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Confessions of a Dentist

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“People are more aware of their facial features. We even advise patients how to smile, whether to show their lower or upper teeth”

When dentists look inside a patient’s mouth, they often see a gold mine in it. Though patients might come in for one troublesome tooth, we tell them what to do with each and every tooth. Some may need scaling, some may need shaping, others may need filling and for older patients, root canal.

Dentists today are seen as cosmetologists. A practitioner can alter a patient’s smile just the way a cosmetic surgeon can enhance a person’s nose, lips or any other body part. Many actresses who show off their perfect set had nightmarish teeth like anybody else in their younger years.

People are now more aware of their facial features. We even advise patients how to smile—whether to show their lower or upper teeth. If you look at photos of those who’ve stayed in the West, you’ll see they pose the correct way, showing off their upper and lower teeth. In India, we don’t do that. People close their mouth and smile.

Earlier, most people were scared by the noise of dental machines. Now, the machines make little noise. Even the tube that sucks water out of your mouth is superior. A root canal is the most painless of dental jobs save for the local anaesthetic injection. Prosthetics or artificial teeth, too, are made of metal used on an aircraft’s skin, which means implants are tougher. Probably, tougher than your originals.

We have different names for patient types. A gagler is one who chokes on impression compositions; I can’t tell you the other names. We identify most celebrities by such terminologies.

Many dentists lack moral character. It is not ethical for us to endorse brands, but we do it. We crave recognition and try to get it from dental associations, companies, clubs and even the Government. I know many dentists who’ve got out of associations if they do not receive awards.

(The orthodontist is a post-graduate with two decades of experience and much sought after by celebrities)