This afternoon I have to get back to the dentist. I'm having my first crown fitted. This will be my fourth dental appointment in about six weeks. My poor old tooth has been prodded and poked as the root canal has been undertaken.

Root canal isn't as bad as people suggest, for the patient it's essentially a very deep filling. The dentist removes the fleshy part within the tooth and plugs the bottom (where the nerve entered) to avoid infection. I had to have two treatments here as there was an infection which he had to deal with.

The dentist pokes what seem to be incredibly long rubber spikes into the tooth to plug the base of the root canal. Once jammed up he heats an implement and melts the rubber to form a seal. That is an odd experience, having a red hot dental tool enter the mouth. If it wasn't for the visual and the overactive imagination I wouldn't have known any different.

There is a little discomfort as he puts in these spikes, but nothing major.

The last time I visited, about two and a half weeks ago, he took impressions of my teeth. This is so that a crown can be made to fit exactly. I found this quite uncomfortable as a semicircular trough has a plasticine-like material placed into it. This is then pushed onto the teeth and allowed to set. The trough is quite awkward in the mouth.

This is repeated for both sets of teeth. He began that appointment by using the drill, this alarmed me as there had been no anaesthetic. Of course, after the root canal there is no nerve in the tooth to feel the drill, but I wish he'd explained that first!

Once the impressions were done, he protected the tooth with a temporary filling material, which unfortunately fell out that evening, and so I had to go back the next day (aking it five visits including today).

Apparently, what will happen today is that he will remove the temporary filling, put in a cement to hold a post, and the crown will go on top of that. It will look like a new tooth - I find this quite exciting as for years that tooth has been an amalgam filling (admittedly near the back).

What was really surreal was when on the visit where he took impressions of the teeth, he handed me a mirror. This was to allow me to confirm colour match as he held up teeth on sticks near my existing teeth. There is something odd about a tooth on a stick. It just seems wrong, especially when it's being held at a sharp angle compared to the rest of the teeth in the mouth!

Fingers crossed, it shouldn't take long today.