On Dentists

Been flicking through my Former Journal and contemplating things to copy over here. So for starters, here’s the woebegone tale of me having to have a wisdom tooth extracted.

In order to fully appreciate this story, there are a few things you probably need to understand.

1) I am petrified of dental procedures. Even going for a check up I sit in the waiting room and cry like a baby.

2) I have always had a complete phobia of the idea of having a wisdom tooth out.

3) The National Health Service in the UK, whilst it is a remarkable piece of political engineering with a good, solid set of standards at its heart, moves about as quickly as a really slow thing that’s moving really, really slowly.

So, picture the scene. There I am, going for my check up with my Very Nice Dentist who makes the noise I dread hearing at the dentist’s. It’s that sort of clicking of the tongue (which engineers make when they look at your broken appliances). “Oh dear,” he said. “That’s going to have to come out.”

After a few moments of panic, sense kicks in and ask what my options are. We get it down to basics, which is the application of light anaesthesia whilst in the dentist’s chair, he’ll pop the old dear out and Bob’s your aunty’s live-in lover. “Alright then,” I dubiously agree. An appointment is made for the following weekend…

…by which time I am a complete and utter wreck. I haven’t slept for the past four days so I turn up at the surgery with my (now ex) boyfriend and quite literally have to be dragged in. I sit there with my sleep-deprived eyes wide open like those of zombies and am reassured by the Very Nice Dentist (henceforth referred to as the VND) that it’ll all be OK, and will all be over soon.

I remember…

…the injection going into the back of my hand and the application of the anaesthesia.
…mumbled conversation.
…’coming round’ in the next room with a very concerned VND standing over me.

“Is it done?” I say, only I don’t, of course. It comes out more like “Ishbkjserkn aohne?”

“Unfortunately not,” he says, understanding me with that uncanny ability that dentists have to understand people whose mouths are filled with fingers, cotton wool and metal in varying proportions. “You didn’t react well to the anaesthetic, so we had to keep giving you oxygen to bring you round. I don’t want to risk it any more. So I’ll refer you to the hospital, get it done under general anaesthetic – we’ll get them all done at the same time that way.”

This is really what it was like. Really. For REALLY REALS.

“….,” I reply, effortlessly pronouncing a row of dots.

That’s when I notice the pain. The extreme pain. I mean, pain that makes me want to just curl up into the foetal position and swear to be a better person. Fortunately, VND prescribes me horse-felling painkillers and sends me on my way in the care of (now ex) boyfriend. Who for some reason feels the need to visit the supermarket on the way.

Bear in mind, please, that most of the time I’m a little … well, zany, really. Even though that makes me sound like a reject from a 1950′s sitcom. But when I’m high on a mixture of anaesthesia and painkillers, believe you me, laughing uncontrollably at a pyramid-stacked display of breakfast cereal seemed like the logical thing to do.

Cereal. Endlessly entertaining.

She totally looked like this, I suspect.

(Now ex) boyfriend whisked me away.

So a week passes, and I hear nothing.

Another week and there I am on my diet of co-codamol and fresh air (because a half-extracted wisdom tooth REALLY isn’t conducive to food) wondering what’s happening.

Because I’m British, I politely wait another few days, then ring up the hospital.

“Ah, yes, hello,” I say, in my most polite phone voice. “I’m wondering when I might get this frightful little chap ripped from my mandible?”

“Just a minute,” says the automaton at the end of the phone, putting me on hold so I can listen to the first six bars of ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ over and over and over. “Yeah,” she says, finally returning from what I suspect is her sunbed session. “It’s like this, innit? There’s a six munf waitin’ list jus’ to see the consultant. An’ then, dependin’ on ‘ow bad ‘ee finks it is, there’s an up-to-two year list for the operation.”

A pause.

“Innit.”

“Why, thank you, my good woman,” I reply, returning the telephone to its cradle and making a number of gestures at it that wouldn’t go amiss in an 18-rated film. I proceed to pick it up again and dial the VND.

“Ah, yes, good afternoon, Mr. Verynicedentist. Would you mind dreadfully injecting me to the high heavens and ripping this tooth out of my face? Only the pain is now so bad that I fear I may become so psychotic I might start watching soap operas.”

“Not at all,” he says, pleasantly and makes me an appointment for that very afternoon.

An appointment which, for the first time in LIVING HISTORY sees me arrive a full twenty minutes early. For a dentist appointment.

To cut a long story short, the VND extracted said wisdom tooth, laughing the whole while because I was lying in the chair making loud ‘la la la la la la la’ noises. He claimed he had never been serenaded before.

And out it came.

And of course, the first thing I did was say “Oooooh! Lemmee see!”

And that is my wee tale of toothy woe.

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4 thoughts on “On Dentists

  1. Mossy says:

    Ooh! Let US see!

    …what, you didn’t take a picture of the bloody lump of bone that got torn out of your skull?

  2. Tink says:

    I am so glad when I had to have mine out, I was sent straight to the hospital with very little waiting at all, and was given my op almost straight away.

    Trying to get a broken tooth fixed the following year and having had six appointments in six months cancelled one after the other, that’s when I went private.

  3. Jamie says:

    I feel for you :( had all my wisdom teeth out under GA but unlike you it was lucky I did. The one that was the cause of the procedure to twice as long as predicted to tear from my jaw due to a twisted root.

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