Commentary | Life lines: Don’t let the dentist pull your blissful ignorance

Say what you will about a university education – gateway to the future, reason for our society’s success, palpable deterrent to crime – but you can’t deny that it takes away any bliss ignorance might have given us.

A good chunk of political theorists believe that states are purely selfish? No, can’t be. The man who said, “I think, therefore I am” also had an unhealthy fetish for cross-eyed women? Not a chance. But sure enough, these are two of many examples where knowledge flies in your face with uncomfortable reality.

This is why I can’t wait for Christmas break. It’s a solid few weeks to reignite the cozy ignorance in which I can properly enjoy my filled stockings and the sound of Santa fumbling around on the roof. But no matter how hard I’ll try, I doubt whether I will be able to erase the following bit of dental knowledge that has penetrated into my closing-for-the-holidays brain.

There might be precious few things that Canadians, never mind the whole human race, can agree on; but I propose that the irksomeness of dentists is just such a thing. No matter if you’re a caviar-eating cousin of the Queen or a drug smuggler, going to the dentist sucks. It’s right up there with life imprisonment or losing genuinely lucky underwear.

The reason behind this is that going to the dentist gives rise to the distinct possibility that you might leave with less teeth than you had before. Sure it’s mostly just check-ups, a fluoride rinse here, a filling there, but the pulling day is inevitable. Either there’s a wisdom tooth trying to kick out an existing one – when the dentist courteously offers to help – or the teeth are lined up too close together thus room needs to be made. I’m sure there are other reasons; I’m happy with just knowing two.

Here’s the problem. I recently learned in class that there is a chance that pulling a tooth can cause a nerve to actually snap. Meaning, a cord-like structure that used to send information to the brain was ripped to shreds by the guy who gives you little toys as you leave his office. In an attempting to re-grow, the nerve screws up (because it was never meant to be severed) and makes all the wrong connections, creating an overlapping nerve ball. Well it’s been rainbows and lollipops till here but now your tongue loses all sensation and the tooth that has disappeared still registers constant pain in your brain.

I know its a little paranoid, but I have a feeling the professor knew bloody full well that I need to have a wisdom tooth pulled in the next few months. Upon asking him about the chances of this happening, he said “It’s not that often but not that rare.” What the hell kind of answer is that? That’s like leading me to a guillotine that might or might not work.

This is the other side of the paradox; the problem of not knowing enough. But you see, if I didn’t know about the nerve ripping disaster I never would have wanted to know about its chances. Therefore all knowledge is a vicious change.

What I am trying to say is this: go home this Christmas, enjoy the beauty of the season, eat tons, give people hugs, and don’t give a second thought about the exams you just wrote. And if you go to the dentist, tell him that nerve snappage is sue-able.

Send various reasons for pulling teeth to lifelines@mcgilldaily.com. Evidently, Johanu is also a fan of disasters, rainbows, beauty, toys, hell, caviar, and lists.


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