Written in April, 2017
Let me back up. As a kid a had a dentist who was mean. He seem to have no concept for the words “I am not numb yet”…. To sum it up, I had 13 cavities filled during my childhood without being completely numb. One time he did manage to numb my eye and make it droop for the rest of the day – but the shot did NOT numb the front tooth he was working on.
Needless to say, when I got old enough I refused to go to the dentist for at least 10 years. My fear and anxiety was so bad that one time I had a tooth abscess and I treated myself. HOW you ask? I used a box cutter to lance the abscess and drain it. I used some left over antibiotics that I had to try and fight the infection and rinsed my mouth out a lot with salt water. Eventually the tooth cracked and I used tweezers to keep loosening the pieces until I got all of the tooth out. THAT is how much I did not want to go to the dentist.
My husband finally decided enough was enough and with HIS dentist managed to find a dentist who would take our insurance AND was willing to sedate me OUT to do work. No one had wanted to sedate me because I have a heart valve problem. My regular doctor had to write a letter to the dentist saying he was pretty confident they didn’t have to worry about me having a cardiac event during the procedures.
So I went to a dentist who specialized in special needs – meaning small children and people who have other conditions that make regular dental visits very difficult. They put me out and pulled a couple teeth, did a deep cleaning, and filled a couple cavities as well as a root canal. I went back a month later for them to put me out again, finish the root canal and deep cleaning and fill another cavity.
After I got all that done while under anesthesia I was able to handle going to the dentist for regular cleaning. I even handled a few cavities and then having the tooth with the root canal that died pulled out while I was awake. I do not know how I managed to handle that as although the guy got it pretty numb he LITERALLY put his foot on the side of the chair to yank on my tooth!!!! Maybe I passed out and that is how I handled it.
I did pretty well for years. Got a partial for the missing upper teeth and decided to hold off on gum surgery for a bridge on the bottom. Then my mom died and I had to start helping my dad, which included a 4 hour drive to Vegas of all places, every 2 weeks. On my days off. It was exhausting from day one. I would cook so he would have a freezer of microwaveable meals, clean and do his grocery shopping, etc. Then drive home to start my work week. Taking care of my dad went on for years – that is another story.
Somehow between the back pain, taking care of my dad and working 50-60 hours a week I did not go to the dentist like I had been. So today was my first visit in at least 5 years. I got the impression my teeth were very long over due. Brushing is NOT enough and I am not a faithful flossed like my husband who has maybe had 1 or 2 cavities in his life time.
I go back next month for a deep cleaning….