My Dates with Dentists

I had just stepped into a dentist office and I read this inspiring quote 'To extract is human but to restore is divine'. That sums up the dreary dictum of dentists. Have we ever come back from a dentist hearing good news about our teeth? No! It's always bad news. Dentistry means drilling, filling and billing.

Everyone dreads a dentist's chair. It is the second worst fear after public speaking. My dates with dentists date back to my childhood. I was just eight and was sitting on that dentist's chair and he said sweetly, 'Hi son, open your mouth, Let me see if you have fine teeth.' And I opened ' 'AAAHHHHH!' He started examining my teeth and suddenly I bit his fingers. He was screaming in pain. My father rushed in and asked, 'Why did you do it my son?' I just pointed to the name board'Dr Ghazanfar, Painless Dentist'.

I had just a cavity in my molar tooth. He made a mountain out that molar inventing four more. He then asked my father what kind of filling he should use. Hearing it, I snapped back- 'Chocolate or Ice cream filling please!' On my next date, he informed my father that a tooth needed extraction. My father asked, 'What is the fee doctor?' He said 'Fifty rupees.' My penny-pinching father made a bargain note- 'Doctor, Fifty rupees for just five minutes of job!' The dentist retorted dauntlessly, 'I can extract slowly, if you want'.

When I was 20, I had my first root canal treatment. The dentist kept on digging and digging and finally the canal became as wide as the Suez Canal. He then said I needed a bridge to fill the gap. I felt like telling I cannot pay the toll. Fed up, I enquired him- 'Doctor, don't you get tired of spending the whole day with your hands in my mouth?' He said, 'No, my son, I just think that I am putting my hands in your wallet'. I then realized that all dentists lead a hand-to- mouth existence. A dentist is like a magician who, having put metal in your mouth pulls coins from your pocket.

Recently I took my wife to a dentist. While she was getting ready to leave, I told her the story of a couple who went to meet a dentist. When the couple reached the dentist's office, the man who was in a big hurry told the dentist. 'Doctor, no fancy stuff! No painkillers please! Just pull the tooth and get it over with!' The dentist looked at him admiringly and said, ' I wish all my patients had your courage. Good! Now, show me your tooth'. The man suddenly turned to his wife, 'Honey, show your tooth'. Well, I reassured my wary wife that it would be a painless one.

My wife sat on the chair and the dentist started examining her teeth. Suddenly my wife uttered a huge cry. Surprised, the doctor remarked 'Madam, I have not started drilling yet'. 'Doctor, you are standing on my feet', my wife screamed back. 'Oops!' he apologized and continued his examination. Suddenly he made a diagnostic shriek 'Caries! Caries!' Confused, my wife responded shyly 'No, I am not carrying doctor'. 'I meant dental caries!' clarified the dentist. I felt concerned about the examination and asked him 'Do you extract tooth painlessly?' He looked at me and said, 'Not always, the other day I nearly dislocated my wrist pulling a tooth'. At last, he pulled out her tooth without getting on her nerves further. When I saw the bill I was shocked, as he had charged 400 Rupees. I confronted him- 'Doctor, this is four times your normal fee for a tooth extraction'. The dentist explained, 'Yes, I know. But her scream scared away four patients from my waiting room'.

No wonder dentists are driven to extortion' I mean extraction. When a dentist makes an extraction, you hope he pulls the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth. If it is wrong, it is 'acci-dental'. If it is right, it is 'inci-dental'. Incidentally my father had all his teeth extracted when he was seventy. A week later I asked him, 'Papa, how do you feel after extracting all your teeth?' He said 'Terrible my son, terrible! I will never do it again'.

Last month, I had my final sitting with my dentist. He was examining my molar teeth and said, 'My God, It is a big cavity! It is a big cavity!'. Annoyed, I told him 'You don't have to repeat it'. He said, 'I didn't repeat it. It was an echo coming from there!'

Unaware of my many dates with dentists, my friend Waheed poked into my mouth last week and said 'Hey PGR, you have very fine teeth!. I said, 'They are all mine, I have the bills from Al Mana hospital.'

I have now decided to distance myself from dentists to avoid getting bored to tears and filled with fillers. If I have yellow teeth, I just wear a brown tie to give me an 'occi-dental' touch or just practice 'tras-dental' medication.  


More by :  P. G. R. Nair

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