Just a filling?

“Oh I just had a filling”, my friend says, in a most casual and nonchalant way.   He was responding to my question about his visit to the dentist. I was struck by the way he placed such little importance on the event. It was as though he said something about the weather being warm or cold. It was just a nothing really, no big deal. As I pondered this I realised that we had become so desensitized in society and accepting of disease. It really meant almost nothing to him.

What is care?

I imagined a society that would care and imagined how the script might be rewritten from a more aware presence of mind. I asked him the question again in my mind and imagined an answer like:

Oh my God, the dentist discovered that one of my teeth was rotting. I then had the tooth partially amputated to remove the rotted part and then managed to keep the tooth by replacing the missing piece using a tooth like strong material. Wow I’m lucky to still have the tooth. Can you believe it?  I MUST INVESTIGATE THE CAUSE OF THIS AND SORT IT OUT!”

These might be the words of such a caring awareness but we speak as though it was normal situation “just a filling”. Is this a measure of our care?

It has become just an everyday routine thing, 

Do we not realise that little parts of our bodies are decaying and being removed. If that was happening in another part of the body would we take more notice?  Imagine going to the doctor to be told that a bit of your toe was rotting and had to be amputated and replaced with a bit of metal. Would it still be ‘just a filling’?

Being more stark might help us to stop taking our health for granted and become more motivated to protect our health. We have become acclimatised to the idea of having teeth filled as a matter of course and in general, I notice that the average person has no idea of what is going on with fillings in their own mouths.   Many will say they had a filling but will not know what tooth or the size and extent of the problem.

Not my Problem?

People expect that the dentist will detect and treat as necessary and they can leave it to the dentist to look after that aspect of their lives.

This is the beginning of the dysfunctional dentist/patient relationship and all the problems associated with that dysfunction.

Making someone else responsible for the health of your mouth or your body will never work.  Our Healthcare system is a testament to this. We spend so much money on disease, both in research and treatment. Is it time to wake up to a different perspective or do we continue to do the same things and hope for a different outcome? Is disease more valuable than health?

When something is ineffective we say that it has no teeth. Has our healthcare system lost its teeth?

Just some question to ponder, that’s all!