Thursday, March 09, 2006


I consider myself to be one of the privileged few in my ken who have hitherto escaped the agonies of a visit to the dentist very often.

My few visits* to the Dentist consisted of:
1. Getting my first tooth out at the age of 5,after which ‘I was so brave,I deserved a lolly pop’
2. Getting my upper pre-molars extracted at the age of 11 coz I had buck teeth, and my teeth needed space to fit themselves while they were being forcibly shoved back into my tiny mouth (after which I was so brave, I deserved a lolly pop)
3. Getting my braces removed, and finally being able to see the whites of my teeth again (after which I was so brave, I deserved a nice boy)

* In the interest of the reader, I have mentioned only those visits which were of significance… weekly visits to ‘tighten the band’ have not been noted

I was in a blissful state of ignorance of the torture chair until a few months ago, when I was happily chomping down on a scrumptious paani puri when a pain radiated from my molars that had me breaking out in cold sweat. A thorough investigation carried out by my tongue confirmed that it was indeed my molars that were a bit tender. Never having experienced such a thing before, I though it an aberration, and continued to thoughfully suck air through it for the next few days, to check how much punishment I could take.
As it turns out, I’m pretty chicken, and couldn’t avoid going to the dentist any longer.

It had been quite a while since I visited the dentist’s office, & I felt an odd sense of homecoming when I spotted the magazines that were in the waiting room for our ‘reading pleasure’. It took me just a few minutes to pick out my favourite magazine from the lot- the same one I used to read when I’d visit the dentist for my ‘tightening’ appointment at the age of 12!

Doc, naturally, not having spotted my mug for quite a while failed to recognize me, and taking one look at my grin said, “Ah! I see the spaces. Not to worry. Six months of corrective braces, and the gap between your teeth is as good as gone!”

“But Doc…”

“No, no, no need to worry. It’s completely painless. And if you’re really brave, we’ll give you a lollypop!”

This time I was a bit more forceful in my interjection. “ Doc! I did have braces. You put them on. And you said I looked just fine!”

“I did? Oh. Ah! I see now! Yes, yes… perfect row of teeth. Straight as an arrow. Erm…why are you here again?”

So I set about describing the painful tooth. One grave inspection later comes the verdict-“Yes. I see it. It’s a cavity. And a pretty large one. Looks quite deep… we may have to do a root canal…”

Had I not been spread-eagled in the chair with 3 instruments poking out of my mouth, I would have made the roadrunner seem sluggish. Well, as it turned out, I didn’t need a root canal just as yet, but the verdict was that it was inevitable. Like aging. And death.

But the ordeal wasn’t over just as yet. He wanted to do something called a filling. Now for those of you who haven’t had one, it simply means they scoop out the messed-up portion of your tooth, and fill it in with metal ( here, you’re just hoping that you won’t beep everytime you pass thru’ a metal detector at the airport). Sounds simple enough…
But really not so. First there’s this drill they use to clear out your tooth. A sound so bone jarring, it can only be compared to nails scratching across the blackboard, only, a hundred times worse, coz this stuff’s happening in your mouth! Then you hear those ominous words… “Now hold still. This won’t hurt a bit.” Re-he-he-he-ally? And I’m Queen Latifah!

When it was finally over, I was just so glad to get out of that chair, I swear I didn’t even blink when the doc wrote me up the preposterous bill for filling my mouth with a smidgeon of metal- that wasn’t even gold!

Two days ago, my tooth started to trouble me again. I have firmly told myself to stop being such a baby and just put up with the minor inconvenience. I am also eating out of just one side of my mouth.