Friday, 5 October 2007

A Little Dental Music

“Who wants their teeth done by the Marquis De Sade?”

Well not me! It also has to be said that the song I have taken that quote from is not a good one to listen to when awaiting dental treatment. The song is, of course, “Dentist” from “The Little Shop Of Horrors” which is frankly enough to put anyone of having a filling for life.

However, although I stay clear of this particular show, musicals have proven to be a brilliant aid in my coping with uncomfortable dental procedures. “How on earth do you do that?” you may ask. Well it’s simple really. From the moment the dentist approaches me with – well maybe a drill, or even that horrible tube that sucks out the saliva , in my head I try and go through a complete musical. Around ten years ago it was “A Little Night Music” that got me through four crowns. Now I don’t know if you have ever had a crown but it really is quite horrible when they grind the original tooth down to a point to slot the new porcelain tooth on. So there I am, sucker in one cheek and feeling bits of tooth hitting the roof of my mouth as the dentist prepares for the crown. In my head Desiree Armfeldt is sending out invitations for “A Weekend In The Country” as I struggle to obliterate the pneumatic drill that seems to be present in my open mouth. I gloss over “Every Day A Little Death” as it seems a tad too close for comfort, and the dentist is very confused when, on asking me if I am ok, I reply “Hi Ho The Glamorous Life”. All in all “Night Music” made this particular procedure far less painful than anticipated! A success in fact!

Equally effective was, on the occasion of a wisdom tooth’s removal, “West Side Story”. The up-tempo numbers always work best and this show has plenty. “Cool” is probably the best song in the show, as keeping cool is a definite asset. “Dance At The Gym” is one best omitted however. Trying to mambo when you have to keep your head still is not so easy, and the temptation to promenade out of the surgery altogether is also very great. I seem to remember “Rent” working quite well once too.

The big draw back of this method for dental coping is the fact that the dentist is invariably not in tune with me as a patient. I mean, fair enough, they should be concentrating on matters in hand, but honestly they should get their timing right. Was it really necessary for her to ask me if I needed any more anaesthetic right in the middle of “West Side’s” balcony scene? It well and truly killed the moment. And could I blame Anita for missing her entrance when the dentist chose that exact moment to go full throttle with the pliers?

Anyway, last weeks extraction saw me plumping for Barbra Streisand. This was a dismal failure. I just went over the first two lines of “Evergreen” over and over again. I tried “The Way We Were” but somehow it always worked it’s way back to “Love just like an easy chair……” . Thank goodness that the treatment itself went so much better than expected so my dental pain management technique wasn’t that vital anyway!

To paraphrase Oscar Hammerstein I guess this is all just my own way of whistling a happy tune. Of course it works in many other situations too, not just the dentists. I have heard of people singing “I Have Confidence” when they need to feel strong , and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” when they are low and need courage. I guess musical theatre (in fact just Rodgers and Hammerstein) has a song for every occasion!

So this all goes to prove that whilst a spoonful of sugar may well help the medicine go down there is nothing better than a show tune to get you through all manner of crises and what not!

Somehow I think favourite scenes from Samuel Becket wouldn’t be nearly as effective!

Bye for now!


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