Sunday, November 8, 2009

Deep rooted issues?

I had wickedly crooked teeth as a kid, and my parents forked out the money to get me braces. Which is something I'll be eternally grateful for, without a doubt. Unfortunately, visiting the dentist once a month for two years has left me with an ever growing fear of that metal instrument-welding spawn of Satan.

Well, maybe "Spawn of Satan" is too harsh. My dentist was actually a super nice guy, and I went to him (very sporadically) even after I turned 18 and was too old to go there because he still gave me stickers and a new packet of floss each time. I even went back to his office to get XRays for both of my wisdom teeth removal adventures.

Somehow though, through the years of endless fittings and metal mouth and snapped wires and bleeding gums and wisdom teeth removals, I've slowly become terrified of going to the dentist. I'm not really sure why; I think it might be the sounds and the smells and the tastes and the dislike of having someones fingers in your maw and then they ask you a question and chuckle when you "aaahh mmmnnnii eehh" your Baleen whale response. So really, it's everything.

Thus, I haven't been to the dentist in years. I've lost track, but I think it's probably 4 or 5 years since I've gotten a flouride treatment, good cleaning, or filling. Even the thought of sitting in that chair gives me chills now. I am seriously scared to go see one. Like, numbing, paralyzing fear. I can't even watch oral surgery on tv, and I normally love blood and guts and gore and watching those televised OR cases.

Today, while brushing (and flossing, thank you very much) I was pondering the state of my teeth and decided that I really do need to see a dentist. I'm 24 years old, own a new car, rent my own apartment, have a career-type job, and pay for my own health insurance. I should be old enough to make my own dental appointment, one would think. So I gave myself a long pep talk about the benefits and necessity of regular exams. I thought of my friend AB from nursing school who is also a dental hygienist, who reminds me often that I need to get my butt in gear. I thought of the likely cavities lurking in my mouth, and how I don't want my teeth to fall out and I should take care of myself better. Man up, I told myself.

Seriously, my pep talk lasted a good 20 minutes. I finally Googled some dentists around here, picked a decent looking one, and held my cell phone with the number dialed in for a solid five minutes before I pressed send.

It rang, and rang. And rang.

And then it dawned on me.

Today is Sunday.



It might take me another year or two to work up the courage to try again...


AtYourCervix said...

Going to the dentist brings so much dread as going to the GYN for your annual exam.

Filia Dei said...

Your teeth are probably in great shape as long as you have been flossing and brushing. Don't be scared. You should know that mouth health is an indicator and instigator of whole body health.

meghan said...

i feel the same way (although i missed the wonders of braces)... i keep thinking of reasons not to go to the dentist and even canceled my dental insurance policy - buying me until open enrollment in may to add it back and then chose a dentist... =)

lesbonurse said...

1 word for you: Ativan. Ain't no shame in anti-anxiety medication if it helps you do what you need to do to stay healthy!

Gert said...


My mom, full set of dentures at age 33...

Me, regular dental visits (cleanings mainly) and flossing since age 18...teeth are all mine and doing well! Age now is 51....

I dislike dental visits. They are not fun, they can be uncomfortable, and they're boring (unless your hygenist is a comedian)....but they are worth it!!!!!

jennie said...

my best friend from college became a dentist. I told her she was risking our friendship doing so, I am terrified of dentists. Well she is still a dentist and we are still friends, but I still hate going. I average about once a year.
Love all your posts.

Heidi said...

OMG I have the same fear now at 39...and I had my braces on as an adult 15 years ago.

Yesterday and Today I had my very first root canal. Can I tell you I nearly passed out from the anxiety alone. The dentist kept asking me "are you sure you're not feeling this?" because I was squirming around so much in the chair. The best part about this -- I get to go back again for them to dig around in it one more time because the damn thing was abscessed -- I waited too long.

I go regularly for the cleanings, and three years ago they told me to have the root canal and I scoffed until this week -- when I was in horrible pain.

Uh, I still hate the dentist.

PPLIC said...

Nice article. very interesting, thanks for sharing.