This story has some teeth

Mine is a story with a sorry ending, a tragic start and with a bit of teeth in it.

My far back tooth has become somewhat famous at my dentist's surgery over the past six months. When I phone the dentist, the receptionist usually asks "Is it that tooth again?" or sometimes just laughs when I announce myself.

It's a sad situation when your name alone causes such mirth, and even you start to wonder what sort of psychosis causes you to frequent the dental chair so often. I like my dentist because I think he's a good dentist and a really nice person but, let's face it, the dental chair is no place for conversation.

Yet never have we held such conversations as I describe a toothache that spreads like a musical decresendo sign across my bottom jaw into my ear and back out across the top teeth. My dentist has investigated all possibilities, tapping the teeth, applying bits of cold and pondering the problem with me.

I have felt a little fraudulent about the pain that gives me agony everywhere except the dentist's chair. But by the power of elimination and generally great dental sleuthing he found the cause.

And so it was with blessed relief that he filled the tooth with an exotically smooth white filling.

I marvelled at being pain free for a few months before it started back again and so I returned, apologetically. He took another look and this time ascertained that it would need a little bit of calming down. He removed his wonderful work, squirted it with some magic potion that took away the pain and gave me a temporary filling. Of course coronavirus then started, and I was left to cope with the words 'temporary' and 'tooth' in the same sentence.

Being the ornery thing that it had become, said tooth started that painful decresendo just before a long weekend prompting a return to his wonderful chair and his laughing receptionist. Temporary filling number two, much pacification and a conversation about the tooth and its sad looking future ensued.

And now, this crumbling colloseum-like structure of pain has gone, pulled out by those same hands that filled it with such care. Even in death, it caused some grief and had to be divided in order to be conquered. It has caused mahem and merriment in equal measure.

- Linda Muller