This refers to the response of dental surgeons Dr. Vijailakshmi Acharya and Dr. K. Narendran to the article “The scary chair and my rotten teeth” (Open Page, July 11). There is no doubt that doctors have kept pace with modern technology and updated their skills. But that does not take away the right of a patient to his or her fearful sentiments when he or she undergoes treatment. The child-like fears of an adult when sitting on a sophisticated chair with the light shining directly at the face, and shiny pointed instruments moving in to do their job have been lucidly expressed by the author. The article has been written from a layperson's point of view, and is not intended to disgrace the dental profession. It is best read, enjoyed if possible, and forgotten.
The sentiments of both the patient, who was scared to visit the dentist, and Dr. Acharya, who has allayed the patients' anxieties, are understandable. While medical science has advanced to an extent where treatment has become painless, the apprehension of a patient about to undergo a procedure can never be understood by a surgeon. Whatever the ambience and the confidence in the surgeon, patients have their own reasons to dread the procedure till it is over.
Dr. Sunil P. Shenoy,
The Open Page article transported me to 1970. I had just graduated from the Dental Wing of the Madras Medical College and joined the department as a house surgeon. The Indian Dental Association, Chennai, arranged an informal get-together of its members and their families at a hotel. There was to be no chief guest, no speech, no scientific paper. Just fun. The day ended with a small play enacted by house surgeons. The theme — extraction of the wrong tooth by a young dental surgeon. We brought the house down.
The lucidly written piece reminded me of the Ogden Nash quote: “Some pains are physical, and some pains are mental, but the one that's both is dental.” Right from childhood, an unspoken dread is associated with a toothache. A visit to the dentist's only compounds the fear, what with numerous instruments and pictures of different types of teeth all over the place. The writer has done a good job translating the agony on paper.
C. Suja Sekhar,