Marathon Man

The shape of things to come?

I’m in the wrong job.

Not just a little bit, as in
“I should have toiled a little harder and a little earlier so I could have climbed the slippery management slope a little further before chucking it all in, thereby giving me a proper pension to sustain me when my brain deteriorates even further.”

But as in
“I should have bloody studied dentistry.”

No shilly-shallying about with personal fullfilment or creativity – just good, solid cash, cash and more cash; all in my bank gathering interest and funding long foreign holidays and big mansion houses in the country.

In case you haven’t already guessed, we went to the dentist the other day. Me and the kids, for a check-up.

We were in there for, ooh, ten minutes?

Me first.
“Hm, looks OK. One filling a bit ragged but we can leave it for now. Might need replacing at some point.”

Then Ben.
“All fine, no decay. Well done. Would you like a sticker?”
“Yes please.”

Then Hannah’s turn, during which Ben surreptitiously swaps the Incredibles sticker given to him by the dental nurse, for the Spongebob Squarepants one he wanted.
“All fine, no decay, lots of teeth for a six-year old. Well done. Would you like a …”
“Yes please.”

And that’s it.
No scale and polish, I have to book another appointment with the hygienist for that.

And how much did we have to pay for this short diversion from the humdrum reality of everyday life?


Yes, £43.

At £43 for ten minutes it’s no wonder he’s taking two hour lunchbreaks.
Or maybe he’s French. He doesn’t sound it, but with that kind of salary he could afford two hours a day of language lessons to improve his English, should he need to.

In Plymouth there are rarely any NHS dentists taking on new patients. When a new NHS dentist opens up in Devon or Cornwall there are queues around the block to get onto the list.
People take drastic measures to find a dentist without bankrupting themselves.

Before long this country will contain thousands of people like my grandmother, whose teeth were all removed and replaced with dentures when she was still a young woman.
Less trouble and less expense.

I don’t want to be around if my children decide to take that step – at £1 per tooth, mummy tooth fairy would be well out of pocket.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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8 Responses to Marathon Man

  1. Drunk Mummy says:

    If they are going to need braces then you had better take out a second mortgage right now!

  2. He’s obviously rubbish – he completely overlooked that missing front tooth of yours.

  3. lady macleod says:

    LOL sounds as if we should ALL take a swing at dental school!

  4. Maybe I shouldn’t be rejoicing when daughter’s new teeth erupt. All that expense down the line….

  5. zed says:

    my son, feeling slightly out of pocket one year, went ahead and pulled out FOUR teeth in the space of two months.

    he’s got a future in something. a bank robber, probably.

  6. Omega Mummy says:

    I dunno. I reckon staring into people’s mouths (and think of all that bad breath) would be fairly depressing. You’d find yourself incapable of understanding normal speech because you’d be so used to translating cotton-wool muffled banalities. Money would be wonderful, though.

  7. You have been done!

    I am paying that for check-up, two x-rays, wisdom tooth out and two fillings with NHS dentist. And I resent paying for NHS dentist because I alreayd pay NI. It’s the principle of the matter…

  8. Beta Mum says:

    DM – I think a quick left hook to the jaw will have to do if their teeth turn out crooked.

    SAHD – I will take him to task next time I can afford it.

    Lady – I was at college with a lot of dental students and they all let off fire extinguishers when they got drunk and walked around with skulls in boxes. Weird. I didn’t want to be part of that, but then I didn’t know what they earned.

    MatL – Teeth, nothing but expense, even when there’s nothing wrong with them. Have them all out and get dentures, like my gran.

    Welcome Zed – he’s not going to be taking leaves out of your boyfriend’s book then..

    OM – high risk of varicose veins too, I hear, from all that standing.

    M&M – this is what you have to pay when you can’t get an NHS dentist I’m afraid. There are none with space, and none setting up. We even have to pay private fees for the kids.

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