I went in for the second tooth to be taken out a few days after the hygienist had been in my mouth cleaning the rest of them, which is why I was a little taken aback when the dentist – after having looked again at the tooth she was going to remove – asked if I had perhaps changed my mind about the scale and polish that had been booked.
It had literally been only a few days since I had was in that same chair, shrinking back into the leather while the hygienist pressed down upon me with her tools, and I had done my best to keep my teeth in tip-top shape since then. To be honest, I think the dentist was just trying to promote my purchase of another £55 cleaning session, but I wasn’t about to open my wallet again.
The dentist told me once again that this extraction would not be as difficult as the previous one – an assurance that I was very happy to hear… except, after a few minutes trying to get the thing out, her words began to feel like the kind of empty promise a parent tells an upset child, just to shut them up and keep the tears at bay.
Just as I did the first time, I heard this one break too. But unlike the first time she then asked her assistant to go and get a different set of tools. I’m guessing bigger tools. Sharper tools. I kept my eyes closed because I didn’t fancy seeing them as they passed my eyeline. While I was waiting she told me to rinse my mouth out with that horrid red liquid they had sitting beside me, and I think I spat out part of my tooth along with the juice, which was a little alarming.
Next thing I know she was back in my mouth, ripping that bugger out. Thankfully this second part of the process was relatively quick and – given that most of my face was entirely numb – completely pain-free.
She let me go with a warning not to let it happen again, and on the way out I got the £50 bill for the two extractions. I was too doped up to argue the amount, or to bemoan the fallacy that is free dental care in this country, so I just handed over my credit card, grabbed the microscopic tube of toothpaste the receptionist offered me, and went on my way.