The Tooth of The Matter

toothofthematterI am feeling pretty pleased with myself. In fact, I am tempted to do a few victory laps around my kitchen. I won’t though. It’s tiny…
Besides, if I gave into that sort of behaviour, there could be regular bouts of inappropriate public displays. Calm, restrained, dignified, these are my watch words. (Except on Fridays, bank holidays and any day that’s sunny. And Christmas naturally. And my birthday. The whole week of my birthday, truth be told…. I could go on.) But enough digression – my big accomplishment is that I went to the dentist. That is quite an achievement in itself, but it doesn’t stop there. Not only did I go, I got a clean bill of health! Cue trumpets, cheerleaders and general exultation.
You’ll have picked up at his stage, that my relationship with dentists has been difficult. Nothing to do with the dentists really – they have been lovely. Well, apart from the one with the decidely shaky hands who I visited as a child. He was very nice, but a shaking hand is a worrying thing for a dentist. The fear is a family thing. My mother is scared of dentists, as are lots of my extended family, and whether by observation of this, or through some obscure gene that has been passed down to me and most of my siblings, I am too.
I spent my early twenties boasting proudly that I had never had a filling. This incredible lack of cavities was less to do with my excellent dental regime (there wasn’t one) and more to do with the fact that I hadn’t been to a dentist since 1990. As children, my parents took us for check-ups to the man with the shaky hand, and while it was somewhat nerve-wracking, there was no horrible experience that I can use as an excuse for not going. We went, we were checked, we had our teeth cleaned and we left again. But, as soon as I hit my mid-teens, I dug my heels in, and didn’t visit a dentist again for another decade.
So I spent my late teenage years brushing regularly – if not particularly effectively – and consuming any number of fizzy drinks and sugary confectinonary. I also had a remarkable ability to open beer bottles with my teeth – a feat which was much in demand at student parties. But still no dentist. In my 20’s my diet changed (more fruit, less cola bottles) but still no dentist.
In 2001 I was posted to India. I went to the doctor before I left of course. I visited the bank too. I even had a conversation with the taxman, but, no dentist. In spite of the niggling pain in the back of my mouth in the weeks before I left, I still didn’t visit a dentist. A few weeks later, in hot sticky Mumbai, I found myself sitting in a dentist chair, having a root canal. Lucky me. The experience wasn’t pleasant (what could possibly be pleasant about a root canal) but the dentist was fantastic, and the root canal and crown have never given me a moments trouble since.
imageI didn’t learn my lesson though. I walked out of that lovely dentists in India, and didn’t attend again until the next niggling pain got so bad – this time in London – that I had no alternative. Every couple of years, pain would drive me to a visit – usually to a different dentist than the previous one.
Once there, I sat in the chair and solemnly promised this dentist that I would brush (I did) I would floss (I sometimes did) and I would return in 6 months for a check-up (I did not).
But recently the pattern changed. I visited my dentist here in Greenwich – I can call him my dentist now, I have visited more than once – and it dawned on me that if I continued down this path there were a couple of possible outcomes. a) No teeth – or not very many at least. b) Expensive dental procedures required. c) Finally and most worryingly, my children would end up like me. So common sense won, and on this visit I listened. More importantly I obeyed.
The last 6 months I have brushed according to instructions, flossed, and used the little interdental brushes recemmended to me. I also, amazingly, reappeared for a check-up six months after my last visit. And, as I said, the dentist told me all was well. I will go back in 6 months, and again in a year. Happy dentist, happy me. With that in mind, and seeing as it is sunny outside, I think I will do that victory lap.


Diary of is a regular blog written by a regular Greenwich mum. Sharing her experiences as a local parent (and member of this website) she’ll be writing about everything and anything. And being completely anonymous – you never know – you could have stood next to her in the Post Office or behind her in Cafe W…


About DiaryOf

Diary Of is a regular blog, by a regular Greenwich mum. Sharing experiences as a local parent (and member of this website) she’ll be writing about everything and anything. And being completely anonymous – you never know – you could have stood next to her in the Post Office or behind her in Cafe W…