Dental Health Act


This week, I had the dubious pleasure of attending the dentist. This appointment had been made on the back of a quick check-up a couple of weeks back, at which it was decided that certain repairs were necessary in order to maintain my hitherto unsullied state of dental excellence.

I don’t dislike the dentist as much as most people, I would imagine. In some ways, I rather like it. I enjoy the (usually metaphorical) pat on the head for my dental successes. I also relish the playful telling-off for the inordinate delays between checkups and my persistent refusal to use flossing tape between the front incisors.

There’s also quite a pleasant smell in the dentist’s, I feel. You notice it as soon as you step in the front door. It’s an evocative blend of rubber gloves and anxiety-induced sweat. If they bottled it, I would probably buy it.

Anyway, I was shortly ushered into the room to commence my business. I sat while the dentist did a preliminary poke about, and wondered whether she enjoyed staring into people’s gobs all day (some of whom would undoubtedly lack my own indisputable grasp of dental hygiene).

She summarised the restorative steps she intended to take, namely that she would drill a hole in the appropriate tooth (for reasons that were never fully explained) before smearing some synthetic goop over it. It seemed reasonable enough. I got a quick injection in the requisite spot, and we were all set. Just before starting with the oral DIY in earnest, she said ‘just raise your hand if there are any problems’.

What sort of thing did she have in mind? Had she not done everything necessary to forestall any potential mishap? As she bored into my upper-left molar, I kept my attention poised for the first signs of searing, indescribable pain. Which, thankfully, never occurred. I did, however, find myself pondering the fact that actual drilling was taking place in my mouth. That activity which one carries out prior to erecting shelves was currently being carried out within the boundaries of my own body. It’s quite a thought. And a first time, for me.

When she’d done the necessary preparation to apply the sealant, a further thought struck me: that I was being given the very first synthetic addition to the biological equipment I’d been born with. For all intents and purposes, I was now a cyborg. Up until now, I’d usually shunned the idea of having synthetic materials in my mouth. Except perhaps Irn-Bru.

So, I’ve been given a clean bill of health, dentally speaking, and have to wait another year to have another stint in the chair. Perhaps I will, in the intervening period, finally make good on my resolution to take care of my teeth properly. I suspect that future visits to the dentist would be rendered decidedly cheaper, but also less eventful.

Swings and roundabouts…

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