Dental stories are compelling.
Usually because what’s being discussed has happened in someone’s mouth. With extreme prejudice. So it’s personal. And quite often gory. If they’re telling the story good. Which makes for a rollicking yarn, oozing with truth.
And we all seek truth, right. Unlike dentists. But we all have them. Teeth, I mean. And so eventually we seek dentists. And with that comes the dental stories. Usually about using, abusing or losing those teeth. Sadly often in that order.
Even the very young, with very few teeth, get their version of a dental story. The tooth fairy. Designed to associate at a tender age in the infant mind, and indeed the parents’, that teeth equate to money. Which may explain why some infants grow up to be dentists. And why many parents put off going to the dentist, for as long as possible. (Because they’re broke.)
But eventually the need becomes irresistible. Distilled down to two choices: dentist or death. Well, it’s probably not that dramatic, until you get to the Pay Wave machine. Because someone was always going to pay. Not just in cash, although that’s a familiar feature of dental stories. But more to the point, in pain. Because the really good dental stories always involve pain. And making that pain go away. By whatever means necessary. NOW!
In the olden days that might have meant tying the tooth to a door and slamming it shut. These days you enter the modern dental suite and are amazed by the gadgets. Chair goes up, chair goes down. Rinse and spit into the vacuum hose and adjust your sunnies before the drilling begins. And the feet get placed on your face. And the wrenching starts. And then the sawing. And then you raise your hand to indicate you’re feeling pain. And then your leg. And then the other leg.
But of course I exaggerate. That’s just the extreme dental stories you like to roll out. The other day I had a version that stunned me. I entered the arena pretty sure I’d put off one too many checks and was now about to pay the price in the time-honoured way – pain. I expected it, I deserved it, I was in it.
Instead, after a battery of X-rays, I was told that rather than the cracked tooth, rampant decay, missing filling, axe in the side of my head that I was experiencing, I had tooth sensitivity. Shocked was my reaction, laced with disappointment. Not that there’d be no root canal work that day, but because the tube of sensitivity toothpaste and soft brush I was given didn’t promise immediate relief.
This was a foreign experience in terms of dental stories and so I asked my dentist, are you sure? I had pain, I had credit card. And he said he was not. Which wasn’t overly reassuring. He had to rule out sensitivity before moving on to all the other nerve-jangling diagnoses.
It was a dental story out of the ordinary in that I experienced no pain, other than the pain I was in, and it didn’t cost me much. But I’m banking, which is always wise with dental stories, that there’s a few more chapters to come.