Against my better judgement, I watched some (but not all) of last night’s ITV documentary about dental surgery – based around Manchester’s University Dental Hospital.
It’s reasonable to suppose that most people are apprehensive about a trip to the dentist. For some it’s a fear of needles, for others it’s the drill, but whilst I’m not exactly thrilled at the prospect of pain or discomfort, my fear – and trust me it’s a very real fear – is something (titter ye not) being put in my mouth... or worse still left in my mouth.
I’m not sure if there is a reason, or was a trigger, but I have such a violent gag reflex that I can’t even do something as simple as holding a pencil between my teeth for more than a few seconds before the reflex kicks in. I now use hands for most of my carrying...
I remember one visit to a dental hospital many moons ago, where this young and presumably recently qualified dentist decided to take an impression of my teeth. I told him I’d try to relax, but basically he had no chance. He just laughed and said he’d done this loads of times before... well not to me he bloody hadn’t.
He touched my tongue and that was enough, and he gave up very quickly, mumbling something about never having seen anyone react quite like that.
Well it wasn’t like I hadn’t warned him.
Much more recently I had to have a couple of hospital procedures, both of which ended in “oscopy”. It wasn’t the prospect of the nether end camera that was bothering me, but the throaty one. I’d asked to be given a sedative - actually I’d asked to be put to sleep – but once again, someone else knew better. Just a quick squirt of antiseptic spray on the back of the throat and the rest would apparently be a piece of cake - obviously not literally because I’d been nil by mouth (and, incidentally, plenty by bottom as a result of whatever “cleansing solution” I’d taken the night before).
One squirt, I gagged, and then bizarrely began shaking from head to foot. The next thing I can remember is the tube being removed from my mouth, the procedure successfully completed courtesy of something injected into the back of my hand when I wasn’t looking, and a nurse gently stroking what little hair I have left. The “other end-oscopy” was fine apart from being told there was going to be “one last push which might hurt” (words I hope never to hear again).
He pushed... it hurt... and I let out an “ooh” that could only be described as “camp”. Not great for the image...
Not to worry, everything was fine and even better, for the next hour or so, I found I could fart almost at will. I really wanted to stroll through the ward and treat the nurses and patients to my version of Stranger on the Shore, but Elaine arrived to take me home and the moment was gone.
Anyway, back in Manchester, various children were suffering the consequences of too many sweets, toffees and chocolate – one poor kid had eleven teeth extracted. Parents were interviewed and one woman in particular said she let her son eat all the crap he wanted, and if he lost his teeth, then so be it. Well that’s pretty much what happened, and the mother might just be regretting those words after her son was left facing several toothless years, and half her weekly benefits had been nabbed by the tooth fairy.
That said my own teeth aren’t exactly perfect; they may be wonky, but at least they’re all mine. Irrational or otherwise, the fear I have has probably grown over the years, but I’m all too well aware of what could happen if I didn’t keep going for regular check-ups. That said did last night’s programme make me think about stopping eating chocolate? No...
But did I go straight upstairs and clean my teeth (even though I’d only brushed them an hour earlier). Oh yes... and I flossed like I’d never flossed before.
And that’s just about it for today’s blog. See you in six months.