Upper Left 8 Missing

I have known my Dentist since he left Dentist School and became qualified.

I’ve never worked out why anyone decides that, given in life you have the choice to be anything you want to be (except for possibly a Rocket Scientist – although I think G is heading that way), would you decide on a career that involves groping around in other people’s mouths for eight hours a day? The only other pursuit possibly more unlikable is that of the Analologist, or Rectalologist, or Gastroenterologist to give the proper title. Who in their right mind sits at school and thinks “I know, I’ll become a doctor who specialises in looking up people’s expulsion pipe?

At the time, my reasoning for attending such an inexperienced dentist was that as he was ‘up’ on all the newest developments of tooth care. If he remained in my locale, his services would outlive my need for them! I have yet to find a single person in known Christendom who likes taking a trip to the dentist. Once every six months to lay back and open wide, while someone behind a mask delves into your pearly gnashers, or less than pearly in many cases, is for most people the last thing they find an attractive or pleasurable pastime.  As I still have some teeth in my head that remain fixed, my dentist will count down from the left side of my farthest wisdom molar (upper left 8) to my number one front tooth and then back up the right side to number 8 again. That is the top row, now for the lower set…… I hasten to add his counting is interspersed with words such as “missing”.

Many years ago, I needed a tooth pulling, as in his opinion it was “a bit wobbly”. I maintain that having a wobbly tooth isn’t a prerequisite to it needing pulling if there’s no pain in said tooth. However, as in his opinion it would cause damage to the teeth on either side, pull it he must. I suggested that as it was so loose, he could surely do it without novocaine or gas and just get on and do it. I dislike the dribbling-whilst-numb that always accompanies the hours following a pain killing injection. As for gas, I can’t remember seeing a set up since the 70’s where a dentist employs the method any more.

Back to the removal, he took a firm grip with his pliers and whilst his assistant held my head, he wrenched my tooth, with a sideways twisting motion, halfway free. I say, that smarts!

He asked me if I was ok, or would I now like an injection? Struggling not to land one on his exposed jaw that was well within my reach, I asked him to hurry up and complete his horrendous task while I still had power over my ability to sit on my hands. Releasing his grip, getting a better purchase, he wrenched sideways in the opposite direction and out popped the tooth, roots and all. A lovely, perfectly formed, pearly white tooth with strong roots that looked like they could stand the test of time, until time for me should be no more. In fact, it looked so good, I thought that if he could just put it back, I would be happy to look after it for the foreseeable future.

It was at this point that my dentist decreed that my tooth will be the last tooth he would ever pull without first administering painkilling drugs! For me, wobbly tooth gone, I had no dribbling and to be fair, little pain, as the initial discomfort in the removal process soon subsided with self-administered paracetamol. In all fairness to my dentist, removing a tooth that potentially could have caused long term problems to teeth either side of the wobbler, was a job well done.

Thirty years on, I have just returned from my most recent trip to the same dentist. We’ve both lost hair somewhere along the way and what is left has turned a subtle shade of white in places, but we still meet up once every six months or so for the lay back and delve routine.

He has x-rayed, drilled, capped, crowned, cleaned and polished his way through thousands of my pounds! I am sure he plans his holidays around my visits, but for me it is money well spent. We aren’t friends, as I fail to see how anyone who causes so much pain physically, as well as financially, could possibly be called a friend, but we are at least on six monthly speaking terms – unless he has his utensils inside my mouth!

Carry on regardless!


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