Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Call of the Dentist


My first memories of the world of Dentistry was as a kid when i saw my grand father's dentures perpetually lying besides his bed , immersed in a bowl of water  after every major meal. Needless to say,  as a seven year old, i found this hilarious.  Once he passed away, so did the memories.  They came back when it was time for my parents to get their sets.  A few years later, while still in my 30s, i had to get a Pre Molar extracted.  A decade later, the dentist has beckoned me again :)

A few days back, hubby  complained of a toothache.  "Let's go to the dentist," i said.
"No need.  Ill just take a few  painkillers"
"Are you sure?"
So, with consultation of the neighborhood Chemist he took a few painkillers.  A day passed by.  Another day. and he was still in pain.  Mean while i too started feeling a pain in my tooth. But i ignored it.  I felt it was nothing like hubby's pain.

The next day he came back from work nursing his right jaw, his hands covering his right cheek.
"What happened?" I asked , a trifle worried.
"Its getting worse"
"I told  you, you need to go to the dentist"
It was finally decided that hubby would go the the neighborhood dentist the next morning.  Since my younger daughter needed to buy uniform for her newly started Hospitality course post graduation, i had to go with her to Delhi. So it was decided that my eldest daughter who works in shifts would accompany Dad to the Dentist.

As we came back from Delhi in the evening, i asked hubby what was the problem.  "Root Canal".
"O really", i said in surprise .  'I have heard of it.  Its a pretty elaborate procedure. When do you have to go?
"Tomorrow . 10 a.m."
"Ill go with you.  You know i too am having  pain in my tooth.  Don't know what the problem is."
"Consult the Doc"
I don't  know, but i can't eat from the right side."
I wondered whether it was a case of kharbooza ko dekh kar kharbooza rang  badalta hai or a sheer coincidence.  "I have  still time to decide", i consoled myself.

The next morning we promptly reached the Dentist's clinic by 10 a.m.  Surprisingly  there were two other people already waiting.  Inspite of the appointment, we had to wait for half an hour before the assiatant  called hubby and told him to meet the Dentist.

The assistant came again and turned on the TV in the waiting lounge.  Yes, this Dentist  has a very spacious and well maintianed , spic and span clinic and is always busy.

I watched the news on Aaj Tak.  A man with a revolver was found walking alongside Rahul Gandhi's padyatra in UP.  He had  covered Aligarh  yesterday and spent  the night at a villager's place , sleeping on a cot without Cooler and had  dal roti for dinner.  Today he was supposed to visit Kurukshetra.  The TV showed a smiling, waving , Rahul Gandhi sitting on a horse carriage, just like Arjun in that moment of enlightenment during war time of Mahabharat.

Next it was " Mahesh ,Vishnu in danger"

Apparently the Ice Lingam in Amarnath had shrunk from 16 feet to 8 feet.  This was highly disturbing for the devotees of Amarnath Yatra.  As many as  30,000 devotees were visiting on a daily basis instead  of the 10,000  and the Management was alarmed at what would happen at this rate  on the day of Rakshabandhan........

Meanwhile a secret trove of lockers had been unearthed in the Vishnu temple in Thiruvananthapuram.  Four of these lockers had been opened and jewellery and gold worth crores  had been unearthed.  The debate was  on how to open the remaining  locker whose key had been lost.......

And then the lights went off.  I realized i had been waiting for more than an hour and hubby was still inside.

Since the pain in my jaw was getting worse by the minute , i had already told the assistant that i too needed to get my tooth checked and see the Doc.

Finally the assistant came and told me i could go and meet the Doc.

As i walked inside i saw hubby, once again nursing his right jaw.
"Is it done?"

I walked towards the dentist's chair, removed my slippers and lay on the chair.  The assistant came and started lowering the chair.  A bit.  A bit more. And finally i was lying  almost at 180 degrees.

The Doc came and asked, " What is the problem?"
I opened my mouth and pointed a finger at my right Pre Molars. " It is paining here"
The Doc touched my teeth with gloved hands.  "here?"
Not content with that,  he picked up a dental instrument akin to a small hammer  and tapped my teeth mercilessly with it.

"X ray karo", he instructed his assistant.

The asssitant came and placed an instrument against my cheek.
" aap mooh ko dheela chodo" he said, inserting a tiny X ray  piece of paper in my mouth.
"dheela chodo", he repeated
I tried to relax my mouth muscles
" Aur dheela"
 I tried once again, but he wasn't impressed.
I tried further. finally it was over.
He took out the X ray sheet and walked  out of the room.

He came back and handed the sheet to the waiting doc.
The doc raised it to the light of the chair and examined grimly.
30 seconds later he said, "Two Root Canals"
"Two ?" i asked incredously
"Yes, two", he repeated

"What is wrong?"
"Your two molars have been damaged... partial decay. We need to give local  anesthesia , drill a little, cut and remove the nerves , fill it with mixture and later give a capping".
"When can you do this?"
"Come at 5 in the evening"

My second session was the treatment part.  To cut a long post short, it involved pricking, prodding, poking and the famous dentist's drilling.  The Doc was adept at his job and an hour and half later i was back home with instructions and medication.

I was reminded of a poem by Ogden Nash, which i had read in my daughter's English Literature course book, while she was in school.  I remember laughing my heart out when i read the poet's description.  Take a look:


One thing I like less than most things is sitting in a dentist chair with my mouth wide open.

And that I will never have to do it again is a hope that I am against hope hopan.

Because some tortures are physical and some are mental,

But the one that is both is dental.

It is hard to be self possessed

With your jaw digging into your chest,

so hard to retain calm

When your fingernails are making serious alterations in your life line or love line or 
some other important line in your palm,

So hard to give your usual cheerful effect of benignity

When you know your position is one of the two or three in life most lacking in dignity

And your mouth is like a section of road that is being worked on

And it is cluttered up with stone crushers and concrete mixers and drills and steam

rollers and there isn't a nerve on your head that aren't being irked on.

Oh some people are unfortunate to be worked on by thumbs,
And others have things done to their gums,

And your teeth are supposed to being polished

But you have reason to believe they are being demolished.

And the circumstances that adds to your terror

Is that it's all done with a mirror,

Because the dentist may be a bear, or as the Romans used to say, only they were 

referring to a feminine bear when they said it, an ursa,

But all the same how can you be sure when he takes his crowbar in one hand and 

mirror in the other he won't get mixed up, the way you do when try to tie a bow tie

 with the aid of a mirror, and forget that left is right and vice versa

And then at last he says, That will be all, but it isn't because he then coats your 

mouth from cellar to roof

With something I suspect is generally used to put shine a horse's hoof,

And you totter to your feet and think, Well it's over now and after all it was only this once,

And he says come back in three months

And this O Fate, is I think the most vicious that thou ever sentest,

That Man has to go continually to the dentist to keep his teeth in good condition

When the chief reason he wants his teeth to be in good condition is so that he won't 

have to go the dentist.

But today when i Googled it and read it again, i found no humor.  It was all pain. 
I hope God gives me no more trouble with my teeth.  And no prizes for guessing what's for dinner tonight, with both hubby and me having tooth treatment.  Good old Khichdi.

Signing off with hopes of a  Dental free life!



  1. Ha, ha...I dread going to a dentists. Once you open your mouth he is bound to find some problem or the other.

  2. @ Alka so true. They can see things we cant :)

  3. Ogden Nash is what i am always reminded of! :( Nice post

  4. I am a regular at the dentist... I have a set of silver capped molars and pre-molars. I am sure you must have noticed when we met! ;)

    I hope you have no more dental trouble!

  5. Ohhh I HATE dentists. I wish we could shoot down all of them!! Or pull their teeth out one by one, and then hammer them back in, but in wrong places. Sorry, kuch zyada ho gaya :-)

  6. @ Divenita Yes his poem is very close to the truth

    @ Writerz lol That is the feeling i get too. Wud luv to hammer their teeth :)

    @ Shail Yes I noticed. don't we all need them as age catches on us?

  7. Oh poor you. I have a badly discolored tooth, and need to go to the dentist, but keep putting it off. Love that poem

  8. @Ritu I know, one cant do without dentists as one grow older. I too think that the poem is so true, right on bang!

  9. Your post has just reminded me that I have put going to a dentist for like say forever. :-P

    Loved your post.

  10. All the best. I not only have caps, but bridges too. Don't worry, it will be fine in a few days. all the best for the rest of the treatment.

  11. My complete sympathies to you over all that digging . I've run the gamut of injections in the gums for anesthesia, digging, exploring, pulling, bridging, filing, and even installing small pillar type rods to hold up sides of gums . Almost feel like a building myself.

    By the way, have you had wisdom teeth extracted ? just asking :-)

  12. @ Ugich Thanks! No i never got the wisdom teeth extracted :)

  13. Thank you for sharing your experience, I enjoyed reading about it a lot.

  14. Going to the dentist is like a horror story to me and I could fairly relate to your tale. Although today, I'm glad my doctor at cosmetic dentist Sydney clinic won my trust and it doesn't bother me anymore.

    1. HI Andie, welcome to my Blog. Hopefully today's dentists will be softer with their hammers........ :)