The Tooth

Here is a short story.  It is pretty terrible.

Jon’s tooth hurt.  It ached.  The ten year old could feel it, felt others could see a bright red painful light shining from it.  And so his mother had brought him amongst the Highlights magazines and wire toys to wait for the dentist.  There were fish in a glass aquarium across from him.  Jon stared at them.  He read an article in Highlights about a fish whose tongue was replaced by a parasite.  Jon thought this was rather gross.

The Dentist was evil.  There are no in-betweens in dentistry.  The men and women who protect our enamel either shine bright with the white glow of oral hygiene, or revel in the sharp, lasting pain they can inflict.  Jon’s dentist was the latter.  He bought dental supplies at the hardware store.  The toothbrushes he handed out were secondhand.  When buying a chair, he had specifically found the lowest ranked by Consumer Reports.

With glee, the Dentist called Joe back.  Pleasantries were exchanged, and the hygienist took X-Rays.  With glee the dentist saw the cavity.  It’s dark black more beautiful than any art.  The drill – he would get to use the drill!

Joe asked if there would be a shot.  “Why no,” the dentist replied.  “You must be able to tell me if I’m drilling too deep!”  But the gas he used had a dark secret – it contained a mild paralysis drug.  Joe would be unable to move, but able to feel the pain.  It was pretty terrible.

The procedure began!  Joe felt his arms fall to his side, his mouth open.  The Dentist’s eyes gleamed with a strange excitement.  The drill whirred near him – the high pitched whine specially selected by the Dentist to irritate the eardrums most effectively.  Oh, horror!  Poor Joe could only lay there as the drill inched closer.

But the cavity held its own secret, buried there by an errant jawbreaker weeks before.  The Dentist’s drill awoke the slumbering parasite within.  He gawked in surprise as a thin worm rose from Joe’s jaws, wrapping around the drill and tossing it aside.  Joe could see none of this, could not even feel the worm escape, but the Dentist stood, terrified as he had terrified those before as the worm, hair thin, wrapped itself around his white coat.  From deep within his stomach, the Dentist could feel a scream begin but it was choked out as his neck was constricted by the gossamer organism.

Oh, his life was coming to an end! the Dentist thought.  His life!  So many teeth to still harm!  So many tears to create!  His consciousness slipped, his vision darkened as he felt the worm sink into his ear canal.


Dr. Smith returned to Joe’s vision.  He had stepped out, and Joe thought he had heard gurgling, but perhaps not.  Dr. Smith’s hands held a needle.  “This will feel like a quick pinch,” he said, giving Joe’s gums a quick shot.  The drill whirred again, but the dentist deftly lowered the painful frequency with a twist of a knob.  Joe’s cavity was filled and he was returned to his mother in the waiting room.

Dr. Smith waved at Joe as the boy walked out.  “Don’t forget to floss,” he said, and smiled.

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