Dentists don’t smile (fictional)

It was a particularly busy day at the clinic. I had just performed a root canal in an upper first molar and I could see from the louvre in my cabin that there were three more patients in the waiting area. At the end of the queue, I saw those eyes. There was restlessness in others’ eyes but she sat as if she had been intimated by the grand planner of things. She was pretty, she was calm. She sat there with a book and I almost knew by instinct that she must be reading Arundhati Roy. Later I found out that she was reading Chetan Bhagat. Lesson: Never judge a reader by her eyes. Just look at the book cover and judge. I asked my receptionist to send in the next patient.

The next two consultations went by in a jiffy. The first one just had a guava seed stuck in this teeth and I can’t remember why the second one had come. Something about jaw pain? I need to look up his file and see if it was something serious. I just remember brushing him aside with some medications. Next, the pretty girl with the Chetan Bhagat novel entered my clinic and that was when my day really started.

‘I think I need to get my teeth cleaned,’ she said while putting her bag on a swivel chair. I stood up and stammered, ‘Yes sure, let’s have a look.’ It wasn’t that she was exceptionally pretty. Maybe I had been single for a long while. I was like that sprinter who was tired of waiting for the gunshot. I could go off like a cannon even on the sound of a sneeze. I forgot to look at her case file and sat her down on my dental chair. All masked and gloved up, I realized that I hadn’t asked her name.

‘So, what’s your name?’ I asked after some contemplation.

‘Gega Gaagia,’ she choked.

‘Oops! My bad!’ I took out my mouth mirror from her mouth in order to let her speak. ‘Every single time!’ I thought, kicking myself in my mind.

‘Neha Walia,’ she replied with slight amusement.

‘So Miss Walia, what brings you here?’ I leaned back on my chair with a smile.

A dentist can be really intimidating with the mouth-mask and gloves appearance so, we tend to be really friendly in order to compensate. Unfortunately for me, as Neha later told me, I looked really creepy smiling with that mouth mask covering my face.

‘Uh, I just wanted to get my teeth cleaned,’ this time the amusement in her voice was amiss. I could judge that I needed to keep it together. I cursorily looked at her teeth which seemed to be in fine condition but, since she was here for a routine cleaning, I transferred her to the Hygienist’s chair.

The hygienist did her job and Neha was sent back to my cabin. She looked cross.

‘What’s the matter?’ I asked.

‘They still look the same!’ She said.

‘Well, you can go for bleaching if you want really shiny white teeth but, I think your teeth look just fine. The hygiene has removed the debris from your gums.’ I assured her. I was about to write her prescription.

‘Okay, I will go now. How much?’ She said in a dull tone.

‘Just Rs. 1500,’ I said smiling while glaring at her disappointed face. She dug in her purse, took out the money and was about to leave. I smiled because I knew the most important part still remained.

‘Also, I will prescribe a mouthwash and gum massage for you.’ I said and noticed that her eyes had lit up.

‘And you have to rinse your mouth while following these instructions rigourously.’ I said with a sudden serious air about myself. Then I went on to describe the whole routine she was supposed to follow. I had stopped smiling with my eyes.

She nodded and seemed happier. I went on to write a prescription for her.

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