I don’t know about you but when I think of getting any kind of medical procedure done anywhere outside of my home country I immediately enter panic mode and imagine the worst case scenario, which in the case of dentistry would be some dodgy backstreet guy tying a rope around my tooth, strapping the other end to the back of a rusty old car and driving till it popped from its socket.
Living in Bali I thought nothing of getting a check up and tooth cleaning session at the Sayan Aesthetic Institute at The Mansion Resort Hotel and Spa, which will tell you (on its website) was voted “The Best Medical Spa Country Winner in 2012” by The World Luxury Hotel Spa Awards. But when it came to the prospect of having a wisdom tooth out there, that’s when I freaked out. Getting a wisdom tooth out involves needles, right? And drills. And stitches. And a need for valium. And all of this without my mum around to hold my hand and make me soup afterwards. Cripes!
Well, I just got back from having one wisdom tooth removed at the Sayan Aesthetic Institute and I can honestly tell you… it wasn’t all that bad. These guys are great in fact, and I had a wonderful time. OK fine, it was as good as pulling teeth. But still fine.
There was a problem getting the tooth out. My dentist had to cut it in half with some kind of tooth-kill-saw-drill-thing first. I like to find the silver linings in these situations of terror so while this utter mayhem was taking place in my mouth I kept my eyes shut and imagined I was on an alien spacecraft, feeling heroic light beings working magic on my gums to create a new, super-human version of myself who would soon be able to listen to Spotify and Google the nearest restaurant just by tapping the special slot where my wisdom tooth used to be. I imagined it might now house the power of a million iPhone 6’s and that even Steve Jobs would be able to make new announcements from beyond the grave through little old, awesome new me. I was just imaging the apps I might have installed to my frontal lobe when it was announced that half my tooth was out already, so that passed some time. I can highly recommend you try to channel Steve Jobs throughout your own dental experiences. He helped me a lot.
My dentist had to help me on the X-ray machine. I couldn’t feel my mouth in order to bite the little bridge you need to bite in order for the scan to work, so the whole process was akin to some sort of special dance in a mental ward as I tried to line my numb face up to the red line without looking at my blood-spattered chin and cheeks in the mirror. Eventually we got the X-ray, the exact GPS of the remaining bit of root was located… or whatever it is dentists use to locate teeth in gums, and that bit of tooth too was out after another 20 minutes.
The weirdest part of all was getting the stitches. I felt like Coraline, when she realises her button eyes are about to be sewn on, only the thread was already on my face when I opened my eyes to have a peek, and the dentist was weaving a careful tapestry between my tongue and my inner cheek with what looked like a thin black rope. I’ve never had someone sew inside my mouth before, so imagining I was a giant doll having a human tongue stitched inside me, and what I might then do as a doll with a human tongue stitched inside me passed some more time and before I knew it I was being given some drugs and told to come back in a week.
When I left, still drooling and with one side of my face swollen like a bullfrog, I decided to tell the world, via this very blog, that if you’re considering getting any dentistry work done in Bali, or getting any kind of dental work done in Southeast Asia at all, DO IT HERE. I can highly recommend this place.
…I can honestly say that this surgery is brilliant, my dentist and his assistant were super lovely and of course, highly trained and professional, and he answered my stupid questions very patiently the whole way through, as I drooled onto his minty-gloved hand. ‘What’s that tool for?’ ‘Do most patients need this many injections?’ ‘Will my stitches dissolve magically after a week, in a strawberry-flavoured star-burst?’ (The answer to that is no)
I have yet to load my Spotify playlists through the new hole in my mouth, or see what Jobs has to say about the iPhone 7, but I’ll let you know how that goes.
***Cost of one wisdom tooth removal treatment including meds and X-rays: RP 2,500,000 (roughly USD $210)
***For more stories about living in Bali, you can get my book Balilicious – The Bali Diaries now in all good stores, and on Kindle.