written and posted by members of Lancashire Dead Good Poets' Society

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Vestigia - Something to Get Your Teeth Into

19:04:00 Posted by lancashire dead good poets , , , , , , , , , , , , , 5 comments

“Some pains are physical and some pains are mental, but the one that’s both is dental.” Ogden Nash (1902 – 1971)

If you are an adult with four, perfectly formed and completely erupted wisdom teeth that have taken their rightful place without a twinge, you are very lucky. Or you have a big mouth. Not all of us can accommodate these vestigial teeth, still they come pressing and squeezing and causing pain with no sign of evolution stepping in.

Our ancestors had large jaws and extra molars to cope with their natural diet. Meat was sometimes raw and plants took lots of chewing. Upper and lower canines were more pointed and sharp.

Wisdom teeth, which, if all goes well to become our third molars, start to make their presence known from the late teens onwards. There was no room for mine.

The worst thing for a seventeen year old trainee dental nurse is to find herself on the receiving end of some oral surgery, take it from me. It’s one thing assisting a dentist and reassuring a patient, but when you’re the patient and you know exactly what’s going on, it’s a bit scary. And it is fair to say that even with self-knowledge and lots of faith in dental professionals, I can be anxious.

The pain started at work. It was mainly ear-ache then the jaw started hurting. My boss was on to it, having a look, taking xrays and making the kind of calming sounds that lets you know they are very happy in their work. A few days later and Sunday morning found me in safe hands, in the private dental surgery at his home address, with his wife making my dad a cup of tea. Dad had driven me there and was more apprehensive than me. I was making my best effort to be brave. Out came the wisdom tooth, no problem. About three weeks later, we were doing it again with the other side.

Our son has been blessed with a fabulous smile of straight, healthy, well-cared for teeth with no fillings. However, he has a ‘text book’ horizontal impacted lower-left wisdom tooth, the best – or worst, depending on your point of view – I’ve ever seen on an xray. He wants to keep it, at least for now.

Wisdom teeth, problems for lots of people and not needed anymore. Future generations, millennia ahead, might have got rid.

A poem from Manasi Saxena on the All Poetry website,

Dear Wisdom Tooth,

I am sorry for not having attended to you so far,
I did not realise you were needing more space to grow
and that you had things to say.

I thank you for troubling me now,
when I can understand that you mean well,
for the lesson you are offering me
that sometimes we need to let go of things
we cannot make room for
because they cause pain and anguish and
need to be returned to the universe lovingly.

Please forgive me for having neglected you so long
and for not being aware of your pain.

I love you, and now lovingly give you back to the universe.
May you find peace and space and freedom in your
return to the origins.

So it is, so it is, and it is done.


Thanks for reading, Pam x


Steve Rowland said...

By coincidence, I went to the dentist today - just a routine six-monthly check-up, scale and polish. I've never had issues with wisdom teeth, unlike my brother who had his extracted under GA - and later found a foot-shaped bruise on his chest!

lancashire dead good poets said...

Oh, the stories I hear! Mostly it's the horrors of the school dentist that has traumatised some people for life. I hope your brother was ok. As a child I had 4 premolars removed, one each side, upper and lower re overcrowding, my wisdom teeth stood no chance. You're one of the lucky ones.

Luke Taylor said...

Ouch, wince!!! :)

Billy Banter said...

Nice dental epigram from Ogden Gnash!

Lizzie Fentiman said...

It's a bit of a strange poem - "may you find peace and space and freedom"...strewth, it's a tooth! Manasi never heard of the tooth-fairy? :)