by Ross Sharp

The Australian Dental Association dismissed the call for Denticare, saying people who could now access dental care would continue to do so, and those who ‘‘could not access care previously will be given second-class care’’.

A few years ago a dentist informed me that I needed some major work done. This would involve all sorts of nasty stuff, extractions and so on and so forth.

How much would this cost, I asked.

Oh, about fourteen thousand dollars, he replied with a nice white smile.

There would be a need for an anesthetist to be present also, he said.

How much would this cost, I asked.

Oh, about eight hundred dollars, he replied with a dazzling flash of his own pearly whites, running his hands down his nice white smock in anticipation of getting down and dirty in my mouth with his instruments of torture.

And you will have to sign this as well, he told me. For the anesthetist, you see.

And what is it, I asked, a little shaken by thoughts of the holocaust that was about to take place in my foodhole.

Essentially, he replied (and I am most definitely paraphrasing here), it means he would be absolved of any responsibility if I popped my clogs during the procedure.

Yes, yes, I thought. Why, of course this man should retain the right to kill me if he was a little less than competent and not face any consequences for his actions. Perfectly reasonable, don’t you agree?

This anesthetist, I asked the dear dentist, is his name Patel?

No, he replied, smiling not quite so broadly as before at my little jest.

Now, having picked myself up off the floor and dusted myself off after the shock of how much all this pain would cost me, I realised that, as a single man with no children on a slightly above average wage, I could afford this procedure but would need to take out a loan. It wouldn’t be easy to pay back, but given my circumstances, I’d manage.

Yet how, I thought to myself, would a single income family on a low wage with a child or two and a mortgage manage?

They probably wouldn’t.

After a week or two of thinking about this procedure that I was expected to undergo, I did something I’ve never done before.

I got a second opinion. From another dentist.

Who told me that, while work was needed, it needn’t be so drastic. In fact, there were simpler and cheaper ways of dealing with these problems of mine.

So. I told dentist number one that I was not going to let him orally abuse me and charge me for the privilege or possibly kill me and went with dentist number two who promptly referred me to a periodontist.

Lucky me.

Let me state the bleeding obvious …

Our heads are very important to us.

For we are not chickens, you see. Unlike chickens, we cannot function without a head.

Our heads, containing as they do our eyes, our ears, our mouths, our noses and our brains are the thing we present to the world in order to communicate. Nobody talks to the hand.

Our teeth enable us to eat. Which enables us to live.

The Australian Dental Association however, would rather people die in excruciating pain, would rather people live with a mouth full of unattractive stumps and hate themselves for how they look, would rather people send themselves into bankruptcy, penury, possibly sell their own children to members of the Russian mafia for dark and dastardly purposes for the price of having a wisdom tooth extracted, than see Australians from all walks of life have access to reasonably priced dental care.

The Australian Dental Association can go and get fucked.

They can drown in their own hissing, gurgling little spittoons, or whatever the hell those things in their surgeries you spit in are called.

For, if I ever get to the point where I do need major work done, I’ll have it done in Singapore, Malaysia, somewhere like that. I’ll indulge in a little dental tourism.

And, if you ever get to that point as well, you should do the same.

And, the next time you visit a dentist, an Australian dentist, ask him or her if they support the Australian Dental Association’s position on this issue and, if they do, tell your dentist to go and get fucked and find one who does not agree with that stance. If you can. I’m sure there are some.

Australia needs a national dental health care scheme.

And anyone who thinks we don’t is an ignorant fucking fool. With lots and lots of money and very nice teeth, no doubt.

And, if there are any ignorant fucking fools reading this post, you too can go and get fucked.

Have a nice day.