Just for the record

So, there is something I didn’t mention in the telling of my tale of a visit to the dentist, because, you know, you have to spread your really fascinating material out and not dazzle people with it all at once. See I had quite a chatter on to this dentist, when I didn’t have something in my mouth preventing chatter, and when she found out I used to work with wildlife (because up in Townsville is the last time I went to the dentist) she told me she always wanted to be a marine biologist, so I told her that every second waitress in Townsville is a marine biologist, because the Great Barrier Reef only needs so many of them and there aren’t many jobs, so she then went on to tell me that she and her husband, who work alternate days in this particular dental practice, spend the rest of their time doing forensic dentistry, and how everybody watches the forensic crime shows on TV and thinks this will be really exciting (who ARE those people?!) and you’ll solve big mysteries etc but in reality it’s not.

Then shortly afterwards she said that because it’d been so long since I’d been to the dentist I should have an x-ray, just because whatever was on record from last time would be out of date and I should have a new one on file (and she could make sure all was well with my wisdom teeth) … I’m not a big fan of x-rays for nothing and walked off wondering if I should be perturbed that a forensic dentist wanted my teeth on “record”. I came back and told the girl at work who’d recommended this dentist, but sees the husband, that they worked in forensic dentistry and she was rather taken aback (he obviously hadn’t divulged this information) and so I go on about how, well, if we are destroyed beyond recognition at least someone will know who we are, which is sort of comforting, and then the conversation goes on with our exclamations of grossness and I find myself saying crazy things like, ‘well surely they only get the teeth to look at and not the whole head’ … (once before I spent a day ageing kangaroos that had been shot, using molar progression, and it wasn’t quite that ‘clean’, but I am not even going to talk about that).

So this morning I had to go into the city before work for this x-ray, which was something of a pest in the rain and all. I get there and the x-ray guy asks me if he is looking for anything in particular, and I tell him no, it’s just for the record. He looked at me strangely so I went on to explain that my dentist works in forensics and I am wondering about this and we had a laugh. The my x-ray wasn’t so great because I wasn’t so good at keeping my tongue out of the way (he told me to do whatever it is you do before you click your tongue and obviously I have that wrong because I don’t know when’s the last time I clicked my tongue over something) and so we had a discussion about whether to have another go and he asked again ‘so there is nothing in particular I am looking at?’ and I said again, ‘no, as far as I know it’s just to update the record’ and so he decided not to redo the x-ray and the expression on his face seemed to imply that people don’t normally come in ‘just for the record’. Hmmm …


  • Delurk alert!

    From my (limited) experience, is that working in forensics colours your worldview a little, so you end up thinking things like 'if only everyone had up-to-date dental records it would make my life much easier'…
    Or, as in my case, my husband finding out what painkiller I've taken so he'll know what to test for…

    But I'll second the CSI glamour image – everyone thinks it's so very exciting to have a forensic toxicologist and a person who does autopsies in the family, but the reality is it is gross and depressing.

  • Unfortunately I think they do Meredith …

    Amy, I see what you mean!

    Yes, those shows perhaps have a lot to answer for. I've had to leave the room for some episodes I've stumbled in on, so I don't really understand the attraction and that's having done biology labs, but maybe people see the way it all contributes to the big mystery-solving picture and think that's exciting, when the reality is that working on your own small piece of the puzzle can be a lot less exciting.

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