May 10, 2005

I Can't Believe That Came Out Of My Mouth!

Today I went to the dentist.

::blood curdling screams::

I know! This is a big thing because I hate going to the dentist. In fact, it has been proven that 9-15% of Americans are so afraid of the dentist that they will not go. I'm one of them. Even though I'm terrified of losing all of my teeth and sporting dentures, I'm petrified of the dentist. So petrified that I haven't been in 8 years. I keep my mouth really clean and brush every day like a good little patient so it's not like my teeth are gross or anything. Or so I thought.

First of all, well....actually, I should say that you don't want to be eating while you read this entry. Ok, back to my first of all. First of all, dentists have made a lot of improvements in 8 years and especially since I was a kid when my fear of the dentist began to fester and grow.

See, I hate sitting in that chair, helpless, while they scrape your teeth with an iron hook and shove a drill down to the nerve endings in your gums. It feels like they are pulling your teeth straight out of your face and sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it hurts a lot. A LOT! Also, every time I go it seems that something more needs to be done. I can never get a simple cleaning. No, that would be far too easy. I let the dentist know this when I made the appointment and they were prepared for an extremely nervous patient. The hygenist assured me all would be well and told me not to worry.

I arrived early, filled out the paperwork and then found myself being led to the chair of doom. She proceeded to stick plastic and film inside my mouth to take x-rays. Then she took an overall x-ray, panning my entire mouth while I stood at a machine and stared into a mirror at myself biting on a plastic pipe. Why do they have that mirror there? As if I weren't uncomfortable enough now I gotta stare at myself looking like a dork?

We went back to the cleaning room, (the, "Oh we are so ripping all of your teeth out because you don't floss and there's nothing you can do about it! You can't escape. Muhaahhahahahaha ha ha!" room), and she had me swish flouride around in my mouth. Following the flouride rinse I was given a baking soda, water cleaning and then she numbed up my gums with some sort of gel. Then came the dreaded iron hook. I knew it! They want to kill me!

The hygenist, sensing my growing panic, tried to soothe me by informing me of what she would be doing, how the tool worked and showed me what it was all about by doing it to one tooth first. It appears the iron hook has been altered over the years and now it sprays your mouth like a pressure washer, dislodging plaque which gets sucked into the spit vaccuum dangling out of your mouth. This dentist didn't use a drill because of this tool and while the iron hook is still used as it is attached to this pressure washer type thing, (I think they call it a waterlase), I felt very little pain. Really the only place I felt any pain was when she was cleaning my top front teeth, (because the gums are more sensitive there), so she glopped more of the numbing gel on and I barely felt a thing.

I was horrified at the amount of plaque that had built up. No other dentist I've ever been to has shown me just how much plaque they have removed. Today I got to see. The spit vaccuum head was like a spiral so the plaque stuck to it and when she pulled the first one out of my mouth, she showed it to me. I had no idea what the gunk was until she told me that that was what she was cleaning off of my teeth! OH MY GOD!

I was so stunned after that, so disgusted with myself, in such shock that I could have so much plaque. I brush all the time! I use Listerene! What the hell! By the time she finished cleaning I was on my third spit vaccuum! Holy shit!

She finished up and gave me a goodies bag of toothpaste for sensitive teeth, two toothbrushes, some picks and showed me how to even better brush my teeth. See part of the problem is that I have a hard time reaching my back teeth because the toothpaste makes me gag. Really bad. So bad in fact that some mornings I simply cannot finish brushing my teeth because I'm too busy gagging and dry heaving. I was told to combat that I should dry brush my gums first and then brush my teeth with toothpaste. Aah! Ok!

She handed me a mirror to check out my teeth and they were pretty. Of course because I had not gone to the dentist in 8 years, some of the plaque had pushed my teeth a little bit so that and age caused me to have small gaps in the bottom front teeth where I never had any before. Now she says it's hardly noticeable but to me they may as well be as wide as the Grand Canyon so I'm a little self conscious now. But at least they're clean.

Of course, as always, I could not just have a simple cleaning and be done with it. Hell no. Murphy rears his ugly head. It's my own fault for not going to the dentist in 8 years so they want me to come back in a month to finish up any cleaning they might have to do. Need the gums to settle down before they can see if more needs to be done. Also? The dentist himself wants to take another look at one of my wisdom teeth that I have been putting off getting looked at. It's only caused me pain two times in the past year so I've used that as my excuse not to go but the dentist wants to look again in a month to see if it needs to be yanked.


I also have to get fitted for a nightguard, (Friday), since my other one disappeared. Getting a nightguard is no big deal though except for how freaking expensive it is. Unfortunately I have to have one and despite the fact that someone threw my other nightguard away, they never offered to replace it so I get to pay for a new one. It's now about $200 more than my old one.


This is turning out to be very expensive because insurance companies only cover so much and they refuse to cover nightguards. The idiots think that nightguards are cosmetic. How stupid are they? Have they ever worn a nightguard? There isn't a damn thing cosmetic about that at all. You look like someone punched you in the lip and you lisp when you wear it. Yah, real cosmetic. It's preventative but insurance companies are moronic tightwads who dont' want to pay for it. It's going to cost me $415. JFC! It's worth it though because it prevents, (note the key word: prevents), me from grinding my teeth down which would cause me to have to get crowns one day.

Anyway I did it. I faced my fear of the dentist. I made the appointment, didn't cancel it, (despite how so very tempting it was to do so), and I pulled through. I'm so proud of myself. And you know what? If you can find a dentist who uses a dental laser and waterlase instead of shots and a drill, you're going to discover that the dentist isn't so bad after all. So if you're scared, find one of those and don't put it off. Trust me, I'm the biggest wuss when it comes to the dentist and I assure you, it's not that bad anymore.

In fact, I was so relieved that I gave the hygenist a hug when it was all over.

Posted by S. Faolan Wolf at May 10, 2005 05:05 PM

Yikes! I just realized that I haven't been to a dentist in about 8 years, either!


Posted by: Tuning Spork at May 10, 2005 09:15 PM

8 years - gawd! You're lucky you didn't need heaps done. Insurance here covers very little dental work, and it is hell of expensive. One of my teeth broke - just wear and tear as you age and I had to get a crown - $1000.

Posted by: Ruth at May 11, 2005 12:16 AM

It's been quite a while for me, and I don't think I will ever go back. I'll have to be shot with a tranquilizer gun. Maybe the dentist will ear tag me, so that in another 5 to 10 years I'll get another dart in my ass, pass out, and wake up with a sore mouth and a strange feeling of being violated.

Posted by: mary at May 11, 2005 12:32 AM
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