I hate foil
I hate its noise, its thunderous trembling, the electric crackle when torn, the metallic crunch when it is folded or scrunched. It kills me, goes straight to my teeth, to the mercury successive dentists poked into my teeth, when I was a child, scared, white as a sheet, and it HURTS me
My first memory of a dentist was late. I was 4 or 5. I’m sure I should have seen one before that. I don’t recall being taught how to clean my teeth either, that’s not to say that I wasn’t. It’s just not to say that I was
In addition, I lived above a sweet shop. I was a female Agustus Gloop. With an Essex accent, the old sort not this vajazzled, befuddled interloper that has swaggered across the Atlantic and landed at Southend before working its way into our brains like a raucous, orange ear worm
I digress. I lived above a sweet shop. I developed a liking for sweets. I developed a sweet tooth. I developed tooth decay. Turns out it’s a natural cycle! Who knew? So I was toddled off to a dental practice, which in those days, early to mid 70s, always seemed to be in someone’s house
A tall, weird-smelling man with black hair and an accent like my doctor’s, Dr. Schwarzman, ushered me into a tiny room with the most enormous chair I’d ever seen, which I heaved myself up and into. Very comfy. All went well until first the Probes and explorers came out, then the drill started up..
From that second on even the smell of a dentist’s waiting room made me shiver with dread. I hated everything about the experience. The little card with my appointment written on it. The opaque window which slide open suddenly to reveal the receptionist. The square-set dental nurse with the 1940s hairstyle and flowery perfume. The strange angle of the door into the surgery. The weird angle of the dentist’s chair. The music he played on the radio. His smarmy charm. His greased back hair and his slick grin, his huge teeth.
I can’t talk about the injections and the drilling and the succession of sadistic dental practitioners that followed. It makes my teeth squeal, scream and screech.
And ever since, the sound, touch and sight of foil always makes me teeth feel as if I’m chewing a piece of the stuff. It’s worse now, as post-transplant, and they only told me this as I was leaving hospital, “You really need to take care of your teeth” because of having no immune system…
(Now you tell me!)
My last dentist, N7 Dental Care on Holloway Road, quietly dropped this particular NHS patient from their books. Given that I had developed such a screaming, flesh-crawling, break out in sweats, go catatonic, phobia of dentists, I wasn’t that bothered.
But now the lil ol’ pegs are crumbling when I crunch on a crisp, or cracking when I bite on cashew, or sticks to a piece of gum? One bit just fell out as I was walking across the floor of the hospital ward! I have impacted wisdom teeth too, oh joy.
The pain is like having foil dug into an open cavity with a metal “explorer” – that thin silver instrument that he wields then strikes, it’s a spike digging into your bicuspid. At the moment I have that’s in one molar all the time, irrespective of care, cleaning or pain management.
If you currently booze a lot, at least make sure you clean your teeth before you pass out. And use sunscreen. When I was younger and all this started, I thought, “I’ll wait until they all fall out and then get them replaced.” Now that they’re disappearing, I really want to hold on to them.
Oh. Yes, just remembered. I hate foil. Why? Because it’s pill refill day and they don’t come in bottles anymore.