I’m waiting in the dentist’s office for root canal treatment and instead of thinking calming thoughts, my mind’s decided to fixate on the dental incident in A Million Little Things. Great right?
You know – the bit where the main character (whose name I’ve completely forgotten) outlines in enormous detail the horror, pain and basically, torture, of undergoing root canal treatment without anaesthetic. I remember reading this years ago and thinking root canal was the worst thing that could ever happen.
So you can imagine my delight when I turned up after a 12 year (yes that’s right – 12 year) hiatus for what I thought would be a routine filling, only for the pleasantly calm dentist to reel off a list of things they would do to my teeth now that I’d come in from the cold. I did what any sensible person would do and ran to the nearest NHS dentist for a second (and cheaper) opinion, but unfortunately, root canal seems to be the consensus. Followed by…other stuff.
I came up with the name for the Escape Artist Book Journal, based on how far fiction can take us from real life. Unfortunately, fiction also has a knack of creating mental images and vicarious agonies that arise just when you don’t really need them to.
Have you come across a book that makes going to the dentist seem like a non-traumatic experience? Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories features a sub-plot in which PI Jackson Brodie has a bad tooth and develops sepsis (a fear that plagued me until I managed to just ignore it about two years ago).
I also recall my cousin telling me that Joshua Ferris’ To Rise Again at a Decent Hour made her book a belated dental appointment, but as she told me she had a haunted look in her eye and I refused the urge to ask to borrow it in case it had the same effect on me.
How is that dentistry has become a horror niche? And if anyone has any tips (because I’m pretty sure I can’t Dutch courage my way through this one…) please do let me know for next time!