Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Everybody Has One

Everybody has one. A hang-up of some kind. A phobia. Something they have a hard time dealing with.

For me, it's going to the dentist. I guess it started when I was just a kid and had a whacked-out dentist who recommended that most of my baby teeth get pulled because he said my permanent teeth were ready to come in but couldn't because my baby teeth were in the way. I'm not sure why, either from inexperience or lack of other dentists in my small town, but my parents followed his recommendation. I was nearly toothless for several years. And believe me, kids can be cruel when you're nine years old with teeth gaping like a 90-year-old.

Then when I was in 6th grade I got braces. They pulled together my few gaping teeth so those permanent teeth really could come in. But this was back in the day, when braces were chunky and were worn for years (in my case, four of them). I was never bothered by wearing the braces, but having them damaged the enamel on my teeth so that ever since they were removed, my teeth have been overly sensitive to cold foods, cold air, and often touch.

This means I can't even get my teeth cleaned without wanting to go through the ceiling from anxiety and discomfort. This is why I don't go to the dentist regularly the way I should and why when I do go, I have to have sedation dentistry performed. And this is why I, an otherwise frugal person, am willing to spend as much money as necessary to not feel or remember a thing while the dentist does whatever work needs to be done in one fell swoop. Our insurance will cover most, maybe even all, of the work, but not the sedation.

Anyway, all this just to say that the time has come for me to go to the dentist again. An aching tooth put a real damper on our camping trip this past weekend. I made an appointment for today for an exam, X-rays and treatment plan. I was anxious just making the appointment! The actual work can't be done until next week, because Shane is the acting foreman on his job until his boss gets back from vacation and won't be available to drive me until then. I don't know what I'm going to do for pain management until then, but as you can tell, I'm willing to put up with the pain rather than have the work done unsedated. Yep, I'm that uptight about it.

I can't be the only one. Surely some of you are as anxious about dental appointments as I am. Or maybe it's your ob/gyn appointments you avoid. Or something else entirely. Come on and share...it'll make me feel better knowing I'm not the only one.


Frances said...

Hugs to you! I have never had an issue going to the dentist as we were very fortunate to have great dentists growing up.

Do you have to be sedated for the Xrays? Could you go have that done so the dentist could see the problem? If you have an abscessed tooth, he wouldn't be able to do the work immediately, but he could give you antibiotics and pain meds.

I hope you get it taken care of soon and that it is not to terrible for you!

Leanne said...

I've never been afraid of the dentist even though all the kids that attended my childhood dentist can be recognised by one quick look in their mouths. He loved fillings, I mean he luuurved fillings and would fill every single tooth in your head whether you needed them or not.

He was later struck off the register!!! Moving on:)

Best just sticking with the sedation if it works for you, my brother wouldn't be able to go to the dentist for so much as a check up without it.

Annie Jones said...

Frances: You're absolutely right about the first appointment today. They took X-rays (I'm fine with those) and gave me the antibiotic. Long story short, this is my first visit to this dentist; I like him and he seems very willing to work with my issues.

The only bad thing is that he's going to be gone for a couple of weeks starting next week, so my work can't be done until Aug. 21. :( But he made sure to write my Rx for enough antibiotic pills to get me through until then. (It's the infection that causes the pain.)

Leanne: I don't know if you brother has IV sedation or what I'm having, which we call "conscious sedation". I will still be awake enough to follow directions (open wide, rinse, spit, etc.), but I won't feel any pain or remember anything about it. I've had it done before and it works well for me.

Soundtrack of My Heart said...

I share youre "love" of the dentist. But instead of sedation dentistry, I meditate, and cover up all the sounds with music in my ears. My dentist doesn't ask me a question until she is done b/c she knows I am not theoretically there. I try to focus on the moment I walk out of the office instead :)

Annie Jones said...

I haven't mastered the art of meditation quite yet. I've tried, but haven't figured out how to find stillness inside. I'm glad you are able to, though.