I would rather run stark naked across the Arctic with a Polar Bear on my tail than go to the Dentists. Of all the professions created by man this is the closest to the rival that of the Kings’ Torturer. The implements of their trade would delight Torquemada or Vlad the Impaler. As you enter the treatment room the first thing you see is the dental form of the rack with its’ light and multi- jointed arms hanging on the back. On one arm there is a tray to hold the torture devices and on the other a tiny sink to catch the blood. Usually there is no window in the room and the door is shut which I think is meant to instill a sense of dread like being sent to room 101 in the novel 1984.
Almost immediately you are asked to get into the chair by the dental assistant who is usually a woman and who, in your state of anxiety looks like Olga the wrestler so you dare not refuse. Once positioned on the chair (rack) she proceeds to adjust it and finally place a bib around your neck. This bibs’ function is to stop the blood from running down your chest and puddleing on the chair (rack). After fussing about for a few more minutes Olga leaves and you are left to your own devices. As I have a very active imagination I spend this time trying desperately to suppress it. It is usually an exercise in futility as the more I try to curtail it the more rampant it becomes.

My Dentist is a Japanese chap and really quite nice, outside of the dungeon. As I said I have a very active imagination and it reaches its’ apex as the door to the treatment room (torture chamber) opens and in he walks. He is always dressed the same in his full Samurai Armour brandishing a very long, sharp, lethal Katana in the typical overhead two handed position. At this point I am on the verge of passing out until I hear him say “Hi David, been a while” the image of this ruthless warrior evapourates instantly to be replace by a very pleasant smiling face. All the pleasantries are camouflage, smoke and mirrors, designed to calm the victim and prepare him/her for the excruciating pain that is soon to come. The Dentist will ask what can we do for you today. You tell him you have a cavity that’s hurting. He asks where you tell him he says OK let’s get an X-ray of it. Next thing you know they are shooting radioactive X-rays into your mouth and your thinking your teeth are going to glow in the dark by the time it is finished. A few minutes later he comes back and tells you that yep you got a large cavity that definitely needs filling and asked if it‘s OK to proceed. In a voice full of false bravado you reply OK all the time wishing you were somewhere, anywhere else.

Now that the work up to the main event has been complete you hear from somewhere behind you some mumbling and the rattle of something. Instantly you know they are preparing the needle full of Novocain. MOMMY, is being screamed silently in your mind. Then he is standing in front of you with his hand behind his back. He is attempting to hide the eight foot long dull needle and believe when I say it is eight feet long because I have felt every millimetre of it going into my gums. My hands now have the arms of the rack in a death grip, my eyes are closed, breathing is rapid and shallow, and he hasn’t even moved towards me yet. Around this time I open one eye just in time to see the needle enter my mouth and almost instantly strike. I don’t care what anybody says it hurts. As the Novocain is being pushed into the gum tissue there is a constant unintelligible mumble emitting from my vocal chords when translated it comes out as “Oh Shit, Oh Shit” over and over until the needle (which by the way feels more like a water pipe) is removed. Then there comes that condescending phrase “there that wasn’t so bad” I’m thinking how the hell do you know you weren’t being punctured. Anyway I have returned from my foray to the Inquisition none the worse for wear as I have been grant a reprieve from the torture rack until next Wednesday when the screaming, moaning, and groaning will probably start in earnest. So when you hear this [poor soul whimpering and softly repeating over and over again “PLEASE MOMMY I DON’T WANT TO GO” show some sympathy, already.



  1. Merle Baird-Kerr says:

    Great cartoon illustration!!! Your “Over Active Imagination” would cause anyone, reading your experience, to decline, delay, to decide on a later date or different dentist for second opinion. However, Brave You, David…for surviving the ordeal.

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