Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

The torture chamber

- FW

The dentist’s armoury of weapons of pain has certainly grown since the days of a pair of pliers. Bridges, crowns and jawbone implants now offer the promise of a perfect smile. When last did you see a teenager without dental braces? I suspect, though, that this is more a plot by mothers to make their daughters unattracti­ve to boyfriends than to straighten crooked teeth.

Surely any person choosing dentistry as a profession has a sadistic streak. Imagine, endless opportunit­y to inflict pain!

Taking a sip of coffee with Jan on my stoep, I felt the nerve in a back molar explode. “Aaaahaaaa!” I moaned. “Toothache, Townie?” Jan smiled unsympathe­tically. ”Forget the coffee, rather have a Klipdrift. But lose the ice.”

I hadn’t been to a dentist since arriving on the farm. Jan’s dentist offered to fit me in, no doubt thinking I’d be a new recruit to his torture chamber.

The nurse instructed me to sit on the dentist’s chair, and made it recline. Now I couldn’t get up if I wanted to run away! I felt panic set in.

The masked doctor arrived, his sadistic leer well-hidden.

“Is this the tooth that hurts?” he asked, blowing freezing air onto a rear molar, then striking it with what seemed like a ten-pound hammer. “Aaaaah!” I screamed. “Root canal treatment, I’m afraid,” he diagnosed.

I saw the syringe, dripping novocaine like a puff adder’s fang. The needle pierced my gum and went up into my brain. Vizzzzz! went the high-speed drill. Slooop! went the pump in my throat.

After what seemed an age, I heard the wonderful news: “All done!

See you in a week for the permanent filling.”

He raised the chair, and I got up on rubber legs and stumbled out.

I’d arranged to meet Jan at the pub, and he found me sipping Klipdrift through a straw, dribbling it down my chin.

“How’d it go?” he asked.

“Just a simple root canal procedure, nothing to it really,” I said weakly.

I’ve got another phobia now: syringes! Seeing one sends me into a paroxysm of fear.

“Townie, would you like to help me inoculate my cattle tomorrow?” Jan asked. “Sorry Jan, I’m very busy tomorrow!” I lied.

– Derek Christophe­r

• Email Derek Christophe­r at farmerswee­ Subject line: Townie.

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