I am terrified by dentists.
Terrified. Mortified. Petrified. Stupefied by dentists and their instruments of
When I was growing up in Colombia, there was no such thing as annual or semi-annual visits to the dentist. As a child, you were taken there only when a tooth needed to be extracted.
And a tooth extraction was always a very horrible, painful experience.
Happy smiles, free toothbrushes, gifts, rewards? Ha! The most you got was a Popsicle from your parents to help dull the pain. After stern looks and a lot of scolding for not sitting still.
As a result, I learned very early to endure tooth pain. Cause, if there is no pain, there is no reason to have your tooth extracted, right?
Because that was the other thing. Fillings? No such thing. A cavity always meant extraction. I seriously believe those “dentists” didn’t know anything else but to pull teeth out.
Because of that, my teeth are in funny places and in funny directions. I am lucky the front ones ended up sort of aligned without any help. Truly.
Fast forward some 40 years. I know I need to have my wisdom teeth extracted. I’ve known this for at least 25 years. I’ve done nothing about it. Not even at those times when I’ve had dental insurance. It is not about the money. It’s about deep fear.
I’ve been experiencing tooth ache for quite a while. And -I thought, a broken tooth. Finally, it got to a point where I was actually concerned I might have an infection. The pain -initially localized, has expanded to my whole left lower jaw.
So I called to make an appointment. As it turned out, my old dentist retired and someone bought his practice. “Great” I thought. I have to start all over again. They won’t know anything about my fears.
But the pain won and I showed up to my appointment.
I needn’t be afraid.
They were wonderful!
They greeted me with a gift
They asked me if I was nervous. I said,
are you kidding me? “very!”. They told me it was ok. Apparently, a lot of people get nervous too.
They sent me in and I met my dentist’s assistant. I told her I was cold and she brought me a blanket. a BLANKET! That was awesome. It had a little teddy bear on one corner. I started to relax a little.
Then my dentist came in and I tensed up again. She asked me if I was nervous and I told her I had bad memories about going to the dentist from when I was growing up. She was very sympathetic and understanding and she took pains to make the experience a good one for me.
They took an X-Ray and then the doctor proceeded to do some tests with tapping and cold. She examined the X-Ray.
The good news? There is no infection. The tooth is not broken, but the filling is chipped. All I need is a new filling. The dentist even said the hole is very small. Pheeew.
And even better, getting a new filling will be free because they are having a Free Day of Dentistry this Saturday! I didn’t know about this. They could have just scheduled me for a filling. Instead, the dentist told me all about the event and encouraged me to come, because she knew I don’t have insurance. Isn’t that awesome?
Thank goodness for health professionals with a heart and a conscience!
The bad news? The damn wisdom tooth is pushing against the bone, causing the pain. It needs to be extracted, there’s no other way around it. The pain will only get worse, eventually. And it might end up causing some other problems too.
But that will be a battle for another day.
- Broken Tooth? …….don’t wait! (rjfunkdds.wordpress.com)
- From Our Hearts to Your Smile: Free Day of Dentistry (healthysmilesottawa.wordpress.com)