I love teeth! I think they must grow on you. Well, me really. Even during childhood, teeth were a source of income. When they came out, they went under my pillow and the tooth fairy left me sixpence.
At dental school, I was hardly in love with them. Some of my patients were dirty and smelly, and so were their teeth. Scaling them left blood and gunk all over my hands. We did not wear gloves in those days. One of my colleagues later caught hepatitis B from one of his patients, had a liver transplant, and died.
Later we all wore gloves, though that did not give me 100% protection. I treated drug addicts for three hours a week, and helping the nurse to clear up, found a needle sticking out of the end of my finger. I pulled it out, sucked out blood, and had a year of blood tests as the patient was hepatitis C positive. Probably HIV positive too – they did not know.
A month later I did the same again. Clumsy fool! That was nearly fifteen years ago, so I am probably OK.
But during my nearly 40 years in practice, I checked, drilled, filled, crowned, and extracted hundreds of thousands of teeth. I really enjoyed the work, and I loved my patients. Super people.
I thanked God for the variety of people passing through my surgeries. They were truly part of that rich colourful tapestry that is life.
I thanked God for teeth. Beautiful smiles. Shining gold crowns. Silver fillings that would last for years. Loved them.
I thanked God for the opportunity to serve Him by serving others – the housebound (I visited, and treated them at home); those on benefits who could not find an NHS dentist elsewhere; and drug addicts and prostitutes, who had been shown the door at other surgeries, because they had Hep C, and HIV, and colourful language.
And I thank God that I have not got HIV. Probably.