Friday, November 07, 2003

Dentistry Scares Me

I went to the dentist yesterday for the first time in, oh, three or four years. I really don't like going to the dentist (I don't really think anyone does), but that's not why I have avoided the dentist's office for so long. Nope, I just haven't had dental coverage.

I have a pretty poor track record/family record for oral health and happiness. Before I'd graduated from high school, I had accumulated a few fillings and one crown. I'd had teeth extracted, wisdom teeth extracted, and had a root canal - which didn't fix the problem, and had to be followed up with oral surgery. My entire family clenches and grinds their teeth at night, and we've more or less all been prescribed night guards. My mother and aunt have been seeing a periodontist for longer than I've been alive.

So perhaps you can see why I was nervous about returning to a dentist's office after three or four years off. I was convinced that I'd have cavities in every tooth, need a few root canals, and be referred to a periodontist, myself.

What ended up happening, then, was amazing: after taking and developing 20 x-rays, the dental technician returned, clipped them up, flipped the switch, and lit them up. I spent the next ten minutes looking in horror at the pictures, getting more and more nervous as I waited for the dentist. He eventually walked into the exam room, looked at the x-rays, and briefly looked inside my mouth. He then pronounced that I had one really big cavity in an upper right molar, but everything else looked pretty good.

WHAT??? Yippee!

While I was celebrating silently in my head, I got the usual lecture about flossing more, proper brushing technique, why I didn't really need a night guard, and how cleanings every six months can truly benefit oral health. Yeah, yeah. I know all this.

It just so happened that they had a cancellation just as I was getting done with my appointment (which was really intended only to be an initial consultation), so I got to get my teeth cleaned yesterday, as well, saving me a trip to the dentist's office. So, next Friday I go in to deal with the cavity. Keep your fingers crossed, please, that a simple filling will take care of it, and that I don't need a root canal or a crown.

I'm so glad I got the first trip out of the way, and happy that it went so well.

- posted by laurie @ 11/07/2003 12:12:00 PM
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