The scary chair and my rotten teeth

Updated - December 16, 2016 02:50 pm IST

Published - July 11, 2010 01:57 am IST

100711 -open page -dentist's chair-color

100711 -open page -dentist's chair-color

At last, I had had to sit in the dentist's chair and experience the terror of my life! The dentist asked me to wait for a while. Wait for what, dear doctor, I felt like asking. Wait for my life to end?

I looked around the clinic and found colourful charts on the walls describing the different kinds of human teeth and their functions -- incisors are eight sharp-edged front cutting teeth, four in the upper and four in the lower jaw; canines are the four pointed teeth, used mainly for tearing food, one on each side of the four incisors; then there are six pre-molars and ten molars -- teeth used for grinding; last, but not least, the wisdom teeth if you are foolish enough to cut them. Never before did I realise the true meaning of the maxim, 'Ignorance is bliss.' The knowledge of so many varieties of teeth in my mouth invariably made me worry about an equal number of dental diseases in store for me.

Then I glanced at the wooden platform that ran from one end of the wall to the other. There are scissors, forceps, pluckers, squeezers, tweezers, spray-guns, dentures, blocks to take an impression of teeth, injections, disposable syringes, spirits, spirit lamps, lotions, cotton swabs, and other paraphernalia. The sight sent shivers down my spine.

Next I watched closely the chair I was sitting in, or lying down to be exact. It looked like an easy chair, though there was nothing easy about it. To the left, there is a small washbasin in which you can spit, most probably your blood while the dentist works on your teeth; a glass of water kept handy in case your mouth dries up out of fear; a hanky to wipe your unavoidable tears with. To the right, there is a computer-like machine with wires hanging down to the floor and rotating plastic rods going spirally up and up and ending just above your head with a mirror to see how pale your face looks while your teeth are being pulled. Just behind my chair, to the right is the dentist's stool on which the doctor is already seated.

He gave me injections to make the affected teeth, and the surrounding areas, numb. Somehow I felt they were my death warrants. Putting on his gloves and mask, he commanded me right in my ear — “Open your mouth.” He appeared to me like a devil asking for my soul. I obeyed him closing my eyes tightly. “Open your eyes” was his next command as he wanted to make sure I was alive. How I wished I were dead till the whole tragedy was enacted!

When the dentist gave the nod, everybody and subsequently everything sprang into action. There were closing of doors, flashing of lights, splashing of water, buzzing of machines, rotating of rods — all reminding me of the shooting of a film I had seen in my childhood. At one go, I had had three of my teeth out. At the dentist's second nod, all the hustle stopped and my mouth had been stuffed with cotton swabs through which blood was oozing. One of his assistants proudly exhibited my (yet not mine) teeth on a tray as if they were medals! I staggered my way home, swallowed some painkillers along with my liquid food and went to bed.

Next morning, when the tooth ache recurred with more vigour than before, I stood in front of the mirror to see what went wrong. To my horror, I found the agonising myths about the dentist proving true in my case. All my three rotten teeth are still there mocking at me, and three of my healthy teeth are gone for ever!

Panic-stricken, I broke into sweat. But, luckily, the horror didn't last long. I got up and found to my great relief it was just a dream!

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