It’s amazing how much damage a minute sliver of bone can do to a tooth. The bane of my life is bone shards in mince bought from supermarkets. How I long for the days of the friendly butcher who valued his reputation too much to allow a bone to even catch sight of his mincing machine! Supermarkets have priced them out of the market, taking with them the personal touch and consistent quality. However, back to the tooth.
I felt it the instant it lodged between two molars. That slight squeeze. Out with the toothpick (floss won’t make the gap.) Scratch, scratch. Nothing. For four days I peered into the dental darkness, seeing the chip but not able to dislodge it. Finally I succumbed to the floss. Ping! Half a filling on the floor. You know how a hole in a tooth feels like the Big Hole of Kimberley, right? Now it would have to be the dreaded dentist. It has taken me 60 years to try and overcome my fear of dentists after the traumatic experiences as a child and I know things are far advanced now, but I still fear an injection of any form. The last time I went to a dentist, I had cracked the corner off a tooth on a piece of pork crackling and I just wanted the sharp bit filed down. The young lady obliged, putting in a temporary filling which would come out the next week, when I came for the root canal and implant. Needless to say, I didn’t return for said root canal and implant, and the temporary filling fell out the next day.
An even younger lady welcomed me into her parlour, the requisite dark blue lounger deceptively upright as she started to poke a sharp instrument in between my teeth and scratch at the surface of the scene of the crime. ‘This will feel weird’, she said comfortingly and asked questions while I had a suction hose, poking stick and a few fingers in my mouth. ‘Yes, I see how that piece of bone would be irritating you. I’ll remove that once the numbness sets in. Just a few x-rays, I’ll take out that nasty plaque, clean up the tooth and fill it, then polish them all nicely.;
At no stage did I open my eyes and I allowed her to get on with the job, being an expert and all, and the injection did sting a little and the scraping was a little excruciating, but I didn’t flinch or shriek. When it was all over, I was totally impressed about how efficient and competent she was and told her I hadn’t felt a thing as I have a very high pain threshold. ‘Yes, you must have, as most people would have raised their hands often!’ I didn’t know there was a dentist/patient hand signal.
Having been relieved of the cost of a year’s entry to all the game parks in South Africa, I left with shining pearlies, a rejuvenated tooth and confirmation that my teeth don’t need any further attention for many years. As long as I don’t bite anything hard.
(Thoroughly recommend this dentist, by the way!)