I visitied my dentist this morning and finally we celebrated victory in an epic stuggle against decay, infection, impaction and, in one odd little side show, pasta bake.
The reason for my sorry dental plight is years of neglect, which is the way that the British have always cared for their teeth, which we treat more casually than one would a dog, which is at least certain of occasionally visiting the vet, and getting the odd brush.
It's been a long and very expensive process, with odd moments of existentially challenging pain - am I really the fairly witty and werudite blogger, wannabe writer and itinerant teacher, or am I really the squirming, shivering, snivelling wretch begging for more and yet more anesthetic - before the surgeon as even taken his first jab at me?
Having had two molars ripped out over the last year or so, I know of what I speak. I couldn't believe the pain that an infected tooth can cause, though having it ripped out was almost as bad - the surgeon must have put enough anesthetic to stun an elephant into my jaw, and I could still feel something far too much like a tooth being wrenched out.
For all that, I'd rather not go back twenty years, or even ten. One reason my teeth got into their parlous state was the morbid terror of the barbarity of British dentistry that I grew up with. Modern dentisty is the reason our civilisation needs to be saved, at least as long as I and anyone I love is part of it.
People who salivate about the imminent End of The World As We Know It should consider carefully the impact this will have on dental care. If we don't want to be reduced to inpromptu dentistry, a la Tom Hanks in Castaway, we need to keep things just about as they are.