Sunday, September 02, 2012

Visit to the Dentist

By the time you are 21 you should have all of your permanent teeth, including the so-called wisdom teeth. Why we have to have milk teeth prior to permanent ones is a mystery to me. Perhaps it is something to do with the changing size of the skull as a person grows. I can understand why a child should not have teeth when feeding from its mother’s breast, and why teeth are necessary for feeding on solids. I can only accept and wonder at the orderly way in which milk teeth grow and fall out to be replaced by their permanent counterparts.

In the early 1940s when I was a boy I had to visit the dentist for the extraction of a painful tooth. He sat me in his chair and produced a needle for injecting an anaesthetic into my gum. I took one look at the needle, jumped out of the chair and ran all the way home. From that time onwards I was terrified of dentists until having treatment by an army dentist when I was doing National Service. He told me he was trialling a new anaesthetic, not unlike the one used when immobilizing animals at a zoo or vetinary surgery. I remember thinking I hope he injects the right amount for me to remain conscious while having my tooth filled. I was amazed how quickly my gum lost all feeling and how painless the filling was.

Since my army days I have had countless dentists, and more recently they have never stayed at the surgery longer than a year. During annual checkups new dentists invariably do a survey and prescribe treatment if they think it is necessary. My most recent dentist did the usual check, but without digging into them or probing as previous ones had. She complimented me on the state of my teeth and asked if I used floss, and I confirmed that I did. She suggested I might like to try miniature brushes for cleaning between them.

I was most impressed with her surgery that looked like the flight station of the space shuttle Discovery. The reclining seat was fabulous, although I would rather not have been placed with my head lower than my feet. Dark glasses covered my eyes to protect them from the extremely bright lamp overhead. She spoke with a soothing voice and gently felt her way around my remaining teeth. Her verdict that no treatment was necessary and her endorsement that my teeth were good made me feel like a millionaire. I went away from the surgery with a beaming smile that was possible once I had inserted my single tooth flexidenture. 


British Dental Association 3D Mouth



Unknown said...

I believe we have milk teeth prior to the permanent ones to allow us to fully learn about our teeth and how to take care of them. They are like our second chance. :) So if we fail in dental care and earn a handful of cavities, we can still have a chance to get a nice set of chompers. By the way, William, that was quite a while before you overcame your dental fear. I’m glad you did though. An army man sure wouldn’t back down from needles. XD

Benita Abril

William Serjeant said...


I have a phobia about needles, but I had my fair share of them in the army.

I still dislike them. Just the sight of one can make me feel faint. Giving blood, always had me unconscious.


Unknown said...

Scientifically speaking, wisdom teeth (or the third set of molars) are the evolutionary answer to our ancestor’s diet of rough food – like nuts, roots, and meats – which required more chewing. From a superstitious point of view, however, we happen to grow wisdom teeth when we reach the age of, what is believed to be, our maturity age – when we start thinking like adults.

Patty Gurrola

Unknown said...

It looks like you really had a great time during the last time you visited your dentist, huh! I love the way you described your experience. I really felt that you enjoyed being in their great facility and that they really treated you very nicely. That was just great! :D

Melisa Guyette