I wasn’t looking forward to it. I’ve always viewed going to the dentist to be as much fun as……well, going to the dentist.
My concerns were not allayed when I was in the waiting room and one of the dentists entered and asked the receptionist if she had a screwdriver.
The dentist was unknown to me but insisted on making small talk about the weather and holidays while she moved about behind me making a sinister noise which sounded disturbingly similar to sharpening a knife.
One of my front teeth had essentially disintegrated until all that was left was filling.
This is not uncommon in my mouth where the ratio of natural tooth to man-made formula has shifted dramatically to the latter in recent years. In essence I’m a dental cyborg.
The dentist patiently explained that she believed it could be filled rather than crowned but that a normal filling would be aesthetically offensive. In other words I would have a big black tooth at the front of my mouth.
She said I could get a white filling but it would be more expensive. I asked about getting a gold one and she laughed at the absurdity of the suggestion. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I wasn’t joking. I went for the white one.
She continued with the usual process of injecting, drilling, poking, sighing, and forcing while her assistant seemed intent on forcing a plastic tube down my throat as if I was Ian Brady on hunger strike.
Half an hour later I was back out in the street and wandering around slightly dazed (a result of the price, not the dental work).
Unwisely I went straight for lunch at a local cafe, ordering a flat white, soup and sandwich. I had not taken into account that my mouth was still frozen up and most of the food ended up spread across my face and shirt. Several of the other diners shot quick glances at me and smiled sadly.
The anaesthetic was so effective that it had frozen the whole left side of my face, including the eye. This led to my mouth drooping and tears streaming out of my eye without me being able to control the actions.
The whole effect was that I didn’t just look like a stroke victim, I looked like a particularly unhappy stroke victim.
I’ve been to the dentist more times in the past couple of years than in my whole life. Years of not looking after my oral health has caught up with me with a series of fillings, extractions and root canal work.
I ignored the warnings, I’m paying the price and the end result is not pretty to look at. It’s like my teeth are acting out their own miniature version of The Keith Richards Story.