A few home tooths
I’m sick to the back teeth of my teeth. Particularly the back one, a so-called chopper of wisdom. Baloney. This one has been causing me unprovoked grief for several weeks, and even after a course of antibiotics strong enough to blow the #%&! off a bull, it still has the cheek to harbour an infection and remind me that it is no fan of the hot, cold or chewy.
‘And the infection might spread under the other teeth,’ said my dentist, without batting an eyelid. ‘But not to worry, I’ll whip it out.’
Now hang on. My teeth, rather like my cats, can be a total pain in the neck, but I wouldn’t be without them for the world. They are brushed, flossed and nurtured by a collection of quality tools, and yet their bark is still bigger than their bite. This is my second mega dental infection this year. The last one shattered the root and split the tooth. A vision of a gummy grey-haired lady on liquid food passed before my eyes. ‘Slippery slope!’ she whispered.
Couple this weak tooth infliction with an innate, if understandable, fear of dentists (one of my strongest memories as a three-year-old in the1960s is being held down in a dentist’s chair while they put a foul-smelling rubber gas mask over my mouth and nose before extracting an errant horizontal milk tooth) and you will agree that Mother Nature is having a serious smirk at my expense. I have been terrified of dentists ever since.
Now to be fair, I can’t blame Her for having spent half my childhood with half a front tooth: that was thanks to a collision between my seven-year-old face and the metal head of a five-seater playground rocking horse. This, you understand, was long before children’s amusement activities became hopelessly PC. Or dental repair became so advanced.
‘I can’t fix it till she’s sixteen,’ the kindly dentist told my aghast, long-suffering mother.
I have the best school photographs.
But what is it about teeth and society? Why does it feel such a painful failure to have been blessed with lousy, accident-prone teeth? I’d rather admit to having broken my toe tripping over a treadmill than fess up to a cavity. I felt the same appalling sense of pending doom every time the children visited the dentist – one cavity and my parenting skills would be called into question. By me. I hasten to add they are almost seventeen now and, having had the good sense to inherit their father’s teeth genes, they’ve not had a cavity between them.
So here I am – caught between a rock and a hard tooth, with an appointment to extract the said offender. I shall take it on the chin and convince myself losing a little wisdom is better than my sanity should the infection spread and threaten more molars.
Then I shall indulge in a stiff drink and congratulate myself on having kicked that little old lady’s gummy butt.