I went to the dentist.
I had chipped my left front tooth and wanted it filed down so it was the same size as the right front tooth.
I went to the dentist and sat in the empty souless waiting room. No magazines just a big screen slide-showing adverts flogging teeth whitener, cosmetic dentistry and expensive implants.
The nurse came and collected me. We all had our masks on. I sat down and removed my mask. I revealed my incisor whose sharp edge, to help me bite into food, was no longer chisel like, more cracked, like an old bone china teacup that had been left in a chest somewhere in Surbiton. Call it vanity, but I wanted my smile to be radiant not flawed.
The dentist – new to me – sat behind me and looked at my chipped front tooth.
“How did you do it?” he enquired.
“On a date pip.”
He asked the nurse to get him the required bonding instruments and materials.
“Hold on” I said “I don’t want it bonded I want it filed.”
The dentist asked the nurse to give me a hand mirror. Like sleeping beauty I stared at my face in the little round glass. Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the most gullible of them all?
The dentist then told me that he couldn’t vouch for other dentists but given his prolific experience bonding was the answer. I told him that bonding doesn’t last.
“Nothing lasts.” he said “Motor cars…. anything mechanical.”
“I don’t want it bonded” I said with a little broken smile.
I asked him how much filing the tooth down would cost. He warned me that if he filed it it wouldn’t look anatomically correct and that the tooth next to it was smaller than it should be compared to a filed down version of my left front tooth. He told me that if he were to file it down he would be worried about my nerves and hurting me. I didn’t tell him that I never have injections when I have any kind of dentistry and that he didn’t realise he was dealing with ‘Marathon Woman’ and that Dustin Hoffman isn’t the only actor that is able to withstand pain whether Sir Laurence Olivier or even Michael Gove are drilling into their heads. I didn’t tell him anything cos my mouth was open. Gave him back the hand mirror and said firmly, not aggressively not even boldly just affirmatively that I would prefer to have my left front tooth filed to look like my right front tooth and that he had frightened the fuck out of me. I apologised to the nurse for swearing.
Then I asked how much was it to have it filed down.
“Twenty five maybe thirty pounds.” he said.
“And how much to have it bonded?”
“One hundred pounds.” he said without a hint shame.
I gulped, my mouth was now shut.
“Sorry I can’t afford that,” said I. “It’s not working is it?” and got up out of the chair and left.
Walked to my car, in the pouring rain, and drove off.
May mobile brrringed. It was the dental surgery.
“I’m sorry you’re probably driving” said the dental receptionist with the sunniest of inflections that wouldn’t go amiss in an Australian soap opera. ” But it will cost twenty five pounds for the….”
I didn’t let her finish.
“I’m sorry.” said I in a clipped voice with an inflection that would’t go amiss in an episode of EastEnders, “But I’m not paying.” I was matter of fact, not aggressive, not even bold, just wearily direct. “I’m sorry but it didn’t work out so I’m not paying twenty five quid for a mistake.”
I drove through the rain. I had been in the dentist chair for less than five minutes.
When I woke this morning – Mercury still in retrograde – I stood at the sink to brush my teeth before going to the dentist, and a huge splat of water landed on my right shoulder. The bathroom roof was/is leaking.
Now I didn’t know I was about to be ripped off by the dentist but I did know that we had been ripped off by JOE COSTER, I say his name in capital letters should anybody else think of using the little scum bag.
We paid him loadsamoney to fix our roof. He never completed the job. He told us his mother had died to cover his absence. He told us family members were ill to get out of wiping off the mess he had made on my plants, our path the next door neighbours butlers sink which is full of ferns. He lied about all sorts – the result is that we have a leaking roof that should have been mended by JOE COSTER.
That was rippety offedy number two.
Two downright disgraces in one day. And it’s happening all around.
I have no desire to partner Angela Rippon, Gloria Honeyford or Julia Somerville in their consumer affairs programme, but I do have a sense of fairness so when dentists try and stick it on you, or roofers try and take the mickey, somebody has to speak up.
I still have a chipped tooth, and the rain is still leaking in the bathroom, all over my lovely new carpet, which was rippedy offedy number three.
The bloke who laid the bathroom carpet didn’t realise that I would notice the raggedy edges round the bath. It looked like a chimpanzee had been let loose with a pair of blunt scissors. I called the shop, was firm, not aggressive, not jokey just straight. They sent us a new carpet and a man with know how who laid it beautifully and gave us the offcuts. I now have a bathroom carpet in the cellar upon which i stand when I do the ironing.
Have standards slipped or am I imagining it? I wonder whether the dentist was telling me the truth or not. Was he just wanting to make a few extra quid or was he right about my anatomically inadequate mouth? Was the roofer genuinely in mourning over his dying mother or was he just a lying pillock who thought he could pull the wool over the eyes of two old fuckers?
I’ll never know but as the rain drip drops into a yellow bucket strategically placed near the bidet, and as I carefully manoeuvre the dental floss round my chipped front tooth, I am seriously wondering whether to call Gloria or Angela to get them to investigate the malpractices of people who tamper with the roof of my mouth and the roof of my cottage.
I went to the dentist.