On teeth

It is possible that I hold socialist opinions on teeth. My gums are red, my thoughts are too – coloured by the pain from the abscess that is gnawing its way through.

So I imagine a parallel universe where dentists wear smiles, welcome and treat patients on demand; toothache? Oh dear, can you wait fifteen minutes? Yes? Do sit down, they say. We’ll soon sort it out.

As I don’t know enough about applied quantum mechanics or the whereabouts of this potential universe to make this happen, I resort to mouthwash and when that fails to alleviate the condition, I bribe my doctor to provide me with antibiotics (yes, even in my universe, this is a possibility). And what do I bribe him with? No, not money, don’t be silly, with eggs – half a dozen freshly laid eggs – which hardly constitutes a bribe but is in no way tawdry and just as effective …

The logical part of me thinks like this: teeth are a part of the body; they emerge from the gum, like nails emerge on toes and finger ends – so why can they only be treated by dentists? Perhaps another universe exists where dental technicians are sited at a health centre? It would be so simple. The state of your teeth or gums is affecting your health? Then come and see our dental technician; he’ll fix it for you …

Of course this will never happen in my universe, where dentists – purveyors of implants and veneers – charge extortionate amounts of money so I can what … look good? Looking good, having straight white perfect teeth isn’t what I need, or want right now. If I did, I’d be prepared to pay for it. My priorities are healthy gums and teeth with which I can eat. I think that’s fair enough, isn’t it? And hardly radical …

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