My teeth haven’t been giving me too much trouble all these years, except for a couple of small cavities which I had got filled as soon as I became aware of them. I have been taking good care of them, brushing them very diligently in the morning and at night. Lately,though,I’ve been giving the nightly routine a miss.
Now it appears that too much enthusiasm about dental hygiene isn’t all that good either. A few months ago, when sensitivity in my left upper canine and first two molars increased, I had a dentist in my hometown, who told me that I’d been brushing too hard and that had caused the teeth bone to be worn away near the roots. She filled it up . It took a few minutes and cost me the very reasonable amount of Rs. 900/
For the past several days, the molar next to them had become extremely sensitive and I haven’t been able to even swill water on that side of my mouth without wincing. I couldn’t put off another visit to the dentist. It got that bad.
So there I was, lying prone on the chair/couch or whatever after the preliminary questions of what brought me in etc. Then she asked me to open my mouth to have a look. To make a long story short, I wasn’t given a chance to close it till she had finished doing a root canal, measurements taken for the crown that is to be fitted on Thursday and the molar prepared appropriately for the capping to be done.
In between , x’rays were taken , two other small cavities discovered and filled, the gums needled to make them numb and drilling and dredging done in places which I couldn’t identify because I couldn’t feel anything. I could hear the sounds though and smell the bone particles, which I think was simultaneously suctioned by her assistant . Everything was explained perfectly to my daughter who sat there at a little distance with my grandson, as if I was not there at all and it wasn’t my mouth that was being excavated. It was more as if she was just giving a lecture to a classroom full of aspiring dentists.
My mind’s antenna kept sending signals about the need to ask her about how much this procedure was going to cost. But I was open-mouthed and my daughter was similarly dumbfounded by the constant stream of inputs .My tooth was in a precarious condition and it was the best that could she do to save it . She would try her best or else it would have to be removed and so on. While she was at it, she also discovered that the surfaces of all my molars were being flattened. Did I have a habit of grinding my teeth ? May be I did it at night unknowingly , while sleeping. No problems…she could give me something that I could keep in my mouth while sleeping , so that that piece of rubber could be at the receiving end if any gnawing was carried out.
Finally, we were seated at her table while she she was totalling up the charges and gave the calculator to her assistant to cross check. I get it all wrong sometimes , she explained. My daughter had taken out her card. I don’t know if her breath was bated…mine was.
With good reason…it was a whopping Rs. 19000/
The medicine wore off long ago , but I am still numb.
Ogden Nash couldn’t have described it better, but I have to say that his poem was incomplete. He would have added a few more stanzas had he visited a dentist in Bengaluru.