Yes, my adventures in Harley Street have come to an end, and sooner than I expected, though, since I still have all my original teeth, no one can tell what the future may hold.
If you are squeamish or suffer from dentophobia, you may not wish to read the next eleven paragraphs. My story continues on from my post entitled More complicated than we thought, in which I outlined my ongoing dental problem. A session lasting an hour and a half had been arranged for today and – guess what? – I was not looking forward to it.
While waiting for the day, I had congratulated myself on how calmly I was taking it. Even when arriving this morning at the surgery I managed a cheerful and outgoing mien until the moment when I lay in the dentist’s chair. I then found my heart was pounding so hard that I felt quite out of sorts. It was as if I were lying on a trampoline on which someone was bouncing up and down, so powerful were the beats.
The dentist said “We won’t be doing much today, just having a look at what needs to be done.” That helped calm me down, I suppose, even though it turned out to be a false prognostic.
“Would you like to watch a film,” enquired to dentist. Eh, what, a film!? Er, no, thanks. (How I would watch a film, lying on my back with my mouth packed like a golf bag and two people apparently engaged in drilling for oil in my molars, I don’t know. Maybe I should have asked.)
“Then you will need the dark glasses,” said the dentist. Er, the dark glasses? Why would I need the, er…? “Because of the bright lights.” I accepted the dark glasses. Notwithstanding these, I firmly closed my eyes. I did not wish to see whatever tools and instruments might cross through my field of vision as this would only increase my stress levels which I had brought under only fragile control.
It was an unpleasant shock, then, when something jabbed the side of my mouth: a painkilling injection. Meanwhile, the dentist had a microscope suspended above me that gave a magnified view on my teeth both visually and on a screen. During the session they several timers took photos.
Apparently, the filling on the tooth worked on 15 years ago had sprung a leak. “We can work on that as there is no nerve in it while waiting for the anaesthetic to take effect on the other said the dentist. I was not at all sure I should believe this but he drilled happily away and I felt no pain, though my nerves, had they been guitar strings, would have played a merry tune.
That tooth sorted out, it was time to start on the other which was apparently cracked, leading to pain and temperature sensitivity. Drilling began. After a while, it began to hurt. A second jab in the side of my mouth. Numbness crept across my bottom lip. “No lunch for you today, my lad,” I told myself.
A lot of drilling now ensued. I don’t know whether they found anything interesting down there but the dentist did remark that these were the longest roots he had ever dealt with. I felt like suggesting he contact the Guinness book of records but in my situation, just breathing was a sufficient chore so I let it go.
The work took the whole 90 minutes. Not the longest 90 minutes of my life perhaps, but not far behind. “There, that’s all done,” said the dentist, to my surprise. I was expecting at least another session to deal with the other tooth. The news was not all good, however. In fact, it could be considered bad.
“You must have bitten on something hard,” explained the dentist, “and this has cracked two of your teeth. In one the crack only goes part way – that’s the one we have treated, killing the nerve, so you will feel no more pain from it – but in the other, the crack goes all the way down. The tooth will have to be extracted. The roots are very long, however, and I would prefer to hand the job to an oral surgeon. I will write to your dentist and he will discuss your options with you.”
I walked out into the sunlight with a lighter heart and a lighter wallet. The left side of my mouth was numb and perhaps so was part of my brain because I felt only relief that the current work was finished. One tooth at least was sorted out and I should no longer wince at cold drinks and eat only on the right side. I’ll start worrying about the extraction later; for now, I am in celebratory mood.
If you are an art lover or know London, the above picture may tell you where I went next. This sculpture, Horse and Rider by Elizabeth Frink, stands, surrounded by chairs and tables in front of Caffè Nero, at the end of Dover Street, which runs off Piccadilly, near Green Park tube station.
I had come to visit a particular establishment in Dover Street.
No, not the pub, handsome exemplar of its kind that The Clarence might be, but another, pertaining more to apparel and vanity than to refreshment.
I came here, to the London branch of Orvis, a shop that I ought not to patronize as it sells clothing, accoutrements and equipment for fishermen or, as I prefer to call them, fish torturers, people who inflict damage on living creatures for “sport”.
However, my beloved black fedora is showing signs of age and wear and I must needs look around for a replacement. I am glad to see that men’s felt hats are slowly coming back into fashion but they remain, nevertheless, hard to find. Orvis sell a good “packable” wool felt hat but not so far, a black one. I was investigating their new “charcoal” model to see if it would do. In shape and quality it was fine but the colour was a rather drab grey, so the search goes on.
I went home, skipped lunch because I didn’t want to find myself chewing my numb face, and went down to meet Tigger from work as usual. The numbness has gone and now I must teach myself to eat on both sides of my mouth again, like normal folk. My extraction lies in the not too distant future but “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”, and I will try not to think about it until I have to.