I hate going to the dentist; not that I have anything against dentists per se – they provide an essential service – but handing over extortionate amounts of money for another human being to psychologically and physically torture you – legally – just doesn’t seem right. (My memories of Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man have never diminished and loom large whenever a visit is imminent.)
The thing is we lie back, pretending to be brave, and allow the dentist to simultaneously attempt to drill and find oil in our mandible, whilst drowning us with enough water to put out The Towering Inferno.
“Everything all right?” he asks.
“’ine,” you nod with a mouth full of fingers and suction equipment, when what you should be shouting is: “No, it’s not all right. My lungs are filling with the aspirated water, and my face feels like I’ve had a bloody stroke.”
We cling to our teeth with the grim determination that any amount of pain is better than seeing them smile back to you, from a pot on the bedside cabinet, when you wake up in the morning.
Of course I do not possess the perfect smile that accompanies veneers, but I like the character my asymmetrical teeth affords me; I don’t want to look like everybody else. I understand that we are much more image conscious these days, and if you’re unfortunate enough to have been born with spectacularly misaligned teeth, or damaged them in an accident, I can see that veneers would present an attractive alternative. However, the only difference I can see between veneers and dentures is that you don’t have to remove them to clean, but if the process is not expertly undertaken the results can look just as false – perhaps, more so.
Apart from the pain factor involved in this procedure – something I’m not big on – the cost can prove financially crippling as well, and what happens when they need replacing and your circumstances have changed? What do you do then?
Even with my meagre financial capabilities, the charge for a dental bridge these days is not dissimilar to the price of a small yacht with which you might use to sail under it.
So for now I have to content myself with imperfect, fragile teeth; but at least I can say they’re all my own – well, almost.
Image credit: hightower_nrw / 123RF Stock Photo