Saturday, July 4, 2009

The curious case of my teeth

"Now Shivu, you need to hold the tissue carefully, else you will end up giving post-procedure pain to the dear boy..." says Dr.SS who drives the cutting tool farther down the 3rd molar.

"ah?!", laments I...

what is it about CCD?
that's makes me so uneasy...
is it the others around me?
Or the prices which make me say, "Wowee"...

So went my lame attempt at poetry, whilst waiting for Anna and M at the nearby CCD. As always, the cafe maintained its reputation of playing totally inane music. That combined with the incessant tittering of a couple sitting beside my table, made me to work more on my quartet...

The arrival of M and Anna, saved me the label of acquiring the poetic abilities of Vogons (as fans of H2G2 might recall with pleasure). The observer that M is, she asked me about the puffed right cheek. "Didn’t get into any trouble, i suppose...” she adds naively... Knowing fully well, that if i did, the damages wouldn’t have stopped with a puffed right cheek.

So to end all the mystery, i begin the narrative of the Curious case of My teeth. A case, whose 'what-the-what?' quotient is so high that, it will make the identity of the final Suitor of Rakhi Sawant and twitter updates of Ashton Kutcher, seem passe.

The narrative had many timelines to it, so i tried to pull of a Memento trick on the duo, but on her insistence i was forced to take up the linear technique.

After adjusting my position to that of a dental veteran...

{which involves stretching the legs, leaning on one of the arm rests and a mock adjustment of eye glasses with a distant look and masterly ordering hot choco latte for everyone, taking a gentle sip and...}

"So it all began, in the middle of a fine dinner circa 199x (x=6,7) when i complained of a Mamatha Banerjeesque tooth which refused to fall and was promptly seated on a dentist's chair, in the neighbourhood. The Dentist frowned at the condition of the tooth, the jaw and mumbled about the complexity of the case, before he loudly announced, “the tooth must be extracted and everything will be fine".

(" 'Everything will be fine', was always the phrase, which would be followed with no-holds-barred pain and horrors in my dental history...)

Cheap numbing spray and a few yankings later, I got to say goodbye to my first tooth. And thus began the journey of extractions, a journey which took not the beaten path of losing teeth by natural means, for ex. falling from bicycle, swallowing the about-to-go tooth, fighting etc. But the glorious path of artificial means which involved machinery and procedures of such beauty and complexity, it would have made any engineer's eyes moist with wonder."

"Even i have had extractions: P" interjected M. But to the reply, "Have you had 16 of them?" made her decide not to interject any more.

"16 extractions I have had dear and i don’t lie. 8 of them milk and 8 of them permanent. To the effect that, I am making do with just 24 out the 32 god gifted tools with which man has achieved so much." At this point she :O ed and took some time to regain her composure and i ordered another latte in good measure. Anna says, " But you don’t look like someone having 75% of human teeth.." (Probably expecting 8 empty slots neatly lined up..)

"That’s the X factor. The shape of the jaw and teeth and their sizes make up for the loss such that you wouldn’t notice. (I wink for the final touch).

"After the first extraction, my dad suggested that I consult a dentist capable of handling my case. And the visits to the White House clinic on St.Marks road began from thereon, a frequent haunt for 7 years nearly."

"Some from extractions followed and the foundation for Orthodontic treatment or teeth correction was laid during the middle school years. Braces firmly fixed upon admission to high school. But the extractions continued unabated. The only cheerful aspect of this episode was the brief mention that someday my case might make into the Journals of Dentistry. International recognition for my teeth was indeed heartening."

"People inculcate the virtue of Patience from dealing with warnings in Vista or Dial up internet connections, but I inculcated that from my visits to the clinic. The agonizing wait for the dentist, then the wait for the anesthetic to act (during extractions), the wait for the visit in itself to get over with; were tests of patience far greater than the pre 1991 telephone/cooking gas/car procurements..."

"There was a brief lull (with the completion of correction treatment), during the PU years and the 2 years of engineering, which gave me a false sense of contentment that the epic was drawing to a close. But a week ago, during a routine checkup, Dr.SS announced, “4 wisdom teeth have to be removed immediately." Abhi kahani bakhi hain mere dost, slurred SRK in the Reception room TV."

“After a while, I experienced a return to familiar territory. Having personally witnessed the evolution of Dentist chairs, equipments and procedures over the period of my treatment, I felt, there’s nothing more that ain’t prepared for. Horror stories of others’ wisdom extractions failed to unsettle me. ‘Bring it on’, I said to myself.

Although the extraction was complex enough to involve Maxillo-facial surgeons and innovative methods like breaking the tooth to 3 pieces before removal, I took it in… During the entire period of extraction, the final ten minutes of Requiem for a Dream played over and over again in my head. (The only movie segment, which unsettles me and gives me goose bumps, even when viewed in broad daylight… the music, the sequence of images brrrrrr….).

And thus the right cheek got puffed up…” said I ending the narration, much to the relief of my audience, who were bored enough to count the number of times the adverts had repeated, on the OOH TV plastered to the wall.

“So now I get that fixation of yours in expecting well maintained teeth from others,” says M. I sheepishly agree, much to the amusement of the duo.

As we leave CCD, with droplets of rain coming down ever so gently upon us, I realize that although I go through those moments of “why me? Why do I, of all the people, had to go through such agony and pain?”, I must count my blessings. Unwavering support and insistence from parents (Amma especially) on getting the treatment done, Brilliant dentists on whose wisdom I trusted, and permitted to operate upon on my teeth, the opportunity of getting my leg pulled among friends about my fixation and offering them a few laughs…

Its worth it all… :)


Merin Mandanna said...

Swear to God, 16?!!! Has got to go down in Journals!
"Having personally witnessed the evolution of Dentist chairs, equipments and procedures over the period of my treatment" says it all, my friend! I shall not mock you when you comment on other's teeth, never again.:D
Great read,Nakula. Somehow,couldn't keep from grinning as I read it. :D

Chaitanya said...

What the what?
I have just 2 i think :D

Nice post da :)

Akshata said...

You must have kept the tooth fairy busy. :p
Allow me to make a cruel joke or two directed towards your jaws.
You won't? I'll make them anyway. B-)

@ jaw 1:

"Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost". :D (hopefully not).

@ jaw 2:

Who is gonna let a jaw without wisdom teeth chew A rated food? :P

Boneywasawarriorwayayix said...

Heheheh...Nice one!! Vogon Arzoon Badwatch is proud of you!! I guess I beat you as to the number of teeth that has been forcibly pulled out...I have had almost all my milk teeth on the upper row removed + 1 extremely painful surgery :D

What happened was this...As a kid, I had extremely uneven set of teeth..So as usual, my mom with her encyclopedia of "Pakkadha-Beedhi-Knowledge-thanks-to-Susheela-&-Parvati-of-Pakkadh-beedhi" decided to remove each tooth so that there will be enough space for the next permanent tooth to grow. And finally I had a beautiful set of teeth.

And then suddenly one long canine tooth began to grow... making me look like a half baked saber-tooth tiger..

XRays showed that I had another tooth sleeping inside the palette like Narayana sleeping on Adisesha...
After a bloody 3 hours surgery, they were able to remove it...leaving me with one lion-tooth!! I am never going to forgive the dentist who finally yanked out the tooth from its sleeping position!! Bloody thing didn't even end then...They had to put stitches!! Fsck maann!!


Merin Mandanna said...

^ :-o Ushoo!

Aksie... :D :D

Vinay Hegde said...

I thank your teeth; they made you post after a loooooooooong time :P

Apart from some fact-warps, a very enjoyable read :)

Don't stop writing, piLLey! :)

Meena said...

You're a hero! You must now be ready to take any kind of endurance test on the face of the earth

Boneywasawarriorwayayix said...

Rename the post as

*My Experiments with tooth*


Akshata said...

*gives toothy smile* :D

Anonymous said...

Heh. Funny.

PS: Surprisingly, I've only had 4 extractions and that also for my braces. No pain only. (YAAY!)

- M