Things I noticed while at the dentist today having some major work done

'I'm going to put this massive wadge of cotton wool in your mouth
 and then I'm going to ask you all about your summer holidays.  Okay?'

At the dentist ....

1. You sit in a waiting room, wishing you were in the mood for people-watching, ie making interesting observations about what others do when they're nervous.  But you are not.  You too are texting people to whom you have nothing decent to say, biting your nails (perhaps for the last time for a while) and curling your toes up towards the ceiling.

2. You read, from cover to cover, a magazine called 'Groom your Dog the Tai Chi Way' or 'Collect Tree Bark as a Lifelong Pastime' and find it absorbing.

3. The words which come over the tannoy ('Fran to Room 3, please) you hear as 'Climb the stairs to your eternal doom' and the receptionist has to tell you it's your turn.

4. You enter the dentist's surgery and hear his opening words ('Hello, Fran, how are you?') as 'Lie down on this couch and let me drill down through your palate and up into your brain tissues until you scream for mercy'.  You only just stop yourself from saying, 'I think I've changed my mind.  I have a better plan for my afternoon which involves putting my head inside the jaws of a starved shark'.

5. You realise that, however handsome the dentist, you and he (should you be free, of course ...) are never going to become an item.  You can dress up all you like in a nice spotty cardi and your favourite black trousers, but all he'll be looking at is your ageing gums, the purple veins at the back of your tongue, and your epiglottis.  It's not a good start to a relationship.

6. Another woman, to whom you have not given an explicit invitation, gets to stare at your face under a bright light under the pretence of sucking extra liquid from your mouth with a vacuum cleaner.  She gets to muse for a LONG TIME on your upper lip hair, the little cluster of moles on your right cheek and the fact that you probably have yesterday's mascara on.  She also gets to dress you in a pair of plastic goggles and a plastic apron, as well as watching you spit into a sink.  She is one happy lady.

7. You suddenly become very adept at making up little games for yourself while there's a shedload of plasticine in your mouth, waiting to set.  These games are called, 'How long will it take for that cloud to go past that bit of the window?' and 'How many ceiling tiles are in this room?' and 'How much of Paradise Lost can I really remember?'

8. Things about pink liquid.  a) Drinking pink liquid and spitting it out of your mouth is much more difficult when your mouth isn't where it was earlier in the day.  b) Pink liquid down your shirt is not comfortable or pretty. c) Pink liquid looks even pinker when it's been spat, not in the sink, but over the edge of it.

9. The dentist's words ('Right, that's all done, then') make you so happy that you mishear them as 'I am not a dentist, really.  I am George Clooney in disguise and I think you are stunning.  Let us run away together on a white horse.'

10. It's best not to smile at the bus driver or any passengers when you journey home, however pleased you are to be out of there.  However hard you try, smiles after anaesthesia don't work as well as they do without anaesthesia, and as you are probably dribbling as well, you don't want to spoil your joy by having to explain to a police officer why you are trying to scare people.


  1. Tee hee - I had anaesthesia for the first time in my life earlier this spring, and I found it hilarious. Especially the part where my jaw was regaining feeling before my tongue. I must have looked like a complete lunatic as I was sitting the whole time poking my chin with my tongue to test what I could feel and not. Very weird! (My dentist was female, though, so no George Clooneyisms apply)

  2. Brilliant - Another Fran observational humour classic! But hey, there is nothing wrong with 'Collect Tree Bark as a lifelong Pastime'. I am a subscriber.

    One other thing. Why is the pink liquid that you have to spit out (in front of woman looking at facial hair) always gritty? What's that about?

  3. What I hate is having my own drool mopped up a lady wearing a surgical mask and wielding what is essentially a minature Dust-buster. It's so damned degrading.

  4. Anonymous5/7/10 11:54

    Very funny post, Fran. I identify with all of those points. My dentist is female and has a full bosom that oftens traps my hair. When she sees my face wearing its 'I'm in pain' expression, she temporarily ceases her mining activities. I do my best to mumble that the drilling is fine but that she's pulling my hair.

  5. Yes, but the dentist won't be half as handsome when all he does is inspect your gums after removing your full denture. Which is the alternative to you suffering hellishly now.

    Do you know, they are telling me that the young (even younger than you)
    don't have any of these problems any more because they all had orange juice as babies.

    My dentist has a children's mobile and a poster with lots of little pictures
    on the ceiling. Every desperate gust of breath I manage to send up past the hardware in my mouth sends the mobile into a spin, which then obscures the pictures. You'd think they'd learn, wouldn't you. I have never yet managed to count all the little picture squares.

  6. Well , at least you survived . Now all you've got to do is pay the bill ..... and go back in six months .
    Oh yes , and brush and floss ....
    You can see why people used to have all their teeth out in their twenties and never had to worry about anything other than the occasional blackberry pip underneath their dentures ever again .

  7. Cruella - it is indeed a very weird feeling, as though your mouth and surrounding area is now made of a completely different material.

    Steve - it will all happen again when you're 103. Get used to it.

    Christine - love the bosom/hair dilemma. That made me laugh.

    Friko - if dentists had, instead of baby mobiles, those fly papers that hang from the ceiling, at least we could count the corpses.

    Annie - I guess it's because you add gritty bits to the liquid. It's what they've just shaved off your teeth. Oh yuk.

    SmitandSon - ah, the bill. I paid that today. It hurt almost but not quite as much as the post-anaesthetic come-round.

  8. Hilarious, Fran. I hate everything about dentists and it is even worse if you can believe it when I bring my kids - I feel like wrenching all the implements from the dentists hands and have the double guilt of being a sugar supplier mother when they have to have a filling.

    Can you please get a regular newspaper column with these witty pieces so my non-blogger friends can share the comic genius.

  9. Coincidentally , this evening I heard Ray Charles and Ricky Skaggs singing "Friendship" .
    There are a couple of lines that might eventually apply if we all don't keep on visiting the toskedokter
    (Frisian for dentist for non-Fridge Soupers) .

    "And if you ever lose your teeth
    and you're out to dine ,
    you can borrow mine "

  10. I am at the moment trying to convince myself that i don't have tooth ache :( The last time i went to the dentist they had the television series Coast on a screen above my head with no volume and i had to take my glasses off and couldn't see a thing anyway. I used to enjoy that programme x

  11. All of these are hilarious, especially the bit about dentists asking you questions before stuffing stuff into your mouth. It's like they WANT you to drool on yourself or gag - both of which are inevitable if you try to speak with all that in your mouth. The heat from the lamp and the dizzying effect of lying on your back with your head close to the ground make gagging that much more likely.

    Sadists, they are! Sadists! (kidding)

  12. I hate going to the dentist with a passion although mine is a lovely man and I wouldn't go anywhere else. We always have the conversation about how small my mouth is (yes, reslly) and how difficult it is to get round.
    I think I need to take a leaf out of your book and improve my diversion tactics. Clouds sound good.

  13. linensandroyals5/7/10 15:19

    There is a window in your dentist's room? I have to suffer claustrophobia while shut in a windowless box at my dentist. Last visit to my dentist he proudly discussed his new swimming pool with that other woman in the room while I sat, unable to speak and knowing I would be paying for a large chunk of pool.

  14. Looking forward to being able to afford to schedule a long overdue dentist's visit. How pathetic is that?

  15. Anonymous5/7/10 22:14

    A lovely amalgam of ideas....
    Great post. Thanks for this.

    All the best, Boonsong

  16. Ah I am put in mind of a wonderful Alan Sherman song called "Dr Prentice, the Painless Dentist" (which he sung to the tune of "The Continental"). There was a line in it about his dental nurse which simply went : "this is Miss Klinger, you've met her finger". Priceless.

  17. George Clooney and I are having a sleep late/at home day today. This morning he washed the skirtings whilst I swept the patio, and over frothy coffees and Hobnobs at 11 we read your blog together. He blushed at the mention of his name and asked me to thank you.
    Anna May x

  18. I have the additional snag that my dentist, while young and really quite attractive, has a very strong Cork accent. And I have an Edinburgh one. These facts do not aid our communication (plus open-mouth, cotton wool etc.)

  19. It's the paying large amounts for the privilege that gets me - and being told off for not flossing properly when you can't answer back.

  20. My Dentist charges and arm and a full set of teeth to do the slightest amount of work. Every other year, he slaps an x-ray in for good measure, before announcing that he's off on another skiing holiday.

  21. Brigid - if you know any newspaper editors who will take me on, please give them my phone number, email, blog address and full home address. Meanwhile, I think there's a little 'email this' icon under the posts, so you could always send the posts on to people if you like them. The posts. Not the people. Or maybe them too.

    SmitandSon - I guess that means at least one person would be eating soup.

    Alexandra Mason - how cruel, to have a favourite programme, but no sound. I am sure that programme has indeed been eternally ruined for you. And even crueller when 'the coast' is exactly where you'd prefer to be. The coast. Any coast.

    Loveable - I think, yes, sadists. And maybe masochists, too, because who would go into a profession that meant dealing with the insides of people's mouths day in, day out. Can't understand it.

  22. elizabethm - you're lucky. I never have ANYONE telling me how SMALL my mouth is. Quite the opposite.

    linens - I can see how that would have stuck in the throat. Literally.

    EnglishRider - I feel your pain. I waited 18 months for this one for the same reason ...

    Boonsong - thank you for your nice comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

    Alan - that's two of you who've been reminded of songs about teeth. I never knew there were so many!

    Anna May - I'm not speaking to you.

    Isabelle - that, indeed, is a barrier to any meaningful communication. That made me laugh!

    Jane - yes, they always take their chance to nag you just when you can't defend yourself. Not fair at all.

    Martin H - you will sympathise with Linens and Royals, then, too, whose treatment pays for swimming pools.

  23. Oh, I hate the dentist. I've had loads of teeth pulled out due to the lame fact that I had too many teeth for my mouth. The pain started at age 5 and didn't end until 17. I now have very nice teeth but a real dental phobia!!

  24. P.S. with apologies - I've tagged you for a meme. See my blog for details!

  25. Talli - That sounds like a long and painful journey towards that lovely smile in your profile pic.

    Steve - I will trog on over and have a dekko. (Feeling like being silly with words today.)

  26. I have not been able to bite my nails properly - never mind a piece of thread - ever since I went to the dentist on May 25. He doesn't understand why this is so difficult to accept.

    And I'm on board with ER, as had my mother not died, I would have had to finance my crown.

  27. Deborah - I guess ER must be some kind of insurance thing. I am paying for my crown with money from marking external exams. Boring, boring, boring. What happened to the new laptop/holiday/wardrobe of summer clothes?

  28. A great observations about what does the Dentistas, and having a major working done. Keep on sharing a post like this.

  29. beautiful!


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