It was just my 6 month checkup visit and when I made the appointment back at the end of March, I didn't plan on going to America quite so early in October.
Anyway I've not needed any dental work in years so I just expected to be in and out in minutes.
Like Jays blog the other day, I wasn't so lucky this time. I spent 30 glorious minutes with the hygienist who is a sweet looking young girl with a greeting and smile that belies her ability to inflict pain. I keep refusing to use the little pokey things that she wants me to stick between my teeth to clean out the plaque and that makes her unhappy. My reasoning is that they hurt and if nothing else, they require effort. I mean I didn't buy an electric toothbrush to then stand and poke holes between my teeth.
If I used these articles of torture, I'd also risk removing the food that lodges between my teeth. This food is my emergency supply for when I get hungry and am nowhere near a restaurant. It's really handy to poke out a chunk of well matured Christmas cake in the middle of July when sitting on the beach at Bridlington and get a bit peckish.
So she spent 30 minutes using all the tools at her disposal to remove this secret food stash and never even offered to let me have it to take home. In this day and age of economic fastidiousness, that seemed a great waste to me.
With my teeth now 20cms apart, I went in to see the dentist.
"Good morning, Silverback * " she said. "And how are things with your teeth ?"
"Well they were fine before Miss Torture Chamber 1998 had a go at them. Now I'll need a tug boat rope to floss", I added sweetly.
What I actually found myself saying was that I had a small sharp piece of enamel sticking up the side of my lower right molar. My theory about it was that the gold filling on that tooth must have sunk down somehow and thus exposed the edge of the enamel and all that was needed was for her to file it away.
Simple. I was planning my trip home within minutes.
She had a poke around and came up with her own theory. Well not so much a theory as a fact.
A part of nice Mr. Tooth had broken off and evil Mr. Decay had moved in like some unwelcome tenant. This had upset Mr. Goldbit who had felt the need to move out as he didn't get on well with Mr. Decay even though he'd been living there for over 25 years.
Apart from being very silly, this was not good news. The dentist gave me a few options but really, given that I was less than 48 hours away from leaving the country, only one was possible.
Remove the gold filling, scrape out the decay, pop the filling back in again, trowel on some dental cement and Bobs your Dads brother.
Fine I said. Get on with it.
"Hold on there", she said. "The gold filling might not come out easily and I might crack the tooth and then we're looking at a much more serious situation."
I wasn't sure I liked this 'we' business. As far as I could see, it was only me who'd be looking at a serious situation but I graciously accepted her part in it all.
She then numbed my gum, closely followed by the right side of my tongue and my right arm. I also lost all feeling down to my knee cap. It seemed a bit over the top for a bit of molar repair but I suspect that the fucking huge needle had induced a mini stroke.
Being now unable to converse verbally or with any part of my body other than an occasional twitch of the big toe on my left foot, she started asking me about my trip to Florida. What's that all about ? It's a universal complaint from those of us "in the chair" that dentists talk to us only when we can't reply, or at best can only make unintelligible sounds that we last used when we were unable to walk properly and oozed liquids at both ends.
My mates stag party last month in my case.
Seconds later she had my gold filling in her hand. She said it had basically just been sitting loose on top of the decay and could've popped out on its own at any time. Given the current price of gold and the size of this nugget, I reckon I could've swallowed £500 with my chicken vindaloo the previous night. Puts life in perspective, doesn't it !!
Anyway, the decay was scraped out, the gold filling replaced (I kept my beady eye on it all the time in case a switch was made), the tooth sidewalls were plastered and the job was done.
But instead of waving me off with a cheery smile and words of comfort regarding the tooth work, she warned me that the filling could, and probably would, pop out again at any time as this solution wasn't really the BEST solution but was the best that she could do given the circumstances.
Oh bloody marvelous. Really cracking news, Gromit.
So now it's almost 4 days later and I should be relaxed on my holiday. I survived the flight here. I survived the meal on the plane. I even survived immigration and customs.
How long my gold filling survives is a different matter and thanks to my dentist, worries me constantly. I try and chew only on the left. I don't poke at the tooth with my tongue even though my tongue constantly feels the need to do so. That's another one for the scientists to sort out. Why does a tongue which is usually not interested in anything inside the mouth (unless it is the tongue from another mouth) suddenly want to investigate any tooth or part of the mouth which is causing pain or likely to cause pain in the near future ? Weird stuff.
I now live in fear of swallowing a lot of money. I can tell you this. If I do swallow that filling, I'm going to be going through my poop with a fine tooth comb. How appropriate !
And what is the dictionary definition of a fine tooth comb ?
...........'a comb with teeth set close together'
Obviously not something my hygienist would ever use then.
* she didn't really call me Silverback. She doesn't blog.