One of the most formidable visits one makes in a lifetime is to the dentist. I, for one, have been unblessed with crooked tooth and everything therein since the age of six. The complications mounted as I grew and varied from under-gums canines, bold incisors, and bugs-bunny-gappy smile. And for all that thrice a day brushing and stringent denial of chocolates, ironically, I had the worst set of teeth in the family!
I, like most children, was aware of the existence of milk colored projections in my mouth, when they shook, fell and went under my pillow for the tooth fairy wish. I was perfectly happy feeling the empty pockets with my tongue, until tiny obstructions burgeoned in them. But no sooner had I turned a viable, conspicuous age of twelve, my parents had decided that my asymmetrical white eruptions needed fixing and a pricey one at that.
The first daunting experiment was to stick permanent little hooks on each of my upper teeth. The hooks posed sufficient barriers to clog food particles, which over time gathered squishy yellow things. I looked no less than a smiley punk with piercing. The hooks were soon to be wound and tightened with a coil and together they were to pull my jaw in to get rid of the diastema.
But, a zillion things happened; appa was transferred, the dentist left the country for a year, my board exam year commenced… the hooks were left unattached and the one year mission was procrastinated by two.
By the time I had turned fifteen and completed my twelve years of schooling, attention was back to hooking, coiling and screwing. The episode lasted a few months and the braces were comprehensively adorned. I, for all the noise or the lack of it, had gotten used to the steel erections in my mouth; whether they enhanced my newly found grooming tendencies as a teenager or delivered the orthodontic skills depicted in ‘before’ and ‘after’ grossly close-ups of eee-ing teeth, one couldnt really tell.
The construction was finally taken off and my mouth relieved of the four year old metallic impingement. With a couple of teeth less and the rest supposedly spruced to near-perfection, I had forgotten the ‘before’ picture of my teeth; but the ‘after’ definitely didn’t look like the picture perfect smile of Maduri Dixit on the dentist’s cluttered notice board.
Ten years and after, contracting jaws and teeth together and later, my wisdom tooth had decided to spring. My mouth had forgotten to make room for the unwarranted guests and they had rooted themselves under the gums almost cracking the corners of my mouth in rebellion. Local anesthesia, grinding, drilling, squeezing, laughing gas masks and a bloody battle fought, my corners have been hollowed in the last couple of months.
In anti-climax of my toothy adventures, I am told from the x-ray that a tiny piece of the injection needle is tucked somewhere safe [as a result of operator error], between gum, bone and tissue while extracting my obdurate wisdoms. I, for all the swellings, milkshakes, pain killers, and a few hundreds in dollars hope the next visit would be my last for the next fifty years!