Today I am looking forward to yet another trip to the dentist’s.
You know – I have missed going to the dentist’s. It is, after all, nearly a week since I last went. Goodness knows what may have changed since then. Worlds have turned, parallel universes have made and unmade themselves. People have been born. People have died. Stars have winked in and out of existence like the breath of God, leaving a transient mist on a universal car window where the Holy Spirit has drawn a giant knob with his finger.
Dentists seem to remain eternally popular, no matter what.
Other me’s in other worlds have never been to the dentist in their lives.
Can you imagine?
I know I can’t.
It is not that we have had to go for terrible things. We have had check ups. But that is x 4, and I have to be there for each and every one. We have had braces removed. We have had abortive trips to have retainers fitted where the technician has kindly failed to make the retainer, but also smashed all the moulds so that he could not make another retainer. We have had trips to remake moulds. We have had trips to finally get the retainer fitted.
Last time we went I blithely swept out remarking that it would be a delight, nay a pleasure to have to see him again in six months time.
Then my phone pinged last night to remind me that I have a hygienist appointment this morning.
And I am grateful. Truly I am. I am grateful that I do not have to live in the land of medieval dentistry and have my rotting teeth pulled out with ancient, rusty farming equipment. I am incredibly pleased that the tricky skill of the anaesthetist’s job has translated across so well into the world of dentistry. I am deliriously happy that at the age of 42 I still have all my own teeth etc, or God knows what there will be to talk about when I am sitting on my Stannah Stair Lift waiting to go to Age Concern for bingo, but it’s all a bit of a ball ache isn’t it?
Like everything else you start doing with all the best intentions in the world because you know it will be good for you, you have to keep on doing it. And in our times, where the drive for new and improved and super perfection is ever higher and more demanding, it’s not good enough to whack some toothpaste on a few bristles and wave them about hopefully in your mouth. You can’t just eat less sweets, and spit pink goo into a bowl that looks like a urinal twice a year and have done with it. No, now you need to worry about gingivitis, and buckling, and bossing, and grinding, and shininess and whiteness and flossing and having a fifty speed rotating head toothbrush made of platinum with embedded diamond chips in it that tells you what the time is in Azerbaijan.
Yet I note that despite his terrifyingly perfect teeth, and all the futuristic clap trap that designers believe will adorn our homes in the next millennia, Tom Cruise had a shitty, plastic electric tooth brush in the film Minority Report, which he was using in a boringly traditional way, just before a load of nano bots tried to rip out his innards.
Maybe dentistry has now peaked and in the future it will be down hill all the way, until we are back to salt/soot mixtures and chewing on twigs in our space cars that fly vertically up walls.
Still, let us not worry about the future when we have the present to tie ourselves up in knots about.
Nowadays you can even worry about the health and shininess of your pet’s teeth as well, should you require a whole new level of paranoid achievement to strive for.
As if getting the children to brush for two minutes, twice and a day and not shoot toothpaste into the light fittings isn’t hard enough. Now I can worry about hulk smashing Derek into submission while I rub her sharp little fangs with pilchard flavoured toothpaste and massage her gums so that she can go to her grave with gleaming gnashers. I suspect, that if this were also on my to do list that it would be me in the grave first, punctured by tiny, pilchard flavoured holes.
The real and laudable progress in modern dentistry, I note, is that they rarely try to ask you where you’re going on your holidays any more, when it is clear that your mouth is full of half of the contents of Screwfix, and that whatever answer you are going to make will be accompanied by a great deal of gargling and a noise that makes it sound like every single person on the planet is going to Pwllheli en vacances.
I will see you on the flip side. New, improved and infinitely shinier.