October 6th is already beginning to loom big and threatening on the horizon of my future. For that is the day I have to return to the tooth doctor for the second phase in the reconstruction of my mouth. He must have been dancing a jig of glee since I first turned up in his surgery with my fallen-out gold filling and the gap in my front tooth (see: Dental Arithmetic) and when he looked into my oral cavity and started reeling off the long list of things which were rotten in the state of my gob.
I don't think there is anything I like about going to the dentist...I don't like sitting in waiting rooms where all the victims gather before the onslaught; I don't like this awful chair dentists have and that blinding light they shine down at you..it's too reminiscent of James Bond about to be lasered in half the hard way from groin upwards. Then there is that brutal metal poking thing they jab in your gums, the cotton wool pads, the spit sucker-outer, that enormous fucking needle which injects you with the least effective anaesthetic known to mankind, the terrible whine of the drill and the smell of burning tooth - your tooth; the mumbled conversations you can only grunt along with, that glass of appalling mouth rinse and the frightened stream of saliva which just hangs there refusing to be spit out. After this there is that awful moment when your tongue finally gets to explore your teeth and finds them all wrong.
Above it all, hovering over the whole proceedings, there is the tense, raw fear which makes me stiffen my muscles and sweat embarrassingly profusely and which leaves me close to collapse when I finally try to get up from this butcher's slab.
I will then smile...or half of my mouth will, shake hands and thank this sadist for his work and quiescently go out into reception to make another appointment with terror.
And that is the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.