Monday, November 26, 2012

for a change

My, but the dental technology that has been invented in the last ten years. Sure, much of a visit to the dentist still seems to comprise lots of scraping and poking about in the gum area, but there have been advances!

Like the X-ray machine that just zips around your head and takes a picture of all your teeth so you're not clamping plastic squares painfully while a technician rushes to press a button. That was nice. Or the machine that can build you a crown on the spot, like that machine in The Fifth Element that put Leeloo back together after she got blasted out of space by ... space pigs or whatever they were.

Space boars.

It had been many years since I'd last seen a dentist. My previous dentist was fine as a person, and positively terrifying as a doctor. He'd tell me my teeth were terrible and then insist on drilling out cavities without using novocaine, because they were just shallow little cavities. Problem was they were never as shallow as they seemed, and though tears would be streaming out of my eyes, he'd still insist he was almost finished and the shot was unnecessary.

It takes a while to grow up and realize you can stand up for yourself sometimes. Well, it took me a while. I mature slowly.

Anyway, it might seem understandable that I would not ever want to see another dentist for as long as I lived. And that was generally the plan until I guilted myself into it. I do believe the mouth is the gateway to a number of health issues in the body, so figured I'd get mine checked out. Considering the train wreck that is my physical health, I assumed I needed a minimum of two root canals and one tooth would probably have to be pulled. There would likely be at least ten cavities.

So when I met my new dentist today I told him straight away that I was scared to death to be there and knew my mouth was a hot mess so to go easy on me. The man is a hilarious chatterbox who talks about practically everything but teeth. So it was a nice distraction. Everyone was generally impressed with the number of teeth in my mouth and the fact that my mouth has room for all of them (I have all my wisdom teeth). It was generally agreed upon that my teeth still appeared to be straight, thanks to two years of braces in my teens. I am apparently not in an advanced state of tooth decay or gingivitis and all my roots appear healthy. I have two cavities on one wisdom tooth. The hygienist earned her keep scraping away ten years of plaque buildup and polishing my teeth and now I feel like ... someone take a picture! These fuckers ain't gonna get any cleaner than this!

Until six months from now, I suppose. Because I made my next appointment, like a good girl. And I'm feeling very proud of myself for checking this little task off the list, even if it is something most normal humans manage to do on a regular basis.


  1. I think Mr. Sandwich had the same bad dentist! Once I found a dentist I liked, who started out by asking whether I'd had good or bad dentistry experiences in the past, I was able to get him to go regularly.

    Unfortunately that dentist sold his practice, and while the new guy is fine, he's not so good that we want to drive across town for him. So we are once again searching for a dentist.

    Congratulations on scheduling your next appointment! Feeling comfortable with any doctor is so important.

  2. I had gone a very long time without seeing a dentist too and now I'm getting one procedure after another. Purely voluntary and cosmetic, of course. I sort of hurled myself out of my dental phobia. I think I had the same dentist that you did as a child. I still break out in a sweat when I hear that drill.

    1. I see myself doing the same -- I totally want my teeth whitened.

  3. I think I'm the only person on the planet who grew up LOVING the dentist. My childhood dentist was very friendly, like a dad-type figure, and I always left his office with a handful of stickers, sugar-free gum, AND a small toy. I LOVED GOING TO THE DENTIST.

    As a young adult, I kind of fell out of the habit of going regularly. During that time, I developed a small fear of all things dentist. And while I DID voluntarily go to the occasional appointment for a crown or filling, my armpits were on extreme overdrive the whole time I was in the hot seat.

    And then one day, something happened that forever changed the way I feel about going to the dentist: I started working in a dental office. For the next 2.5 years, all of the dentist'y sights and smells that I saw on a regular basis totally desensitized my brain to dentistry. I would even get my teeth filled/ crowned/ bleached/ etc. during my lunch breaks. Seriously, working in a dental office is the cure.