lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

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Location: Kolkata, India

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Open wide, Missus Em

There are things you depend upon. And then there are things you don't even consider; things that always work, so you depend upon them with realising you do so.

I thought I could depend on my teeth until recently. I thought they were something I needn't worry about. Here is news, folks. You bite into a teeny tiny piece of grit and a part of your tooth is history, the chip ready and available to be sold as a relic.

You follow rules, you observe oral hygiene, you brush your teeth first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and after each meal and you still end up doing an imitation of Edvard Munch's The Scream for the benefit of your dentist? I mean, where is the justice?

Don't mind me. I just came out from the tender care of my dentist. :D

It is not like I am a stranger to dentist's chambers. I wore braces most of my teenage life, and I still wear them in my nightmares. My mother subjected all of her daughters to the care of a dentist. But it was the era when extracting a tooth was only for dire reasons, not in correction of an over-bite, so I endured several years of wearing braces and regular visits to the dentist.

I thought I was shut of dentists in my twenties, until I had to add myself as a statistic to the myth that a woman loses a tooth to each child she bears. I absolutely don't subscribe to that half-baked theory, but I did have to get an impacted wisdom tooth taken out.

The surreal moment of that extraction was when I went for the follow-up examination and the chap said, what seems to be the problem? I spluttered and pointed out that if he could cast his mind back a bit, he might recall extracting a wisdom tooth from my set of pearly whites. He smiled and said, oh, you are my brother's patient.

Good grief! They were identical twins working in a family firm.

Coming back to the present, when I bit into something and it turned out to include a broken-off chip of a molar, I took refuge in a routine I follow when things go wrong. I called and made an appointment. To talk to a person, who for the sake of his anonymity, I will only admit as being our dentist. :D

I suppose I could have lived with a bit of a tooth chipped off, but I somewhat like the idea of being able to eat and drink without wincing. So I went to my dentist.

He doesn't really do this kind of dentistry anymore, but long association and being friends helps. I only wanted advice and a recommendation, anyway. But he took time off from correcting hare-lips and re-molding accident victims' faces and took a look at my chipped tooth. He made a temporary filling and told me to come back the next week for getting it capped properly.

'Don't tell anyone I am doing this, I farm out regular procedures nowadays.' he said. 'No, I won't,' I assured him. 'I'll only publish it online.' :D

I lay on the torture device that is a dentist's chair, and as he worked on the filling I wondered if they worry about the picks and drills and saws they use slipping and making an accidental gash in the mouths they are working on. I wondered if dentists worry about patients biting down on their fingers by accident, too.

Twenty minutes of 'Open wide, please' later, my dentist said, 'Bite, please'. I had to bite a marking paper. 'Don't worry, you won't bite my fingers', he assured me. Once he was satisfied about the bite, he pronounced his job done.

As I recovered control of my mouth, I told him what I had been musing about. He smiled. 'Worse things can happen than a drill slipping', he assured me. Too late, I remembered that he had the horrifying experience of breaking a patient's jaw while trying to extract supernumerary teeth!

That patient was my husband and it was decades ago, but that bonded them and they remained firm friends since then.


Cheers!

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