Tooth pain is in charge of my life

08 March 2020
Author   Jackie Wilson Asheeke
It is hard to write a relevant politically invigorating opinion column when you have tooth pain.  We have all gone through the woes of pain-filled teeth.  It is no joke.
Imagine the Marvel Comic character Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk.  Your misbehaving tooth greets you in the morning after a fitful night’s sleep and as soon as you get out of bed, it busts out into a great, green unintelligible beast that destroys everything in its path. 
And then comes the solution.  Get to a dentist. With props to the dentists’ community, I think that I’d rather consider scrubbing the inside of the nastiest toilets at our state schools where maintenance is non-existent as an alternative to visiting a dental house of horrors. 
I liken tooth pain to being suspended by a huge chain from the ceiling by a meat hook driven into my belly button – the cure for that pain is only slightly better.  
You all know the story.  You go in to the dentist’s torture chamber.  They sit you in this chair that moves in all kinds of ways. They clip a paper towel bib on you to catch the blood and spit that oozes out of your mouth while they drill you into blubbering tears of pain.  
Then, they shine that bright light overhead and ask you about the problem.  You tell them what hurts; you are specific about what tooth is aching; you are precise about where that tooth is.  So what do they do?  They say “open wide.”  You do it.  They take that metal ice pick and tap it on every single tooth on that side of your sensitive, aching mouth until you scream.  Then, they say, “Ah, yes, I see the problem.”
You sit there in pain, wondering when death will come and your dentist is as happy as a teenager receiving the latest IPhone.
At this point, the dentist either wants to get x-rays or the issue is evident and they start right in. 
Don’t you just love it when they show you the dental x-rays and point to black blobs on this print out, telling you things about which you have no idea?  I am lying there in that chair like a slab of pain-infused human flesh.  I couldn’t care less if the actor that plays “Thor” or Idris Elba are dancing naked right in front of me, my throbbing tooth has my full attention.  And now, I am expected to analyze an x-ray?  You’ve got to be kidding!
(On second thought after re-reading this…seeing Thor or Idris Elba shakin’ their ‘blessings’ right in front of me might be what it takes to make me ignore the tooth pain for a while.)
Then comes the preparations of the torture table of implements by his assistant standing on my other side.  They both talk ‘dental-speak’ to one another across my body.  I hear the clank of little metal picks, prods, and other stuff on the tray.  I want to go to the bathroom but figure it’s too late to get up now. 
Then, the moment of the needle arrives.  The dentist says, “You will feel a little pinch” as I see a Samurai sword en route to my sore mouth.  Why don’t they just tell the truth? “Jackie, I am going to stick a needle multiple times into your gums right where you have been in pain for a week.  It is going to hurt like hell, but you need to keep still while I do it.”
After you give up on life when the sword assaults your very being, your entire jaw feels like it’s swollen to the size of a basketball.  The dental assistant puts a mini-vacuum cleaner in your mouth sucking up water, spit and blood.  It is around that time when the dentist asks you some inane question that you are too in shock to understand.   Nevertheless, you answer, “Acka gung oguruca, ah-hua-a”.  With metal crap and a vacuum cleaner hanging out of your mouth and your tongue as far away from those ice metal picks as possible – how can you speak?  And yet, the dentist answers without missing a beat, as if (s)he understand what you have said! 
Then comes the high-pitched whining drill grinding into your teeth.  ‘Nuff said.
Afterwards, the dentist is scraping stuff out of your tooth and using picks to pack stuff in.  And then, they tell you every so often, to “rinse” leaving mouthwash spit drool linking your lips to the sink.   There is blood and mouth flesh on the paper towel bib. 
Finally, it’s over.  The assistant takes the vacuum cleaner out, the bib off and the dentist makes the chair back rise up to a sitting position. 
As you drool with a basketball in your mouth, the dentist tells you the multi-thousand dollar tooth solutions that PSEMAS does not cover.  Private dentists don’t accept the nearly useless PSEMAS scheme and you had to pay thousands up front just for the privilege of sitting in the torture chair in the first place.  
Then, the dentist drops a nuclear bomb on your day.  They tell you that you must come back for more work.  The dentist gives you pain killer and anti-biotic prescriptions and waves goodbye.  The spiteful angel on your shoulder wishes that the dentist has an attack of haemorrhoids as revenge for the pain you will soon feel when the basketball deflates.  Nevertheless, you book the second appointment on the way out.
I write this as my felonious tooth is beginning to throb again. It has a mind of its own, the little bas#!rd.  Readers…next week, with my tooth’s permission, I shall write something more relevant to the politically charged times in which we live.  But, my tooth is ordering me to stop now…and I live to obey.



The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

Contact Us

Windhoek Observer House
c/o John Meinert & Rossini Street
Windhoek West
Tel: +264 61 411 800
Fax: +264 61 226 098