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Paying Through My Teeth

  1. I FEEL sorry for my dentist. I do. He's a nice, quiet, thorough kind of guy and personally, I wouldn't want me as a patient.

    He hasn't said it, but I'm pretty sure he'd prefer to see the back of me. He's trying his best but frankly, it's just not good enough. It'll never be good enough because today, like most days, I'm not enjoying my teeth. Teeth-wise there's no pleasing me.

    Not that it's a prerequisite for a visit to our friends here at ''Smiling Brightly'', of course, but it does make it hard for me to express real appreciation to Mr Brightly when all I want is to leap up, shake myself off like a dog out of a bath … and run.

    How is that going to make a bloke feel who's doing his best with his little scrapers and prods and blasts of freezing cold air?

    I suppose you could say it's a fair deal. I mean, I don't enjoy my teeth and he doesn't enjoy me. Granted, he's gone to some effort with his crisp white uniform and bright green rinse. The nurse isn't bad either and the gas is a trip. If only I could leave my tusks and come back at the end of the day, we'd be sweet. But you've got to give it to old man Brightly for trying. Times are a-changing in amalgamland, after all. The fish tanks? Gone. Now it's overhead screens with slide shows of endangered animals, like me right now, waiting for the gas to kick in.

    And where are ''dad jokes'' born now that the Reader's Digests have left his waiting room? Enter Gourmet Traveller, specifically designed to give me ideas about getting far, far away from Ditto the new office software. Had a peek while the hygienist was setting up the cat o'nine tails and the rack. Nice pix of my fangs in lurid colour. Molars, cuspids, bicuspids and incisors, all nicely arranged in neat rows, poised to chomp.

    An amalgam here, a composite resin there. I'm a regular glass ionomer cabinet of 21st-century dentistry.

    Nowadays I don't even mind the photos in the waiting room. Actually, I rather like the ones with the greying fillings, blackened stumps and tobacco stains. A nice cautionary tale for those of us tempted to cancel the fun times with our friends here at ''Smiling Brightly''.

    Not that I begrudge Mr B his well-earned reward. After all, there has to be some recompense for dealing with patients like me. Mr B and I have a little bargain, you see. He keeps putting up with me, and I keep paying him through my teeth.

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