The site is clean, said Gareth, my dentist. He was looking at the x-ray of the area around the extraction he had just made. My crown had severed as I was walking down Kensington High street, leaving just the roots of the tooth still anchored in my gum. The best solution, if not the cheapest, was an implant. First he had to extract the roots. He had done this. It was painless. I had asked , how do you extract roots when you have nothing to get a grip of? Apparently you don’t pull, you push. The bone is an elastic material and when you push the roots in they spring back and you pull them out. Anyway, it was a smooth operation. Now he was talking me through the remainder of the procedure. The gum would heal over a couple of months. Then he would put the titanium implant in. Unfortunately, looking at the x-ray, it looked as if my sinus was in the way, so I might need a bone graft to give me more leeway. As far as bone implants were concerned, most dentists use pig bone or cadaver ( I presumed he meant dead human), but he preferred to get the bone from me, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Don’t worry, he said, it’s done in the same session though it does entail a little more cost. I’ve done worrying about cost and dentists. It is the one realm of life where, because of anxiety about my teeth, I overspend. The other day at W.H.Smith’s in Marylebone station, I refused to spend £2.15 on a coca cola and stormed out. I had thought it was £1.99. That 16p was too much for me, whereas the three or four thousand pounds I’ll be handing over to Gareth in the next couple of months is water off a duck’s back.