An emergency dental unit has been hurriedly set up, 'as a precaution', at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, after the Pope became the latest victim of what has been dubbed 'Hampstead Heath Syndrome'.
Pope Benedict XVI was making a statement denying any knowledge of institutional child abuse by members of the clergy during his time as the Vatican’s top doctrinal official in the 1980's and '90s, when he appeared to stumble over his words and began spitting out shattered shards of teeth. The clearly distressed pontiff was escorted off the plinth by aides and taken to an ante-room, before emerging briefly to wave and reassure the shocked crowds.
A Vatican spokesman said, 'His Holiness suffered a temporary oral malfunction and is currently comfortable in hospital under sedation. There is no permanent damage, as it was his dentures (which he has worn since wartime deprivations in the Hitler Youth Movement) that were affected.'
Hell's teeth! : The Pope puts a brave face on it as he exits the Vatican after the interrupted Papal Bull…
This latest incident follows an increasing wave of dental failure involving prominent public figures over the last few months. Tony Blair, Kelvin MacKenzie, Andrew Mitchell, James Murdoch and US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney have all suffered sudden attacks of HHS, with both real teeth and dentures ejecting themselves as they were speaking in public.
Tory party Grandees fear that such an occurrence may happen to Cabinet members, including the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, at this week's conference so have drafted in a consultant orthodontist to give them all a pre-speech check-up.
'The human molars are incredibly strong, but also incredibly sensitive,' says dental consultant Professor Neville Brodie. 'After many years of chronic abuse there's only so much they can take. The HH syndrome seems to affect the back teeth first, the rot permeating to the front, with the molars eventually ejecting themselves from the mouth, roots and all.'
'The condition has been around for years, the most spectacular during Bill Clinton's 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman' ejaculation in 1998.' says Brodie, 'But, with the proliferation of media interviews, demands on public figures to speechify and testify at enquiries - as these all increase year on year - this could explain the latest outbreak.'
'It's bound to happen. When people have been 'economic with the vérité' through their teeth for years, something's got to give.'