My Kingdom For A Root Canal
Usually I write four or so articles a day. Why? Because I'm a writer, and I like to be professional, like Christian Bale, but with slightly less profanity. Today however, I wrote no articles. Why? Because I have spent the day stuffing myself into the small crevice between my bookshelf and sofa like a frightened feral cat. This position inhibits writing to a great degree, but it allows me to escape from the woeful reality which has befallen me.
You see my dear reader, I have an abscess. A tooth abscess that requires dental treatment of the distinctly not warm and fuzzy kind. I could just have the tooth pulled and be done, but because it's apparently unsightly not to have one of your front teeth, I've opted for the root canal treatment.
(In case you were wondering, judging me with judgementalness, no, I don't have this abscess because I ate too many sweeties and never brushed my teeth. I got it because when I was eight I made the foolish mistake of swinging into a steel bar. Curses! I knew all that childhood play was a bad idea. Mothers, wrap your children's faces in swathes of cotton wool and bubble wrap immediately.)
A root canal is a procedure that allows you to keep the teeth you once would have simply had pulled. Instead of a small fee, a little bit of pain and a gappy smile, you get to enjoy multiple visits, the draining of your bank account, the widening of your canal with a little drill bit and a dead tooth hanging out amongst the others like some kind of smug Lazarus.
I met the dentist today, a young Thai lady. She seems sweet, but I am not fooled. Under that demure, soft spoken exterior lurks the heart of a dentist. It's only a matter of time before she transforms into a heartless monster capable of ignoring even the most piteous whimpers of pain whilst she wields her damned drill.
In order to prepare myself for the ordeal, I was given a leaflet with a madly grinning woman on it whose soul has clearly been sold to the dark lord of dentistry. If I were to ever met her in person, I am sure that she would devour mine as a replacement, then charge me an exorbitant fee for the honor.
I noted during the consultation that dentists charge far more than makes any form of rational sense. A medical doctor must train for, what eight years in order to become a doctor, whereas a dentist only trains for five years. A doctor can diagnose rare and scary diseases, like Ebola, or Diabetes, whereas a dentist can only force you into a torture chair with their steely gaze and then inflict horrors upon you with pointy objects until you cry and give them all your money.
Yet seeing a doctor costs on average, about half as much as what a dentist visit costs. Why? I think I know why. Because dentists aren't over paid medical professionals, they're under paid domination specialists. If you go into the back section of a paper and look for someone who will subdue you with a look and then stick you expertly with needles and inflict painful sensations upon you whilst you lie there meekly like a lamb, and you're looking at perhaps, what $500 an hour? More? Who knows. A dentist will provide you with the same experience at a fraction of the price.
Of course, there are some trade offs. There's no safe word with a dentist, and the price of skipping the appointment and going to play with puppies in the dog park is accelerated decay, infection and perhaps even death. (Because tooth infection can spread into the soft tissues, thence into the blood stream and thence into the heart.) At least, that's what they tell me. There has to be fear everywhere you turn when it comes to dental issues, otherwise they lose a great deal of their charm. I'm pretty sure the International Code of Dentists states that if a patient isn't on the verge of a panic attack every time they so much as think about attending their dental appointment, the dentist is doing it wrong.