Friday, December 30, 2005

Confession of a Workaholic

I can't wait to get back to work. I've been on holiday for a week and I'm bored to death. This place is so bloody hot to go anywhere. The beaches are only about 20 mins drive from my place but I've no intention of turning myself into a homo sapien roast. I thought Mount Isa was hot, average summer temperature hovers around 45 degrees Celcius up there, but I found it easier to cope, dry heat is more tolerable. I hate humidity. I wonder which idiot built this lousy house I'm renting, it's a bloody sweatbox. Cold in winter, hot in summer. Even with all the doors and windows open it's still hotter inside the house than outside. :( The aircon is on full blast 24/7 but doesn't cool the place down effectively thanks to the poor/nil insulation. So here I am sitting on my big fat arse whinging.

I miss going to work (no I'll not admit it's because of the aircon). Actually I don't see it as work because I really enjoy what I do. I work 6 days a week and I don't see it as a chore. I wonder how many ppl go to the dental school because they've a passion for dentistry, or because of the $ they thought they gonna get once they grad. No doubt it's a very secure job, unemployment rate for dentist is 0%, you can get fired today and get another job the next day, but if you don't like it you'll be miserable. I was chatting with my friend S the other day over the phone, she sounded depress, even more depressed than when she was in dental school. She hates her job. She's only in it because of the bling but no the bling didn't bring her happiness. How sad.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

2006Travel Plan

It feels like it was only yesterday when they were born. I still remember the morning when XG chucked Bluey in my room and left. Now they're running everywhere (when mum's not looking). I've found a home for Bluey, well his name is not Bluey, he doesn't have a name but since he looks like a Blue Heeler that's what I call him for now. He'll be going to a property near the beach. I wish I could keep him but the bloody council only allows maximum 2 dogs per house. :( At least I'll have one less worry when I go away on holiday. Their mum's unplanned pregnancy already ruined my Christmas getaway, but then again I wouldn't change anything if given the chance.

It's almost 2006. Most ppl would be drawing up their New Year resolution. I've given up on that ages ago. :p Why bother when I'm not gonna do anything abt it. :p However I do have a tentative travel plan for next year. I love travelling, can never get enough of it. Since I pay so much tax I might as well make full use of it and coincide my holidays with work-related stuff hehe. Oh and the late Mr Kerry Packer has just became my hero as of yesterday, here's why.

2006 Travel Plan

1) 17th Jan Brisbane to observe prosthodontist Dr. Boulton do veneer preps (I've to admit I've no idea how to do it. I've only read it in books but it's different to actually see someone does it. I'd to turn patients away because I'm too ethical to use them as guinea pigs ;p and my boss doesn't do veneers :( )

2) 1st - 10th April Singapore IDEM (Yeah right as if I gonna turn up. My old hag cousin in Singapore is finally getting married. Everyone thought she's gonna stay single and miserable for the rest of her life coz she's too picky and all of a sudden she announced her engagement HA this is one wedding I cannot miss)

3) 21st - 25th April Lord Howe Island ( This is not exactly tax deductible but I'll see what I can come up with hehe.)

4) 26th May - 1st June ADX Melbourne and Nobel BioCare Surgical & Prosthodontic Training (Kill 2 birds with 1 stone. I can start buying toys at the Australian Dental Expo for my practice and learn how to do implants at my alma mater wooohoooo!)

5) 21st Sept - 1st Oct 2006 FDI World Dental Congress Shenzhen, China (This'll probably end up being a 2 weeks trip :D)

While looking at the various dental event calendars online I came across Sea Courses Cruises. Some smartarse health professionals in the US had started a business organizing continuing education programmes on cruise ships! I shall start saving up and go on one of those cruises hehe.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cheap overseas dental treatment

Zakopane, Poland

I was up at 4am. I always have problem going back to Slumberland once I've woken up. Since I'm a no lifer dentist I started surfing the ADA website looking for the list of dental suppliers when I came across this article ADA WARNS OF RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH OVERSEAS DENTAL HOLIDAYS:

Dental work received during overseas ‘dental holidays’ is resulting in costly and painful repair jobs back in Australia, reports the Australian Dental Association (ADA Inc).

The ADA is concerned about promotion of dental treatment overseas in conjunction with a

The ADA President, Dr. Bill O’Reilly is warning people attracted to cheap overseas trips promising, “an exotic holiday and smile makeover”, that such treatment can be risky and work performed overseas is not guaranteed.

“Teeth are for life. Obtaining dental treatment overseas can be risky to both your dental and general health.” Dr Bill O’Reilly said.

“What concerns us is that people contemplating overseas dental treatment are not aware
of the dangers that they are risking.”

Before undertaking such treatment, you should be aware of:

- Many of the dental practitioners that provide treatment to such patients are
practitioners that would not be able to register as dentists in Australia.

- The infection control requirements for dentistry in Australia are of world best
practice standards but those of overseas countries, especially some Asian and Eastern European countries, are far less rigorous. Dental treatment requires stringent infection control as it often involves surgery. Failure to have adequate infection control in place for dental treatment is reckless.

- Language and culture differences may mean the practitioner who treats you may not fully understands what you want or accurately determine what you need to solve your dental problems.

- Dental treatment provided overseas is often fitted in around a holiday schedule. However, dental treatment is often needs to be conducted over a longer period of time. Provision of implants, for example, cannot be done properly over the week to 10 days of a holiday. Implants require treatment performed over a number of visits as the mouth needs to “settle” between visits. Fitting such treatment within a holiday schedule without allowing time for the mouth and gums to settle, risks failure.

- Overseas treatment leaves no recourse if the treatment fails. It is a false economy if patients have to return overseas for possible rectification. The ADA sees cases of overseas’ treatment gone wrong. Often the treatment received has to be completely redone. If that happens patients will have paid for the overseas treatment and its rectification. Treatment in Australia enables treatment to fit an individual situation, and should a problem arise the dentist can immediately see
you to remedy the problem.

- Complications from dental treatment while overseas are not always covered by travel insurance.

- Treatment overseas can be cheaper than that received in Australia but be careful that you know exactly what you are getting; that it is suitable for your situation and that it is of an appropriate standard. Australia has highly trained practitioners, using well-trained staff assisting them, with the most up-to-date techniques, relying upon the best equipment available and implementing the best standards of practice. This does have a cost, but it also ensures that you receive the best treatment available.

The ADA warns people to ask themselves, will the overseas treatment remedy dental problems long term; will it be safe; can patients be assured they won’t be worse off; are they fully aware of what treatment is actually being provided and can any problems they suffer be easily fixed?

The ADA and most Aussie dentists'll probably kill me for saying this, but I do not object to getting your dental treatment done overseas, provided you know who you're going to get your treatment done (and do a background check!).

First of all, I've to admit, dental treatment is very expensive in Australia compared to other countries in Asia and Eastern Europe, that's the price you pay living in developed country. Tax tax tax, by the time the materials and equipments get shipped over here it would have been overtaxed (yes just blame the bloody ATO), not to mention the minimum wages you gotta pay your employees (unlike in Asia where someone can work for $2/hr) so all these extra costs get transferred to the patients. To get a RCT and crown done in China (by dentist grad from top uni in the US) you're looking at around $300 max, to have it done at the practice I work at it would cost around $2000 and we charge the lowest fees in the whole country (My friend figured it would be cheaper for him to fly up from Melbourne to get his teeth fixed here than to get it done in Melb), at other practices you can easily pay up to $3000. So if I require extensive restorative work (with the alternative being extraction) I would take my chances and get it done overseas. Worst case scenario the treatment fails and I end up having everything extracted but at least I give it a go, better than having everything pulled in the first place without even trying.

Secondly, there're actually some well qualified dentists working overseas but you need to know where to find them! The only dentist who's allow to touch my teeth is a Polish dentist working in Pilica, Poland. He doesn't speak English very well but he's the only dentist I trust. Please don't kill me, but I think he knows much more than most Aussie grads graduated in the same year. Certainly knows much more than me. :\

Thirdly, there're Aussie grad dentists working overseas! Yup, I do know a couple working in China (mainland & HK), Malaysia and Singapore.

However, I did see some crappy work done by overseas dentist. Who the hell in his/her right mind would place a stainless steel jacket (or whatever you call that) on a central incisor?! Well this dentist in the Phillipines obviously thinks it's OK. Then there's this patient with stainless steel crowns on all her 6's & 7's with opened margins so wide you could put your finger in. Initially I thought she'd them done when she was a kid but she said they were done when she went back to the Phillipines 2 years ago. :\ Nothing against the dentists from the Phillipines, I just happened to see a lot of Filipino mail order brides when I was working in the outback.

Those who want to get their dental treatments done overseas make sure you do your research properly. You don't want to end up like my Filipino patient with all her 6's & 7's pulled thanks to the gross decay underneath those shitty SSCs.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

All I want for Christmas is a bloody home loan!

another beach

My DA had invited me to her house for Christmas lunch because "nobody should be left alone on Christmas" but she called me last night and said the lunch has been cancelled coz her parents're coming over and they want to go to the beach. I'm not a big fan of tan. I can never understand why ppl would risk getting skin cancer baking themselves under the scorching sun, not to mention getting premature wrinkles and looking dessicated. YUCK. That's it. I'm staying at home.

Gus from the finance company sent me a document checklist for loan application. Spent the whole afternoon preparing it. I wonder whether they would change their mind about the $2 million when they see that I only have $0.08 in my savings account. ;p

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas present

One of the beaches around this area

I've never receive any Christmast present. When I was young I asked mum for Christmas present and she said We're not Christians we don't celebrate Christmas but she did get us a Christmas tree.

As I get older I don't see the point in Christmas present anymore. I tell everyone Don't buy anything for me and I won't buy you anything. It's just too commercialised. I don't understand why the rush to shop before Christmas. It's such a waste of money. Does the person receiving the gift really like what you bought? Maybe, maybe not and lots of time the answer is not, that's why the second mad rush right after Christmas with people returning and exchanging their Christmas presents. Why not make a donation to charity in that person's name instead? Or just hand over the $$$. :p

Anyway, I bought myself a Christmas present this year. A house. Yup, I bought it. $385K. Signed the contract on Christmas eve. What a nice present. Now I've to sweat over the next 30 years to pay it off. ;( At least now I've a place to call my own. :D

Friday, December 23, 2005

Country vs Metropolitan

I am buying this :D

I was flipping through copies of the old ADA News Bulletins lying around when I came across the President's comment on higher education reform in the October issue. He said," Faced with a high level of debt, the ADA is concerned that students will be more likely to choose to practice in metropolitan areas rather than rural and regional areas". This gives the false impression that dentists earn more in metropolitan areas and could discourage new graduates from considering working in rural or regional areas. In fact, on average, dentists in country practices actually earn more than those in city practices.

Speaking from personal experience, chosing to work in the outback and regional areas despite strong objection from family right after graduation was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life (the other being giving medical school the middle finger and went back to dental school :D ). While my friends are struggling to get their appointment books filled and seeing 1 patient on a "good" day I'm fully booked 2 months ahead. Not to mention I could get experience in the full range of techniques (e.g. doing surgical extraction of a distally impacted 38 2 weeks after I started working), unlike my friend P who graduated a year before me and currently practising in Melbourne, I was shocked when she told me she has never done crown and molar endo before.

As for the financial reward, it's bloody good. Manolo Blahnik? Pffffft I can buy a pair of those killer heels working 1 day. Oh did I mention I'm buying a house? I made an official offer today. :D I've only been working for 1 year and 6 months since I graduated, yup minus the 4 months holiday I took, I wonder how long it would take for a new grad working in the city to afford that. I'm not trying to show off, I'm just sick of my friends whinging about how poor they're and yet refused to leave the city. It's really not that bad out here. Yes, you don't have 7 days shopping in the country, but who needs that when there're so many beautiful beaches and national parks. People here are much friendlier too, and definitely a safer place to live than the city. There's no problem with traffic jam and parking space, so less risk of getting hypertension and road rage.

So while my friends working down south continue to whinge about their poor wage I'll be sipping tropical punch in the comfort of my airconditioned theatre room. :D

Monday, December 19, 2005

I am a cash cow

I'm seriously considering buying the house. Sure beats paying rent. Only problem is I've no $$$. My savings account only have 8 cent at the moment haha. I'm paying off my parents' mortgage, they own the house but I own the mortgage. I try to pay it off as soon as I can so whenever I get my pay cheque I deposit into the mortgage account. As a result I'm living on my credit card. I've no asset. The only things I own are a laptop, a tv (speaking of which the storm last night killed it *SOB*) and a dog (plus 3 pups).

Anyway I thought I've nothing to lose, I really like the house, so I called this finance company that caters to ppl in the healthcare industry. I told that guy my situation, that I've no asset, no savings, and I own a $200K mortgage but I really want to buy a house so would they lend me some $. I told him my average weekly income after tax and he did a little calculation.

"You can borrow up to $2 million not a problem"

I thought I heard wrongly, so I gave out a loud "WHAT?!"

"We can lend you up to $2 million. Would you want me to send you the application checklist?"

I don't want freaking $2 million! I only want $420K to buy my dream house with theatre room and high fence so my dog who's an escape artist can't go biting ppl who get too close to her property. I'm going to make an offer for the house now. :D

Friday, December 16, 2005

Importance of X rays

Healthy-looking tooth

My God! Look at that big hole!

Ms S came in today with toothache, dull throbbing ache in Q2 to be exact. I couldn't find anything wrong so I took a radiograph and saw a big radiolucent area on the DO of 26. Unfortunately for Ms S she came in 6 months too late. She ended up spending $900 on root canal because the other alternative is extraction.

I looked through her record. She'd never have any radiograph taken. If she had one done when she came in for her last check up a year ago this wouldn't have happen. This reminds me of some of my patients who refused to have any radiographs because "my teeth don't hurt why should I've x-ray" or "I don't want to spend more money" yadda yadda yadda all sorts of excuses. Most of the time they think we are out there to cheat their money with x-rays. What they don't know is that early decay is actually reversible and doesn't hurt! You need x-rays for a proper examination as we dentists are mere homo sapiens and can't see through what's underneath those amalgam fillings or in between the tight contacts of teeth.

Too bad for Ms S, now she has to fork out another $1500 after RCT for a crown. My boss is laughing his way to the bank.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Home Sweet Home

It's good to be home.

Came back for a 4-day Advance Endodontic CPD programme. Now I know why ppl claimed to be able to do endo in 5 mins. To hell with hand files, I'm switching to rotary Ni-Ti. Now if only I can con my boss into getting one.....

Thursday, December 01, 2005

My first Black Jettas Design Necklace by Yue Chin

$300. Designed and hand made by the talented Yue Chin of Black Jettas Design. Worth every single cent. I love custom made jewellery.