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“Your temperament’s wrong for the priesthood
And teaching would suit you still less
Son, be a dentist and you’ll be a success.”

I’ve noticed that several of my twitter friends have had dental problems of late and in the spirit of evilness that lives deep in my heart, I thought I’d share my own experiences with you all.

When I was a kid I had buck teeth. I wore braces for several years in an attempt to straighten them out. It was a futile attempt resulting in a hatred of dentists for many years. When I reached the grand old age of 27 I decided that something had to be done to correct the over-jet and lack of chin and underwent a year of cemented on wires and eight hours of reconstructive surgery. It was horrendous and successful – if you don’t count losing sensation in my tongue, chin, lower lip and gums. And truth be told, I don’t. The benefits far outweigh the pain and numbness.

But if you think that is one of my horror stories, you’d be very, very wrong.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I went to the dentist to have a filling in a lower molar. I was numbed and the dentist, let’s call him Useless Old Bugger, started to drill. All was well – until his drill slipped and plunged into the soft flesh under my tongue. Luckily, the novocaine did its job and although I was shocked and horrified, I felt no pain.
Useless Old Bugger stemmed the blood flow with a cotton wool wad and proceeded to attempt to stitch the hole. I say attempted because he couldn’t manage to make the stitches without hitting his instruments against my teeth with his shaking hands. I let him do two, but by the time he was ready to start the third, I’d had enough and ran out of the sugery, tears running down my (swollen) face.

Pretty horrific, don’t you think? But there’s more.

A couple of years ago I had had enough pain from an overly sensitive upper molar. My new dentist tried to fill it and paint over it with who knows what noxious substance to numb the pain, all to no avail. The time had come to have it removed. I made the appointment and didn’t worry. What could possibly go wrong?

On the day the dentist made all the usual small talk and preparatory rituals: x-ray, local anaesthetic, swirl and spit. She waited until I was totally numb and started to pull.

And pull.

And pull.

There was a lot of creaking and bits falling off, but the main body of the tooth? That was going nowhere. Eventually she decided to pack the tooth with dental cement and leave it to the expertise of a surgeon who came to her surgery every few weeks. Let’s just say that the wait for my new appointment was ‘interesting’ and not pain free.

When the surgeon came he gave me a talk about the various options: it might come out (doubtful), he may have to cut it into pieces in order for it to come out (Hm, maybe) or he might have to slit the gum, drill it into many small pieces and remove them one by one, finishing by stitching the gaping whole.

Guess which option came true?

If you think this is the end of my tale then you can’t be aware of the ‘Rule Of Three’ which dictates that if one bad thing happens to Nettie, there will be two more.

So, a year or so later I was having toothache again. Another sensitive tooth needed removing. In case you think I am a manky midden who never brushes, i feel I should tell you that the maxillofacial surgery I had in my twenties left me with prematurely receding gums due to the wire ties around each and every tooth in my mouth around which elastic bands were attached in order to stop my jaw from wandering about into the wrong position.

An extraction was planned and I went along, smiling and hoping this time it would all go swimmingly.


After the usual preamble, the pulling began. And went on and on and on. This time the dentist took matters into her own hands and used the drill to cut the tooth into bits. Still, it wouldn’t move. Her reaction? Hell, let’s use the drill to bore into the bone to loosen the roots.

The feckin’ bone.

All I can say is that it worked. The tooth came out and I lived to tell the tale.

So, the next time you feel that little twinge in your jaw… don’t say you haven’t been warned.


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