My Encounters with the Tooth Fairy!

When we were children we are told the story of the tooth fairy. When my milk tooth fell off, I would wrap it in cotton and keep it under my pillow. The next morning I would anxiously feel under the pillow for a gift from the tooth fairy. And sure enough there would be a one paisa coin. I am not sure that I ever believe the story of the tooth fairy.

Tooth Fairy 1: Fairy or no tooth fairy my teeth soon developed cavities and I was taken to the dentist. This happened not once but three or four times before the age of 12. That was a painful experience. I learnt to dislike dentists and stayed away from them as long as I could.

The next episode occurred a few decades later. One of the molars decided to give me a bad time. Toothache is a mild word for the pain that consumes you. Strangely I was on an institute retreat at Udaipur when the intensity of the pain hit me. As head of the institution I had I choice but to stay focused and somehow tolerate the searing pain.

I was to fly directly to Kochi from Udaipur. I wondered how I would manage this. To my husband reminded me that my cousin was a dentist in Kochi. I had totally forgotten about him. The perils of being the youngest of the brood!

I called him and he said come directly to the clinic from the airport. I got his clinic in Cochin in Kochi and there were three dentist waiting for me. I was given two options a root canal which is extremely painful or but not foolproof or just remove the molar tooth as it was of maths not much use. I opted for the latter.

Tooth Fairy 2: I sat on the dentist chair, which is a nightmare already with the lights, staring into your face and various scary instruments around you and three doctors, staring into your mouth. And then they said it will only be a small prick on the jaw! So it was, the local anaesthesia. And then there was just numbness! An hour later it was done.

I went home and looked in the mirror and smiled! Lord who was this staring at me? It was all I could do to stop from screaming. The smile was twisted to one side! In fact one side of the face was twisted! Lord help me, what is this? That definitely was not a tooth fairy, a tooth witch?

Keep calm, I told myself. Sat down and called my dentist cousin. Oh that’s nothing to worry about. It will. Come back to normal as the Anastasia wears off in a couple of hours! Cool guy, but I’m not so cool! I went to sleep for a couple of hours, from exhaustion. The first thought as I woke up was ‘my face’! I ran to the mirror and smiled. Heaven the smile was back, normal and wide from teeth to teeth, literally! Sorry tooth fairy, I was a little flustered and though you were a witch!

How the teeth feel at the Dentist’s Clinic and After!

After this scary episode, imagine my fear when my tooth begins to ache again. I feel the painful tooth and find a gaping hole! The decades old filling had fallen off! Oh my! Do I have to go under the scalpel again? Will I encounter a fairy or witch this time?

Tooth Fairy 3: Someone recommended a dental clinic and I get an appointment, reach there feting the worst. The clinic was a cheerful place, a paediatric clinic actually. I am given a form to fill in. A young doctor appears, is friendly and impressed that I had filled all the details in the form. Well, I did not get a PhD for nothing. Filling forms is the least I can do!

Next, I meet the main dentist and possibly owner of the clinic. Very pleasant person again. I guess that wins half the battle. He asks a few personal questions. Shows he’s impressed that I am Professor and says he teaches too, at a local dental college and enjoys it. ‘Teaching is for the soul and the clinic is for the bread’ he says. ‘Well I have only soul then” I said’!

He talks to me of all the possibilities, and mentions the root canal. I cringe! Not again! First the root canal, then a filling and then a crown to top it! Ha that sounds nice, to be crowned. Being crown amused by SIL, who says, ‘Please tell me you are getting a gold crown’, to which my husband replies, ‘ we have asked the UK government to return all our crowns. They should arrive by Friday and we will choose the one that fits. You wish,
I am getting a tin crown, metal, so much for gold, silver and the Kohinoor studded crowns!

A young dentist appears and the consulting dentist says she is the root canal specialist, she will do the procedure. Oh, my tooth fairy! And the coronation will be done by another specialist who is the expert in crowns! Well, he did not say ‘coronation’!

So I arrive on the appointed day and am led into a room with two ‘torture’ chairs.
One prisoner is already on one chair. The other torture chair is for me! I sit on it with apprehension. The lady nurse, my Tooth Elves, encourages me. ‘Do you want to watch television?’ I say, “What? Where is the television?” I see none on the glass wall in front of me. She point towards the roof. I look up, television is mounted on the roof! Obviously the torture chair will put me in a lying position. I politely refuse. I need to see what tooth fairy is going to do with me on the torture chair in a position where I cannot defend myself! The Tooth Elves puts a pipe into my nose. I was warned that they would be administering
laughing gas during the procedure. Laughing gas slows the responses and one gets a feeling of elation. I felt none.

Tooth fairy appears! ‘Open your mouth’, she prods around inside the mouth and presses on the tooth. It hurts. Then comes the scary part. Tooth fairy flashes around a needle with, ‘it will feel like a tiny poke’. I don’t mind the poke. It’s the after effects that I am afraid of. She waits a while and starts digging, mining actually. There is shooting electric shock like pain. I make some grunting sound, that’s all I can do with my mouth open. She removes her poking stick. She retracts, not sure if she injected again, the entire right side feels numb. I can talk, and talk I did, but the lip felt it did not move. I convince myself there is no need to panic!

The procedure continues for an hour. I talk to the doctor and nurse. The dentist has a master’s degree specializes in root canal. The nurse has a simple nursing certificate of some kind, or so I gathered. There is no specialisation in dentist nursing. But she has experience and has learnt on the job. OK, I am in good hands. The interesting part of the
conversation was that the doctor and nurse had the same name, meaning ‘curiosity’. But they were spelt and pronounced very differently, in Gujarati for the nurse and in Hindi for the doctor. We all had a good laugh. To the extent I could laugh on the torture chair!

The procedure ended smoothly. I thanked the Tooth Fairy and the Tooth Elves. I did not show my anxiety to them. The laughing gas was removed, and a few minutes of oxygen passed through my nose. That was enough of lightening my spirits, back to reality now. I was asked to relax a while before getting up from the torture chair.

Guess what was the first thing I did? Rushed to the restroom to check in the mirror! Wow, not bad, the lip was stuck, but my face did not distort when I smiled. I had call my husband to come and drive me home. Next I went to him with an asking look. He said I looked Ok, being aware of my anxiety. Great, good job done, Tooth Fairy!

I returned a few days later as the Tooth Fairy needed to remove the temporary filling and put in a final one. Tooth Fairy poked around my tooth, it hurt a little. ‘Are you going to give me another shot of anesthesia?’ Fear gripping, ‘No’ she says. I relax. ”Will pump in some more medicine and it should be alright’. This time it went smoothly, old filling removed, filled in, new filling put in place. A few small electric shocks as she pushes in the new filling.

I see a few X-rays too. Pushing the X-ray device into the mouth to photo graph the jaw is not a pleasant experience. ‘Shoot’ she tell the X-ray technician, another girl. Great, as long as you do not shoot me on the torture chair!

Now for the measurement of the crown, and the final coronation. I was hoping to be coroneted along with King Charles, but apparently he will be crowned before me

Thank you Tooth Fairy and Tooth Elves! If I have more to report on my coronation, will see you at the next post. Till then keep safe!


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