Stories

The Broken Smile

Awaiting her turn for an adventurous setback, a fancy stuck Shefali’s bookwormish self and soon she was turning the pages of the book lying in the shelf beside her. The book seemed like an ignored alien among the magazines which were preferred. The interesting title attracted Shefali. ‘More Than a Mouthful’ by Dr. Sandesh Mayekar. A book on dentistry! Ah! What else to expect at a Dental Clinic? She read a few pages, quite an amusing tale, but soon had to be rushed back to the shelf.

White and creamish walls of the clinic, shining gigantic chairs- to lie down comfortably- if one would actually call it a comfort- with the most frightening of instruments decorated neatly around the person ready to barge into the privacy of the mouth.

For once, the much talkative, uncontrollable tongue, who carried the illusion of being the sole Empress controlling the person’s life - was left speechless. Hiding itself behind the teeth, attempting to be rescued from the small, rounded mirror on the left, the suction pipe underneath and the dreadful needles pricking and piercing from the right. Attacked from all sides simultaneously, nowhere to hide, left at the mercy of the doc.

Shefali let eyes do all the talking. To communicate pain or discomfort, she simply shut them tight indicating the doc to take it easy. ‘Painful?’ was all that the doc enquired, leaving her no chance to speak and continued irrespective of the present situation.

Particularly afraid of the pointed needles, Shefali turned her eyes away every time a longer one appeared on the scene. ‘What if one falls down my throat?’ the thought itself was dreadful. Thankfully that never happened.

She was paying for the mistake of an inexperienced doc who performed a faulty and partial RCT around five years ago. She wished she could curse the doc for all that she was going through today, but her gentle heart had an explanation ready, ’Every person has a limited capability and to expect more from him is our fault, not his and she waited for the next intruder in her wide-open mouth.

The two injections worked well leaving her cheeks and lips numb and as heavy as a dumbbell. Smile was the most difficult thing to do today but her heart hummed her favorite song-‘Muskuraoon kabhi toh lagta hai jaise hothon par karz rakha hai’ befitting her situation.

‘That’s it for today, madam,’ a gentle voice awoke her from the trance. Her tongue felt relieved and soon took over her role as the sole Empress of the mouth with no more intruders. Some things never change! Feeling sad for the injured soldier, the tongue sort of patted the tooth for facing the ordeal bravely and still standing strong with nothing but the outer walls left guarding no inner structure. Even though the throne was left vacant; the king, the queen all left; the palace walls stood high guarding the emptiness within. Every now and then, the tongue felt the need to provide solace to the bereaved tooth.

Her kids back home await the ice-cream she’ll be carrying with her - cold stuff relieves dental pain so they say. A dental patient gets sympathy nowhere. ‘It’s just a tooth! What's all the fuss about?’ Imagine what would become of us without this little tooth!

Shefali tried to smile but to no avail, the smile broken as the zig-zag lightning streaks on the face of clouds, though she felt victorious in the first half of the battle. But. The next appointment was after two days. Oh God! The ordeal’s not over yet.

16-Mar-2024

More by :  Dr. Giti Tyagi

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