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Teeth

I actually did something different this week, I went to the dentist.

Admittedly, this isn’t the punchiest intro I’ve ever written. But I can only work with what I’ve got; and life under Covid is neatly summed up by the fact that a visit to the dentist felt like a refreshing break from the norm.

If you don’t like teeth, this probably isn’t the entry for you. And I mean specifically human teeth in a human mouth. Not like those fish you get in North America with human teeth. Or even the condition hyperdontia, where sometimes hundreds of teeth grow in a person’s mouth. Personally, I would rather be reading about those things. So I may write something about them in future. This is just about standard human teeth in the correct position and numbers. And specifically mine. I’m not even trying to boost the word count here, I’m just on a roll.

Anyway, I don’t go to the dentist very often. The last time I went was in April 2017, which was the morning after I’d driven back from a gig in Newcastle. As I had work the next day, the appointment was cunningly booked to give me extra time to sleep.

My teeth have always been in good condition and I only tend to go to the dentist if I think something’s wrong. And the most recent visit was booked as I was convinced that my gums were receding after I did some online diagnosis.

But I’ve learnt that it’s always better to get advice from an actual trained professional. I discovered this after I spent pretty much all of my teenage years genuinely convinced that I was dying of various terminal illnesses as a direct result of my own research and online diagnoses. Turns out, that was all a complete waste of time and worry.

Anyway, I learned from my latest dentist visit that there’s nothing much wrong with my teeth and I don’t need to go back for a year; thus vindicating my stance on dental appointments.

I am aware that this is something of an anti-climatic story and not particularly interesting. So never fear, I’ve got some more teeth history as a back-up. This is definitely the worst thing that has happened to my teeth. And no fish are involved.

In 2012, it was the Tuesday back to work after Easter Monday. I was living in Walthamstow at the time and about to begin the morning commute. I was about 20 metres away from the busy road I had to cross to get to the train station. I was still on the pedestrianised bit, when I saw the green man was on the traffic lights. So I decided to run before it changed. I stepped off the pavement to cross the road at pace and the next thing I know is I’m on the ground in front of a bus and have smashed my jaw on the road.

The traffic lights hadn’t changed. And I’m fairly convinced that I was hit by a cyclist who jumped the red light. But then logic would suggest that he would also have fallen off in the collision, or at least shouted something and I don’t remember any of this.

A couple of people helped me to my feet and I staggered back onto the pavement, leaning on a lamppost for support. I was feeling a little dazed and remember a lady telling me that I should go to the hospital. It felt as though something was wrong with my mouth and I could taste blood, but I told the lady that I was actually fine and would be going to work regardless. So I crossed the road and hopped on the next train to Liverpool Street.

Shortly into the journey, I started to feel dizzy and noticed something was wrong with my teeth and thought: “Actually, maybe I should go the hospital…”

I was working in Farringdon at the time, so went to St Bart’s Hospital. A nurse checked me over and I had some X-rays. I’d sheared off about a third of two front teeth and had minor chips to about eight others.

I couldn’t get a dentist appointment on the day, so went a day or so later. He did a quick repair job and booked a reconstructive procedure a couple of weeks later, which then made my mouth look close to normal again.

But a few months after this procedure, I woke up to find one of the caps he’d put on had come off and was resting on my tongue. I went back for another repair job. And all was fine until a couple of years later and the same cap was ripped off by some Soreen I was eating. I didn’t go back for a fourth repair job and dentists I’ve seen since have said it’s nothing to really worry about.

The dental work cost me about £50 and it was also meant that I no longer eat the destructive dental goodness that is Soreen.

The moral of the story: don’t ever run to be on time for work.

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