“Some tortures are physical and some mental; one that is both is dental!”–Ogden Nash
Dentist- the word itself strikes terror in my heart.
I remember the first time I visited the dentist. I was terrified. I had visions of painful poking and prying of my delicate oral insides. I just had to get a cavity filled. When I came out after the scary session, I had a bewildered expression on my face. It wasn’t painful! It was so bad! Dentists aren’t the most dangerous creatures on earth!
The next time I went for a check-up, I wasn’t feeling so worried. You see, I thought I had a cavity. But, he thought I needed Root Canal Therapy. When I heard the capital letters in his tone, my heart skipped a tooth- I mean- a beat.
Those 45 minutes I spent in his chair the next day, I can say undoubtedly, were some of the worst in my life. I don’t remember much of the details except for water shooting, drilling, loads of saliva and gag reflex; this much with my tendency to block unpleasant memories in my mind. Another thing I remember- rather, can’t forget- I had nightmares of the session for two nights after that. This, in addition to the psychological trauma of having gained an artificial tooth at the tender age of 15…
After this one visit, I thought I had enough of dentists to last me my life. But, that wasn’t to be. Two years later, the crown that was supposed to be my tooth forever, came off- in my physics class, while I was sucking a coffee bite secretly. Rather awkward as gathered…
So, my third visit saw the dentist using all his strength to push the crown back in position so it could stay in position. Again, I thought: enough!
Irony of life: two years later, my crown came off again! This time I was preparing for my anatomy pracs and eating a bar one…I knew anatomy means no good to me!
My fourth visit…during my summer hols at home: I came back depressed. It wasn’t just a crown I needed, he said, I also needed SIX fillings and scaling- making for an entire ONE AND A HALF HOUR session!
There is something so incredibly undignified about sitting in that chair with your mouth wide open and that guy poking and prodding around with his tools…rather gives the sense of your oral cavity having become a site of archaeological dig. As Ogden Nash said,
“So hard to give your usual effect of cheery benignity
When you know your position is one of the two or three in life most lacking in dignity
And your mouth is like a section of road being worked on
And it is all cluttered up with stone crushers and concrete mixers and drills and steam rollers.”
I feel like writing an ode to that poet…he captured my feelings so well, I’m sure he had also just returned from the dentist himself when he penned that poem.
As dad and I walked back home, huddled under the umbrella, he put his arm round me for comfort. My face resembled that of a puppy who lost his bone. Dentists were re-established in my head as the most dangerous creatures on the planet- they not only tell you happily that you are robbed of good God-given teeth; they also follow it up by robbing your pocket! Dentist sessions are, I realized that day, damned costly!
When we reached home that sad night and gave the report to my “family”, mom morphed into a drama queen; to gramps it was the end of the world as he knew it and Pixie……SHE LAUGHED!