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Grin and bear it

A visit to the dentist is a recurring nightmare, writes Tanvi Bhatikar.

health and fitness Updated: Dec 20, 2007 15:02 IST

Every time I sit in the dentist's chair, I'm reminded of the poem - This Is Going To Hurt Just A Little Bit. The poet, Ogden Nash compares the mouth to a construction site..

"It is all cluttered up with stone crushers and concrete mixers and drills and steam rollers and there isn't a nerve in your head that you aren't being irked on.."

Must do
Not surprising then, that the routine six-month dental check-up is often ignored and the dreaded trip is made only when the pain is intolerable.

That's me. But there are others who would never miss an appointment with the orthodontist in the quest for the perfect smile.

In fact, a large number of children are opting for braces and dental treatments at an early age.

Early start
"The need to look good always existed, but parents today have become far more conscious about their child's appearance," says dentist Josef Reuben. Orthodontist Sharrad Kumar has a different opinion. He explains the sudden flock of children to his Vashi clinic as "a sign of awareness of dental problems amongst adolescents."

While most of us consider visits to the dentist as "pure torture", there are a lucky few who come back laughing. Tarana Inamdar recalls how the dentist had inserted inserted a gel in her mouth to cast a mould of her teeth.

"The sticky yellow stuff was smeared all over my mouth and spread to my nose as well. I had to avoid people all day. I felt like a snoop, sneaking around corners," she recalls.

Lighter note
Doctors have had some funny encounters too.

"One of my patients was really apprehensive about getting braces put. She thought that she would resemble a horse. But eventually she was so happy with the mouthful of metal, that she barred me from taking them off," Kumar chuckles.

The relationship that Anuj Saha shares with his dentist is ironical.

"I visit my dentist regularly to get rid of smoke stains from my teeth. He is a family friend, and after the clean-up we often go out for a smoke," Saha grins.

Wordsworth Nash ends his poem with the words.. "And this, O Fate, is I think the most vicious circle that thou ever sentest that Man has to go continually to the dentist to keep his teeth in good condition when the chief reason he wants his teeth in good condition is so that he won't have to go to the dentist."

Truer words were never written.