Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Existential Dentistry

Eduard Punset, a Catalan man who is considerably well-known, once quoted an American scientist who was only convinced of the difference between animals and humans when social network sites started popping up.

Although I agree with him that the probability of giraffes tweeting about their defence mechanism ('Kicked a lion in the face today#downkitty'), or penguins updating their Facebook status: 'Have just seen an orca stuck on an ice floe - mega LOLz!', is unlikey, I beg to differ from the scientist. I believe the difference between animals and human beings are dentists. Now, I know what you're thinking - you're thinking: "Well, actually, there are animals out there that perform a sort of dental service on others. Look at those birds that nimbly peck the titbits from the teeth of a crocodile. Or those little fish that clean the gums of larger fish." True, true, true. However, I bet they don't speak the Code.

For this, the Code, is the difference: our homo sapien dentist fellows speak in a foreign language, for what purpose, I know not. I can only conjecture that when they say 'upper left 7 amalgam filling, slight crumbling' this is a code red alert for 'the tooth is about to disintegrate in a matter of seconds; get behind the screen and notify the Tooth Fairy'. (They're definitely in league.) Bill Bailey says much on the subject and he gives very good advice: say odd things back. Things that will totally confuse the mouth-marauder. "The pheasant has its own agenda..." is a good example.

Either the dentists are sadists and enjoy bamboozling their patients, convincing them that their teeth are going to be extracted and fashioned into chess pieces, or they're playing Battleships, enamel style: "Lower right 4 present; lower right 3, 2, 1 present - I've sunk the submarine!"

More terrifyingly, are the words: "Lower right 8, no sign". What do you mean 'no sign'? Is this good? Is Tooth Number 8 supposed to stay hidden beneath the gum, a harmless, bony, oral Atlantis never to surface and yet encourage deluded dentists to poke at it from time to time, convinced it exists? Or is it a bad thing? Am I supposed to have Tooth Number 8? Has it remained hitherto unseen for a purpose of its own, plotting to erupt in a style akin to the eponymous creature in Alien and take over my mouth in a splenetic protest over buccal hygiene until I am forced to send in the troops to drill it into submission? Or, quite possibly, am I in possession of a rare tooth; a tooth in existential denial (what is a tooth?)?

I, for one, have no idea. But I will be keeping a watchful eye out for tentacles...


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