Monday, 21 November 2011

Smile........if it kills you.

Sad to relate, the beautiful smile on the left is not mine.

Never was, never could have been.

Teeth, in my opinion, are a pain, often from the very beginning.  Even more so as time wears on, and sadly for some, a distant memory as life's cycle is complete.

Mine were fairly good until the age of 14 when I had my
first close encounter with a dentist.

No-one had warned  me, so I took my seat in his 'chair' with only minor trepidation.  A mere 30 seconds later
my agonised shriek had met with a savage "For heaven's sake it's only a drill", and my life-long terror of dentists was born,

From the day my tortured teeth inadvertently closed on the thumb of that same dentist, I have feared and shunned the company of even the finest practitioners of this form of legitimate torture.

Having to 'see' a dentist and my hatred and fear of drills has resulted over the years in my demanding that the offending gnashers be removed, rather than filled.  This has not always succeeded and I have at least six teeth with fillings, plus as many gaps where teeth once were.

When John, who had very poor teeth, and had had 'plates' with false ones most of his adult life, had to have almost every last one removed, he was lucky enough to find a truly wonderful dentist.  She was very local, and was a lovely human being, as well as a very good dentist.

A tiny (5 foot, and about 7 stone), South African, she was gentleness personified.  Both John and I adored her, and I continued to see her once a year for my check-up after his death.

Yesterday, during the Sunday service at St. Mary's I found it increasingly difficult to sing, and by the end of the service had quite severe pain in a tooth at the top left right at the back of my mouth.

Since I had believed this tooth, which is crowned, to be 'dead' I was a bit worried, and instead of doing my usual Monday morning stint at St. M's, rang the dentist and got an emergency appointment and headed off to see my little South African friend, only to discover she has left the practice and returned back to South Africa.

All my old fears started up again and warning the young man who invited me to take a seat in the 'chair', that I was a devout coward and inclined to yell before I was hurt, I was told not to worry, that he would guarantee not to hurt me and that I should just raise a hand if I wanted him to stop.

Needless to say he was just as gentle as his predecessor and took an Xray, removed a bit of 'plastic' which was tight around the tooth - no idea how or where - and gave me some anti-biotics just in case.

Sometimes I have to admit, even my well-practised cowardice is totally unjustified.

Sorry about the change of script/font  whatever, don't know what happened.  No surprises there.


  1. Oh what a gorgeous set of teeth - If only....

  2. Ouch - my teeth are aching in sympathy, Ray. I too have dreadful memories of teenage dental treatment before the age of local anaesthetics, but things really have changed nowadays, thank goodness.

  3. Dear Ray,
    Hello, I'm a new reader of your blog. Perpetua gave me the site and I'm so pleased she did.

    As to teeth--mine have always been bad and the first dentists I met were like yours. Fortunately, I now see a dentist who has that gentle way that encourages me to keep, and not cancel, my appointments.

    I suspect your so-called "cowardice" was justified before. I'm glad that now you have a dentist whose ways are gentle and whose voice is soft.

    Peace. I'll be reading you again!

  4. It's a comfort to know my terror is shared Jane.

  5. Yes indeed Freda, a beautiful image, but alas, just that.

  6. I know what you mean about teeth aching in sympathy Perpetua, the mere mention of the word 'dentist' sets up cringing images.

  7. Hello Dee, welcome to the asylum. If indeed you do read me again you will soon discover what an apt description that is.
    Yes, it is a relief that 'human' dentists are now inhabiting the UK surgeries. My early encounters were with an altogether different species.

  8. Oh my ... could I relate?!! I have a long list of mouth maladies - dental and other :)

    I have inheritated a good many good things from my family of origen. Good teeth DNA is not one of them. I've had grafts & crowns, implants & partials; fills & pulls; not to mention a huge drain on my bank account.

    Well, thank the good Lord that we can still smile.


  9. You speak for yourself Kathleen. If I tried a smile, particularly a wide one, I'd catch pneumonia from the wind whistling through the gaps in my teeth.
    I'm sure inherited DNA does have a lot to do with it.
    It can't all be our fault can it?

  10. I'm also a coward when it comes to dentists. My next 6-monthly check up is 10 days ahead and I'm already getting nervous, even though there's been no work needed for a long time and my current dentist is gentle, swift and efficient. I blame a particularly frightening dentist of my childhood who looked like a big gorilla and complained about my 'uncontrollable tongue behaviour'. I suppose I was using my tongue to try to push his instruments away.

  11. At least you only used your tongue Nancy, I bit my first dentist. The phrase "Divine Retribution" comes to mind.
    Perhaps a time will come when we will be born with plastic teeth. Just think of the misery that would save.
    Oh, and by the way, if this is a cowardice competition, my 6 monthly appointment is a 'yearly' one.