I have had dental problems since 1969!  In over a four decade period, I have had the experience of meeting and visiting dental clinics of all kinds and nature. I must admit that visiting a dental clinic is a rather scary experience. 

When I was a child, my milk-teeth started developing cavities and my days and nights became unbearable. At that time, my mother had no knowledge about any other treatment other than giving pain killers for toothache. As it was a not a long term solution, something else needed to be done. 

A very kind staff of my father's office came forward to help and brought a gypsy group. I was placed on a mat in our courtyard in front of about 10-12 onlookers.  My mother, younger brothers, sisters and our helping staff made a circle around me to see the fun or magic of this special 'danta-chikitsha'. 

The gypsy brought out some herbs and different shaped roots along with some cotton buds from her jhola (bag) and from the round basket. She recited some 'shlokes' (chants) while rubbing my gums with the cotton buds in one hand and touching my cheeks with the herbal roots with another.  After a while, she removed the cotton buds and some living bugs were there!

She cleaned the cavity with some liquids and the ache was gone for a few days. Only to come back and haunt me a few days later. What magic she did! 

After I got married, my husband took me to a qualified and reputed dentist. He rooted out the problem by taking out the culprit tooth and did some drilling on another. 

Since then I had the misfortune of visiting many other dental clinics. God can only explain why He made my teeth so sweet to send me to dental clinics again and again, to sit under those drilling machines and other scary tools year after year.  But lady luck had to smile sometime. This year I have a different story to tell!

My acquired experience and knowledge changed as I stepped into a new dental clinic in my neighborhood at Banani. The total look and nature of dealing with the issue was different here.  The reception room looked like a living room with nice paintings, artifacts and books and beautiful plants and pots here and there made me happy instantly! 

I fell in love with this Aiko house.  The entire clinic – the work stations, the patient treatment corners, the walls, book shelves and tables and basin tops - have some kind of a green touch. 

The items are arranged in an aesthetic manner (and placed at a safe distance – away from the equipment and treatment area). Over several visits, I noticed that the plants are reshuffled and arranged differently in new locations at regular intervals.  

The plants are in good health too. In addition, the sound of low volume, well-chosen music is not only refreshing for the patients with pain but also rejuvenating for the plants in the house, the two elements combining to make an ambiance that helps to minimise the pain and suffering of the patients to some extent. 

When I enquired about all this effort taken to improve décor and aesthetics, I found out that person responsible for all of this is the CEO of the house, Dr Sejuty Haque, Professor & Head of Bangladesh Dental College.  Thanks to Sejuty and her husband - also a dentist – for blending their PhDs with the love of greenery and turning a scary place into one worth admiring. And the growing number of the visitors is a living proof.

Photo Courtesy: Laila Karim