Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 4, Tuesday July 13, 2004






Interpreter of Maladies

Dr. Nighat Ara, Psychiatrist

Q. Can you tell me if there is any such thing as baby blues? Recently I read somewhere that nothing like this really exists, then why do I find my pregnancy so depressing?

A: Baby blue is a synonym for post-partum blue. The term denotes a transient depressed state of mind that many women experience soon after delivery of a baby. It usually lasts only few days and is characterised by sadness, tearfulness and excessive dependency. The rapid change in hormone level, exhaustion of childbirth and the anxiety around the new role as a parent- all these are considered as contributory factors of this mental state. Unless the mother has a previous psychiatric history or family history of post-partum depression, this is not an alarming situation. Women sometimes find their pregnancy depressing if they lack adequate support from family members. In case of unplanned or accidental pregnancy, it is more stressful and depressing than in general. Besides, if you are anticipating some negative consequences of this pregnancy (financial stress, impact on career etc.), that can also lead to a depressed mood. Some women who have unresolved issues with their mother or couldn't separate themselves successfully from the maternal influence (e.g. unusual dependency or clinging) also find pregnancy very difficult to cope with. However, for vast majority of women pregnancy gives them a sense of fulfilment, a confirmation of their femininity and a purpose of life. On the contrary, unhappy childhood memories (e.g.: neglect, emotional abuse etc), past bad experience with pregnancy, dissatisfaction in the marital life and husband's negative attitude towards the pregnancy - all these can distort this normal physiological process. Whatever be the reason, if your depression is really marked, please contact a mental health professional. Healthy (both mentally and physically) and cheerful pregnancy is a prerequisite for a healthy baby.

Dental wise
DR. Mahfujul Haq Khan BDS, DDS, FSDCE (USA), PhD (Japan), Post Doc. (Japan) Specialised: Crown and Bridge work, and Periodontal plastic surgery (USA) Senior Medical Officer, Department of Dentistry, BIRDEM Hospital

Q. Dear Dr.Khan
My front teeth are discolored. What is bonding filling? Actually I was in USA last year and my dentist suggested me to try bonding. What are the advantages and how long will it last? Is it possible to do it Bangladesh? Will appreciate your reply . Thanking you
Akhter Ali Uttara

A. Dear Mr. Ali
Bonding filling (composite filling) is one of the most conservative, versatile and affordable ways to esthetically restore a multitude of dental cases. Your dentist uses this natural looking, synthetic material to:

Restore cavities in front and back teeth, replace old or unattractive "silver fillings", Repair root abrasion, close diastemas (spaces between teeth) Restore chipped or fractured teeth improve or change the color of permanently stained or discolored teeth

Reshape crooked or malformed teeth.
Generally, bonding requires five simple steps that are all completed in one appointment: preparation, layering, hardening, shaping, and polishing. First, prepares the teeth to be bonded, using a simple etching process. Then, after applying a specialized cleaning agent, layers the custom-color blend of composite resin onto the tooth or teeth, hardening each layer with a special light. When the layering process is finished, we work with the composite, shaping it to fit the tooth according to your natural dentition. Then we polish it to prevent staining and early wear. Depending on the location and size of the bonded area, this placement process may require 10 to 20 minutes longer than what's needed for a traditional silver filling.

About longevity of bonding filling; It depends on size of cavity, quality of bonding material and skillness of dental surgeon. But it usually last about 6 - 7 years.
Yes its very much available in Bangladesh.

Q. Hi Dr. Khan,
Are there alternative treatments for root canal? Should some people get a second opinion? Is misdiagnosis possible in root canal? I don't know if I am explaining this right or not, but once the dentist drills the decay away and sees where the root and tooth meet (which means, the root is not exposed yet, and the tooth still lies over the root) (something like that) the procedure would be to not root canal at all...the dentist would lay some sort of protective coating between the root and the tooth and then fill the remaining top part of the tooth. DOES THIS procedure EXIST?
By the way, if some one has bad breath, can it be transmitted by French kissing?
North south University

A. Hello Almas,
If the diagnosis is correct then there is no alternate of Root Canal Treatment (RCT). Yes, people have every right to have second opinion. Yes, it is possible to misdiagnose. But careful clinical examination, correct taking of history, clear X-Ray and support of other diagnostic instruments can greatly reduce possible misdiagnosis.

You have it mostly correct, but...
When there is deep decay, it is sometimes difficult to determine whether it has entered the pulp (nerve) of the tooth. The clarity of the image on the x-ray, or the spatial orientation of the decay relative to the pulp is sometimes difficult to interpret with precision. In this case, the removal of the decay (excavation) is both therapeutic and diagnostic. If an exposure of the nerve cannot be seen, it will generally indicate that the nerve has escaped injury, and the tooth will not need root canal treatment. Despite this assumption, the nerve may indeed be injured and later need root canal treatment, as evidenced by the development of symptoms at a later date. This is because a microscopic exposure may escape visual detection by the dentist. In any case, if the symptoms are sufficiently suggestive of a pulpal infection, it is usually assumed that root canal treatment is necessary, even if no exposure can be seen.

In equivocal cases, where there is deep decay that approaches the pulp but there are no symptoms indicative of infection, and there is no pulp exposure in evidence, the dentist may place a cement base under the filling in order to provide a measure of thermal insulation; if it's really deep, this is sometimes referred to as an "indirect pulp cap." There are situations where the same situation presents WITH a small exposure; there are some dentists that will perform a similar procedure in an effort to head off a root canal. This is called a "direct pulp cap." The direct cap is a controversial procedure, which is widely believed to be unsuccessful over time, leading to the eventual recurrence of infection.

If some one has bad breath, can it be transmitted by French kissing?
I have been asked this question more than once in my private practice.
Certainly, bad breath may be caused by certain kinds of oral bacteria, and they appear to be more active in some mouths as compared to others. Some species of bacteria in the mouth do seem to be transmitted among adults in close contact. So, theoretically, it could happen. After all, a lot of diseases are transmitted by kissing and other sexual contact. My suggestion would be to summon up the courage to tell the kissing partner about the problem, and to resume kissing as soon as the situation improves.


Toys for little girls

Think carefully before you buy toys for your little daughter. In 90 percent of the cases, for girl's aged between 2 to 10 people buy dolls that emphasise on beauty, shopping and dating. This could seriously damage her self-esteem. Less emphasis on beauty or shopping does not mean that the only other options are educational and therefore less fun. Choices can be made for young girls that are less focused on the prescribed or assumed behaviour of women in our society. Toys such as colourful school bus, toy mobile phone, figures of animals or even a PC can bring joy for a child and educate at the same time.





If your heart doesn't skip a beat when you hear the word "Adda" you just aren't a true Bengali. An over used, often over or under rated declaration, a generalized way of categorizing all good or bad conversations with fantastic or appalling company- the four letter word consumes all that and everything in between. The slangadda with its double Ds and As has a circular involvement, a revolving, repetitive suggestion…adda's double Ds carry an unproductive, unconstructive hollow innuendo.

Adda carries the connotation of sweet nothing times, the Bengali leisurely afternoons on the roof tops or an evening with cha and Jhal muri. A sense of lightness, of wholehearted laughs and clever jokes, of juicy gossips and inactiveness, sitting pretty with a moving mouth-Bengalis definition of a perfectly wonderful time, doing Adda.

Being away from the prime adda land, we strive to create the same environment here in America. While our leashes are being pulled by the invisible hands of urgency we often feign to stop and announce to meet up for an adda. So once in a while with a randomly thrown together bunch of Bengalis we sit tightly making conversations out of air and trying desperately to connect, in a higher or lower level, dancing around safe topics with mouth full of biriyani.

It's not that I never end up striking a good adda with a bunch of Bengalis but that occasion is quite rare. With the constant battles of "know it alls" and "seen it alls" addas here often turn out to be freak shows, and I the awed audience. Women trying to hog attention and men trying to play up their superiority complex are what our addas under this sky is all about. It seems every time I am in the middle of these so-called addas either I end up as a pupil being taught by some self-appointed mentor, breaking life down to me and the rest of the addabajs or I am stuck with a bunch who are way too hung up on their pasts, describing the lives they left as the best anyone has experienced. I always feel like the disadvantaged, the one with an imperfect past, with not many bragging rights because if you decide to be modest and keep your mouth shut you are automatically assumed to be of no caliber. I never knew with change of age and location, addas can become so complicated and dreary.

What's worse is the relation of alcoholism and adda. I am not a Nazi against alcohol, if it floats your boat and you take full responsibly of your drunken self by all means, drink up…
but what I hate is when people use the excuse of an adda to gulp their daily dosages of liquor. If alcohol helps one relax and add to a good time it's a different story, but those who add an adda to their alcohol and pretend like non-alcoholics while drinking like a fish and talking out of their behinds is what I find treachery towards addas. But then again I should also mention, sometimes being stuck with a bunch of drunks is much better than being stuck with complete sober individuals who are naturally under the influence of something hallucinating, and you and I both know that covers a healthy chunk of Bengalis.

The truth of the matter is, perhaps we Bengalis here have forgotten the whole formula behind good addas. Addas aren't meant for criticizing absent individuals or groups, it is not to mock or demean each other, it is not to brag or boast about accomplishments or backgrounds, addas are not so you can abuse your addictions, adda's focal point should not be what food we are taking, what clothing we are advertising or what talents we are staging. Good addas are about freeing your mind, about getting in touch with yourself, about not worrying about the consequences of what is being said. It is a series of good conversations, serene silences and moving forward. It is to exfoliate your mind not to pollute and dismiss.

Last evening after sunset and before the moon rose, under a half lit dusky sky, over a cup of tea and faint music I had the best adda. My mind spoke miles per minute and my eyes saw imaginings, I found myself again in the middle of an adda with no other participants but myself.


By Iffat Nawaz
*You can contact the writer by emailing nituta@hotmail.c



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