excruciating physically but does drain the pocket too. Unlike days gone, many dentist clinics are now parlors. You will be offered strong pain killers, choose your read from well stacked magazines, journals and the like. There is an offer of water, tea, coffee, cake even a mint for fresh breath. Many a procedure will require an x-ray of your teeth, strong anaesthesia and delicate expensive treatment. The dentist chairs are not hard and plain but cushy and comfy. They offer light blocking goggles, mouth braces and a soothing mouth wash not salty water after.
I like today’s dentist clinics they leave no trauma in children. Paediatric dentists have become creative and offer smiley faces, balloons and toys to kids and thus make it easy for them to consult on them. Whereas the extras come at a cost and make the visits longer than should be but they are worth it in the long run.
This is year has brought so many changes to our lives that the normal dental checkup was not a priority. Until I felt a pain that home remedies could not cure. Overtime I have come to know chewing mint leaves relieves pain, cinnamon powder alleviates tooth decay and we may have all tried the charcoal with bicarbonate whitening trick. This particular tooth discomfort was not responding to my regiment of home remedies. It was stubborn not so painful but it was there. I did not want to go to a dentist clinic and take literally the whole day so I started making inquiries. With the corona pandemic it would be foolish to want to hang around a health facility for long. I wanted a place that would take the shortest time possible.
My inquiries led me to Taiba Dental Unit. The person who referred them to me mentioned how this facility has lean processes that lead to an efficient turn-around. I made my way to their clinic next to Parkroad Mosque around about 8 am last Friday the 7th of August 2020. The four flight of stairs led me to their second floor abode. I was welcomed with an airy waiting bay and an impressive short queue. I quickly registered with the nurse at the reception. She gave me a card and advised to wait for my call. In under ten minutes I was called, my vitals were taken as per policy and Dr. Mahbubur diagnosed me from my explanation as he checked the pain area. I was ushered back to the waiting bay and told that the nurse would guide me. Within five minutes the nurse called and told me to pay for the expected service and no sooner had I paid than my name was called by another nurse. She did take me to the last cubicle of the dual row of four. As I sat on the cushy and comfy dentist chair similar to the one I sat on when they were checking me out, Dr. Dan introduced himself and explained what he was going to do. He explained that I had an attrition on the fourth upper tooth on my right jaw. Seems I have been going hard against the grain instead of the circular motion required. Pardon me as I ascribe to the “muosho mmoja na sugua kabisa” clean adherents.
He commended me on the clean teeth as he advised on using the right technique to brush. He noted that the attrition from my tooth was as a result of hard brushing sequence. The filling he performed took less than five minutes. He then quickly bid me goodbye and I had to leave even though I would have loved to engage him a little more. Taiba Dental Clinic have perfected the art of lean processes and thus achieved efficiency. I have never had a shorter more affordable dental checkup and treatment before. I counted slightly over twenty people that had been served in the short time that I was in the clinic. All within forty minutes – I was on my way back home, treated and affordably so!
Kudos to Dr. Mahbubur Khan and his entire team for making dental health care swift and within reach of the community they serve. Enjoy life and chew every good acceptable right thing but first work on having strong teeth. Start today to care for your teeth and general oral health.
Picture courtesy of freepik.com