Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Tooth Shall Never Set You Free!

Chewing is essential for survival, but the complexity of the apparatus designed to perform that activity confounds me every time I visit the dentist. It's a torture-fest involving multiple sharp objects, a drill, a syringe, and plastic objects with sharp corners that are painfully inserted for X-rays. Gums are always at the receiving end - they get poked, prodded, and are forced to bleed for an activity as simple as cleaning - the fact that cleaning involves a needle is so easily accepted that it does not even elicit a protest. An eternity passes by the time that simple activity comes to a conclusion, with the only high point being the application of a toothpaste-like substance by an electric scrubber.

As for cavities, the space-time continuum is breached and the universe comes to a standstill when the dentist inserts a bendable needle (how cool!) multiple times in the deep confines of your gums, for the purposes of anesthesia. The whole act is performed with extreme nonchalance, and is invariably followed by casual banter between the dentist and the assistant. Seemingly rhetorical questions are directed from time to time towards the person lying helpless with the mouth wide-open, waiting breathlessly for a lull in activity to shut their aching jaws, figuring out ways to ignore the constant whoosh of the vacuum rinse mechanism, constantly being asked hairdresser-like to adjust their head, and wondering if they are supposed to provide an unnecessary mono-syllabic response because nothing else is feasible.

I am not even going to talk about root canal - it's traumatic, to say the least.

I watched an indie movie called 'The Secret Lives of Dentists' a few years back during my indie-movie fascination phase, which waned after realizing that many of those indie movies are actually even worse than the assembly-line formulaic Hindi movies. While the movie was mildly interesting and irrelevant from a pure dental perspective, it did involve a dentist couple whose marriage was losing gravity, getting riddled with cavity, and had decayed to the point of a root canal (read 'therapy') if not extraction (read 'divorce'). A deep filling and timely recognition of wisdom of the tooth saved the day. That couple deserves a plaque for their 'crown'ing achievement.

Here's the anatomy of the tooth - why is it so complex? We could definitely use stronger enamel instincts to avoid dental retardation and replacement by implants, in addition to preventing attacks by Huns and Tartars.

The tooth always hurts and it shall never set you free. That is because when you have lost all your real teeth, you will be in'denture'd.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

hmmm... nice perspective... an eyeopener... as i dont seem to get this aspect of dentistry!!