Brother’s agony led to change
By the time you read this, relaxing in comfort somewhere, I shall have endured an hour in the dentist’s chair.
Apparently my molars are crumbling away with age and over-use, probably like the rest of me. But I consider myself fortunate; I’m in good hands.
With mouth wide open and conversation silenced by all the instruments in it, the highly professional surgeon and nurse peer down at me intently – leaving ample time to think of past dental nightmares.
Like the haunting scene when, as a boy in short trousers accompanied by his distraught mother, I watched in horror as my older brother had all his teeth pulled out.
Michael must have had gum disease which, nowadays, would have probably been spotted much earlier and suitably treated. Instead, aged only in early teens, he was heading for dentures.
Mike was duly gassed then, while the unconscious patient drooled blood, an ageing dentist propped one knee up on my brother’s lap and frantically yanked out teeth before the poor lad came round.
After witnessing that I brushed my own more eagerly! That was back in days of yore, when dentists had belt-driven drills which sounded like angle grinders and pain was only to be expected. Nowadays I don’t even feel the needle’s soothing pinprick.
Working overseas wasn’t much better. In the Far East it was only sensible, if you could afford it, to go private – though they tended to line their pockets by filling any available cavity. Dentists drilled into me with rapacious ruthlessness. It was a wonder I didn’t set off metal detectors at the airport.
We’re no longer dependent on NHS and a private insurance scheme permits me the latest high-tech UK dentistry at reasonable costs. Hopefully, by the time you finish this newspaper, I’ll be sporting two new crowns - and a relieved smile.
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