The Faraway Teeth

Let me tell you this Covid 19 business can take away a mans smile – it’s certainly done for mine. I shall elucidate, but firstly let me say that I know some people out there are really struggling as the pandemic plays out across the World & my issues, well they are in essence no more than the petty irritations of a man who knows only first world problems, but that’s not the point. 

Other people may indeed be struggling to make ends meet, to pay bills, keep a roof over their heads or even to survive at all, but for me the main fallout from Covid has meant that me and my teeth are separated by two continents and 7592 kilometres and at the present time there is no possibility of them being reunited any time soon.

How did this happen I hear you ask, well I shall explain. I have to begin by saying for better or worse  I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent bloke, ok so maybe there are periods of idiocy, but broadly speaking I’m really not thick, indeed though I may be blowing my own trumpet I do think I’m fairly intelligent.

So when faced with the problem of rising dental issues I focused my my entire and not inconsiderable intellect on finding a solution. I began with my dentist in London, a gentleman of Indian heritage ( the relevance of his point of origin will become relevant in due course ). Anyway I went to my Dentist in Ladbroke Grove, his swanky and gleaming practice is a model of clean & cool, It’s the kind of joint that should have a notice on the front door, wear sunglasses on entry, as gleaming surfaces beyond this point may effect your vision. 

The receptionists for some reason of which I am unclear are all Brazilian, all female and all rather beautiful. They possess flashing dark eyes, perfect white teeth, pert bosoms and bums that I can only imagine have been finely honed through many hours of gyration on the dance floors of Sao Paulo & Rio.  A selection of herb teas and a water cooler are on hand in the waiting room, the magazines that you find there are not like most dentists, five year old copies of wanky TV guides or gossip rags, but instead the latest editions of Vogue, GQ & National Geographic. All in all its a rather inviting sort of place to get your teeth done. 

Anyway, I go in because I have toothache & I know I need to sort my teeth out, there are problems in that mouth of mine. 

The Dentist takes one look in my mouth then insists that I have an appointment with his Hygienist before he will see me, I am then moved into the next room where a sweet scented Brazilian beauty gives my teeth a clean, looking up at her big brown eyes and listening to her talk about Brazil whilst her ample bosom brushes tantalisingly close to my face makes the experience the best I have ever had in a Dentists chair. 

Sadly she finishes the job far too quickly for my liking, once done I am ushered back into the Dentists room, take a chair & a minute or two later in he comes, he is extremely good looking, in a matinee idol kind of way and were I a lady, or a bloke that leant that way I should no doubt have a little swoon right there and then. 

Like a magician in no time at all he numbs my gums, cleans out an infected root canal  & gives my other teeth a cursory inspection. You will need a longer appointment for me to evaluate you properly, there’s a lot to be done he says with an air of gravitas. 

Make an hour appointment with reception, a prescription for antibiotics is waiting for you there. 

He glides out of the room to next door, where I can see his next patient waiting.

At reception I collect my prescription and pay my bill, its fucking astronomical. 

My vast intellect recommends I enquire about the costs of potential treatments as it sounds as though there will be lots to come. The receptionist hands me a printed A4 sheet which details the costs of implants, extractions, root canals and other treatments.

As I wander off reading the sheet the costs of treatment astounds me & I find myself uttering obscenities out loud like a Tourettes sufferer, fuck me, fucking hell, you’re fucking joking.

At this point I decided that I would not visit the Dentist in Ladbroke Grove again, instead I’d put it off until my next trip to India in a few months time, India has great Dentists & lots of people I knew had treatment there at a fraction of the cost of that in the UK that’s what I’d do. 

So cut to India, six months later, I am in Goa by the sea, off I trot to ‘The Singing Dentist’, yes, he likes to sing whilst he works, and by all accounts his voice is pretty good and to be honest the distraction of singing whilst a drill is in your gob really can’t do any harm can it?

The guy is really well respected so its not as if I need to worry.

As I’m sitting in the waiting room piped music is playing, Fleetwood Mac, not bad for old tunes, beyond the closed door he’s working on a patient, the words to “Go your own way” drift by sung by my Dentist. A few minutes later a German lady comes out, walks up to me and insists I look at her teeth. Look! Look! She says, aren’t they wonderful, he’s done such a wonderful job with my teeth, I am so happy………….  Joy expressed she heads out of the Dentist & shortly after I am called in. 

That first consultation lasts an hour, I am X-rayed, impressioned and my dental records noted down by an assistant as the singing dentist calls them out. Luckily he tells her in Hindi so I have no idea how bad my teeth are, just that there is an awful lot to write down.

Consultation completed he tells me notes need to be written up, a work plan created and costings done. I am to return in a few days time to go through it. 

On my return he sits me down at his desk and goes though two sheets of A4. You need nine immediate extractions, those first words blur most of what he said afterwards, but take it from me there was an awful lot to be done. The bill would cost around £10,000. 

In something of a daze I leave, after having made another appointment to begin the work. It will roll out over a six weeks or so and cost £10,000. In the UK it would be quadruple that. 

Extensive root canal, bone grafts, extractions, temporary dentures, X rays, MRI’s, top of the range Swiss implants with porcelain caps, I went for the best, I didn’t want to do it on the cheap. Hopefully this would see me out on dental work, no need for anything much else ever again with my teeth. 

First appointment with any real work being done duly arrives. In the waiting room I am greeted by Country & Western Music, not my favourite kind of music but there you go, at least its a distraction.  As I take a seat in the Dentists chair he tells me that today he will begin with the extractions. How many I ask, All of them he says in the most manner of fact way possible, nine. 

At this point he descends on me with a syringe and perforates my mouth with a dozen injections. 

Then a pair of pliers are in his hand and a new tune pipes up which he seems to really like as its on repeat. It’s a song by Kenny Rogers, ‘You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille’. 

Now given that Lucille was the name of my Ex.wife and that she did indeed leave me some years before ( though there were no crops in the field at the time) . And so there I sat. Watching my teeth being yanked from my mouth and dropped into a little kidney dish all to the dulcet tones of Kenny recounting how Lucille dumped her man. 

A few weeks later treatment for the present was complete so I returned to Europe, my jaw after extensive surgery needed six months to settle before the final ceramics could be fitted, but that was ok, I had a temporary denture, vile but workable for the interim.

I would head back to Goa as soon as the six months were up and have the job finished, it was all paid for up front anyway, the ceramics simply sitting in a draw waiting for me.

Six months later I go to get my Visa for Goa. I pay my £100 at the Indian High Commission in London & queue for hours to hand in my paperwork. A few days later I return to collect my passport. That same day India closes it borders because of Covid. There was no way of getting to my teeth. 

Since then I have spent six months in Spain, my temporary denture I inadvertently dropped on the marble floor of the bathroom, the front teeth were cracked and I now look like some bloke who got in a fight and was hit square in the mouth with an iron bar.  

The upshot of this all is that endentured as I am has done for a lot more than my smile, I really think that there is zero chance of me snogging a female until me and my teeth are reunited, for one thing I feel really embarrassed to have a denture, for another I’m worried that were some female to get close enough or indeed be of an inclination for oral action that there is every possibility that my jagged front teeth might cause laceration, and so Damn you Covid, you have ruined my love life, prevented me from smiling and meant that my teeth, top of the range porcelain as they are, all paid for and all mine languish in a Dentists drawer 7592 kilometres away from where they ought to be. And so through gritted teeth, half of them plastic and chipped I say Covid you suck.

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