Being a slave to my sweet thooth (until I gave up quite recently), a visit to the dentist has never been top of my list. Plus who can afford the second mortgage needed if it turns out you need any major work. Ker-chiing!
Given my passion for all things sweet, sweet and sweet again, I consider myself lucky to still have a full mouth of teeth. Amazed even. I’ve always imagined I would end up like those old people with either only two original teeth left or a mouth full of gleaming dentures. I guess there’s still time right? Bring it on I say – how bad can it be when all you have to do is pop them into a glass of water at night and you’re done! What’s not to like? I will have my Hollywood smile, even if it only comes at the age of 80….
Anyway as my dad was recently diagnosed with gum disease, it focused my mind on my gnashers and off to the dentist I went.
I’d forgotten how much I dreaded it until I was strapped in the chair with my head tipped so far back I lost all blood supply to my feet. Trapped in that submissive position for at least forty minutes. The smiling assassin, masquerading as my dentist was an older Indian lady, with a gentle reassuring manner. Until she pulled out her dental arsenal. The drill, the scraper, the pointy sharp instruments which in any other realm would be considered leathal weapons. The kind of things they frisk you for in airports and then confiscate. And my least favourite, that sucker thing they put in your mouth which both sucks and sprays water, seemingly at the same time.
As I was the last patient of the day, her assistant had gone home and I had to assist in my own dentistry by holding the mini suction and spray contraption in my mouth. She warned me it might be ‘a little uncomfortable’. Dentist-speak for completely agonizing. I could either go with ‘a little uncomfortable’ and take my chances or the option of having an injection into my gum. I mean – come on! What kind of choice is that? It’s no choice is what it is. She knows that and I know that. My early false sense of security melted away. So off we went which consisted of me flailing around like a landed Flounder. At one point almost sliding onto the floor as I wriggled and squirmed with discomfort. All the usual tricks of taking myself off to ‘a happy place’ or desperately staring out the window looking for an interesting distraction were useless. The high-pitched scream of the tartar scraper and my nerve endings, tore me back to reality, like a white-knuckle ride but without the euphoria.
All the while, the dentist is asking questions and making idle chit-chat. Chit-chat with which I was in no position to engage, given the water, the suction the scraper, all going at full pelt in my mouth.
And the reward for all that pain? An empty wallet and a promise to myself not to go back for at least five years. Oh and of course a commitment to floss more often to the dentist.
If you have a spare couple of hundred bucks, masochistic tendencies and enjoy the occasional afternoon participating in your own self-torture. Then do please take a stroll down to your local dentist…..they’ll be very happy to oblige.