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Pensions – Steve Bee on the Joys of Dentistry

Steve Bee Gets Something to Chew On

 

I went to visit the dentist yesterday morning. Not my idea, my broken tooth insisted on it. Luckily, this time, this one broke the day before we went on holiday, and not the day after we got there like last time. (A bit of bone in a burger in an expensive restaurant in Madrid – my fault, apparently, for eating a burger).

 

I got to the dental surgery half an hour early. Not because I like sitting around in the waiting room there – which I don't, as it's something that has always filled me with horror – but rather because I thought the receptionist had said to come in at 10:00 and when I got there she swore blind she'd said 10:30.

 

Sitting in the waiting room and doing my best to ignore the sounds of drilling coming from upstairs, I struck up a conversation with a young couple who were there to see the hygienist; I'd have paid anything to trade places with them. Having your teeth spruced up and cleaned is a doddle compared to having bits of tooth drilled away while you're conscious.

 

Filling Time

They both got called in pretty soon, though, and they went in together, which I thought was a bit twee. That left me alone with just the receptionist for company. The drilling from upstairs was reaching fever pitch, and I thought I'd better get into some conversation with her, even though I wasn't overly impressed with her on the timing front.

 

I said I supposed a quick trip to the dentist for a half-hour or so was better than spending a Friday at work; I'd get the afternoon off which would be a bit of a bonus. She said to me, "what do you do?", and I said "I work in pensions", and she said she'd rather go to see the dentist every day rather than do that, which I thought was a bit off.

 

I asked her if she was in a pension scheme, and she said no, she just had a normal job – not the sort of job that came with a pension or fancy benefits or anything like that. And anyway, she was just twenty-five, so, like, why would she need one anyway?

 

I asked her how many people worked at the dental surgery, and she said about fifteen including the part-time hygienist. From that, I knew more or less when their staging date would be, so I said: "well, I know when your staging date will be", and she said "that's nice, and can you take this upstairs with you? They're waiting for you now."

 

Putting The Bite On

When I got upstairs I handed the thick file the receptionist had given me to the dentist's assistant – the one who's meant to smile at you and make you feel at ease – and she just took it and handed it to the dentist.

 

When he saw my name on the file, he immediately crossed the room and shook me by the hand. I figure he doesn't do that for everyone, but the treatment I've had there over the years must have contributed enormously to him having a Lamborghini rather than a mere Porsche on the drive in front of the surgery, so I guess it would probably strike him as being rude to do anything else.

 

The other thing about him, while I'm on about it, is that he's got this annoying habit of speaking to you when you're in his chair and your mouth is full of all kinds of awkwardly-shaped metallic instruments.

 

This time, when he spoke to me I'd already decided I wouldn't attempt to answer. Instead, I consoled myself with the thought that I knew something that he didn't know; I knew his staging date!

 

When he said to me, "feeling comfortable?", instead of attempting a reply, I simply contorted my face into what I imagined was a wry smile and thought to myself: 'I've got the edge on you for once, I know something you'll not be happy to hear'.

 

My wry smile, though, couldn't have looked as impressive as I'd hoped it would, because the four injections he'd put into my nose via my gum simply meant I'd dribbled the pink mouthwash all down my shirt. But then, it's not every day you get one up on your dentist, so I was still pretty pleased with myself.

 

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