Shut your mouth and cough up

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I HAVE never minded going to the dentist. What’s the worst that can happen? A few teeth out, a filling or two? None of it life threatening.

Some time ago I made an appointment with a dentist who came recommended, to see what I could do to invigorate my smile which – looking back at old photos – needed some tweaking.

After two consultations, numerous X-rays and a complete scan of my skull no less, I emerged a nervous wreck, clutching two estimates, the lesser of which would have purchased a small family car.

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There was talk of crowns and bridge work, and even bone grafts, for goodness sake. I only went in for a bit of cleaning, not looking for honorary membership to the Kardashian family or a set of choppers to compete with Red Rum.

I didn’t want to be pulled and pummelled about at my age – after all, I will be 49 in April. What??

So I settled on a third option and simply decided not to smile any more.

But the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that I needed a sprucing-up, but without the need of a loan from the IMF. And so I attended another dentist for a fresh appraisal.

Now, I get very nervous when I see a hugely expensive car parked outside a dental surgery and my flexible friend becomes very agitated in my wallet. But on this particular morning there was a swanky Ferrari Berlinetta parked nearby.

The surgery was an oasis of calm and the dentist re-assuring and professional, and unlike most of his colleagues, did not start asking me silly questions once my mouth was fully open and I was unable to answer without spraying the room with saliva.

Oh and why is it that when your chops are full of hardware and the dentist has his arm in your mouth up to the elbow, you get this irresistible urge to swallow? An action that inevitably ends with a choking fit of embarrassing proportions.

Anyway I left the building one hour later with the assurance that a suitable course of treatment was available that would not bankrupt me.

And I was just in time to see a sickeningly good-looking bloke wearing a polo shirt – with a motif of a chap on a horse, wielding a polo mallet – getting into the Ferrari. Obviously wealthy and successful, and worst of all – young.

Old, ugly and rich I can stomach, but some people seem to have everything, I cursed silently to myself, and I began to grind my teeth at the injustice of it all.

Then I remembered I couldn’t afford it.

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