The only poem I have ever written directly about dentistry is called “A Patient”. When I wrote it, some fifty years ago, James Kirkup’s “A Correct Compassion” was the only example I knew of a poem ‘about’ medicine. It is both a vivid description of a cardiac surgeon, observed by medical students, performing a mitral stenosis valvotomy, and an extended metaphor for the writing of a poem.
At the end of the operation (and the end of the poem), the surgeon’s ‘“I do not stitch up the pericardium. // It is not necessary.’” is matched by the poet’s conclusion:
For this is imagination’s other place, / Where only necessary things are done.”
The occasion of my own poem was less dramatic, but I like to think it demonstrates that a dental extraction, another occasion where ‘only necessary things are done’, can make a fitting subject for a poem.