Sunday, October 21, 2012

Filling out

Have you ever had a tooth-filling fall out, or a broken tooth?
            When this happens, one’s tongue seems automatically to be attracted to the abnormality in one’s mouth. The sharp bits then seem to become sharper and more disturbing to one’s tongue and daily life – until the dentist can conduct his craft to help.
            This happened to me. A bit of a filling came out, then more. And, of course, my tongue was attracted to the tooth as if by magnetism.
            Now it so happened that I had read in a newspaper article that a jawbone from ancient man that had been lying in a museum for donkey’s years was inspected and found to have a tooth with a beeswax filling.
            So, until I could telephone the dentist in office hours, I went to my supply of beeswax. This I have used since art student days as a medium for painting in oil colour and, as an unexpected bonus, as the best wood polish imaginable. (A block of beeswax is added to boiling water, allowed to dissolve, emulsified with ammonia, and the cold resultant crust lifted from the water’s surface and amalgamated with white spirit.)
            So I cut off a little of the untreated wax from its block, softened it between my fingers, and pressed it into the tooth where the filling had previously resided.
            I was delighted with the result. My tongue returned to its normal usage, ignoring the wax-filled tooth.
            But success was short lived.
            After the first meal the wax had gone down with the food.
            Wax is not hurtful to one’s digestive system. It is consumed whenever honey is eaten with the comb.
            Next, the tooth’s cavity was dried with kitchen paper and more (actually less) wax applied. A closed jaw ensured that the cavity had been filled and the wax pressed in. Surplus wax was scraped away and discarded.
            Night came. In the morning I had no idea which tooth it was that had needed attention.
            After breakfast a ragged tooth edge gave an indication of which tooth had had attention – but the cavity itself remained filled with wax.
            An appointment with the dentist was made.
            So, as an emergency measure, Neolithic man, or whoever and whenever he was, had a cunning plan that worked – as an emergency measure at least. So keep a little lump of beeswax at the ready.