Monday, 13 September 2004


I've got good teeth.

13 years ago I went to the dentist because the wisdom tooth that was cutting through was tearing the inside of my cheek. He pulled it out (not enough room in my mouth). He asked me if he could send the tooth to the dental hospital for dental students to study with becuase you seldom got such a good specimen out. I consented (flattery gets you everywhere). He then said I had two others coming through that would have to go as well. One was easy. The other wasn't fully through and I had to go to the Eastman Dental Hospital for it to be taken out. They sawed my jaw bone to get to it and pulling it out was no mean feat - I thought they were going to push me through the floor before the root snapped and it came out. I was ill for a week. They gave me some of those extra strong pink pain killers - I ate a full weeks supply in three days. The taste of blood and chipped away bone hung round in my mouth for ages. That was my last visit.

Subsequently our dentist retired and his practice was taken over by his son. His son has a terrible tick where his whole upper body shakes. Well thats what my dad reports, I never wanted to go see him, even though dad says he has very still hands.

So time goes by and recently I noticed that I have a crack in one of my front teeth and it appears to be crumbling away at one corner. I get nervous. I contemplate going to the dentist. I contemplate it long enough that the dentist's son leaves the practice.

I think of the Marathon Man scene where the dentist drills Dustin Hoffman's teeth without an anesthetic. Its something about the drilling sound and the lack of control...

So finally someone from work recommended a dentist close to our office, I made a spur of the moment appointment and fretted about it all weekend. I had visions of fillings in all my teeth, long lectures and tellings off about my lack of regular visits, lots of tooth wrenching scraping with the metal thing that would leave my teeth feeling loose for two weeks.

Actually it worked out alright. She was thoroughly impressed with my teeth, although mildly worried about my receeding gumline (too much hard brushing). An examination, three x-rays and a clean. Out of pocket by £83. Eighty Three Pounds. When did going to the dentist get so expensive? I figured out by not going for 13 years I've saved over a grand (not that I'd recommend such reckless behavoiur of course). I shall try to go more regularly in future, just so as to avoid the stress but I can't believe the cost.

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