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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

An Overdue, But Unwanted Visit

I'm sure you have all had to eventually to something you avoided as long as possible.  Tomorrow is my day for one of those.  Tomorrow, I visit The Dentist.

8 years ago, the first week of my retirement, I was having lunch with a friend to celebrate my retirement.  A filling came loose.  Well, it didn't bother me to have it missing, so I delayed going to a dentist to replace it.  My previous dentist had just retired and I didn't like the rather odd attitude of the 2 guys who bought his practice.  Somehow, the oldr dentist's motto of "We cater to cowards" because "Deal with it you coward". 

So not feeling any immediate problem, I figured I would just find a new dentist.  Besides, I had some problems in the dental chair, so I kind of avoided doing annything.

No one likes the dental chair, but my reasons are not (I think) the usual ones.  I don't mind the drilling.  I don't feel it, I don't care.  The dentist could just as well be drilling my name in a concrete slab on the wall.

But I have some problems that cause me to avoid the dental chair mightily!  And if you are sqeamish, just stop reading.  Those of you you who accept that bodily functions vary and are sometimes annoying, may read on.

I have smoked for 45 years, and there are consequences.  I cough a lot, I have a constant nasal drip at the back of my throat, my nose runs, I swallow constantly, and as soon has my jaw is open, I salivate.  And there are some problems I had before I smoked.  I have a small jaw, my teeth are crowded (when I was 30, one dentist wanted to remove 1 forward molar in each right/left and upper/lower part of my jaw to let the remaining teeth "spread out",  I can't open my mouth very wide (a standard thick sandwich is a problem, and a thick sub is impossible).

So when that lost-filling tooth twinged a few months ago, I became worried.  It subsided, bit there were a few days months later when I detected some problems.

A month ago, I noticed some "pinkish"  as I expelled my toothpaste.  And then a tiny bit of filling.  Then pinkish regulary.  I recognized that I had to do something about that and  started cutting done on cigarettes.  The connection there is that I sure wanted to not cough and have to swallow in the dental chair.

Last week, I suddenly felt a slight movement at that bad tooth.  I suspect that there is a broken piece of tooth at the gumline.  Fortunately, there is no pain (I think I had a root canal work there 20 years ago). 

But it meant that I couldn't put visiting a dentist any longer.  I had had Dad living with me for a year in May 2012 to 2013 nd he had a tooth problem.  So I had searched Angie's List for the best local dentists.  And the one I found for him was very good. 

I visited his office today and made an appointment.  He's not going to be happy with the problems I have described above.  But he specializes on children an old people, and in my experience watching him work on Dad's bad tooth, he will be the most tolerant dentist I can find.

I will see how the initial visit goes.  He may simply pull out bits of a broken tooth  and drill out the roots.  I wouldn't mind the tooth simply being removed.  Or he may see I can't handle the dental chair concious and suggest sedation dentistry.

But this is a big step for me right now.  I'm not scared of the dentistry work; just my body's annoying reactions to all that stuff in my mouth.  The dentist doesn't scare me.  But I'm afraid I might choke to death while he does his good work!

If I don't return, then something went really wrong.  Seriously, one never knows...


3 comments:

Megan said...

Best wishes Mark. I'll be thinking of you. I have very poor teeth and I drink a lot of soft drinks, so you can figure that I have spent a LOT of time and money at the dentist. I'm embarrassed about my teeth but ... I have to push through that. My dentist has agreed not to give me 'the lecture' about soft drinks when I'm there.

I think so many people have so many different issues at the dentist that you really don't need to be embarrassed or concerned. It's very unlikely that they haven't had lots of experience with people just like you.

My advice - even though you didn't ask for it - is that you tell the dentist everything you've written here. That way he should be able to modify his approach to ensure that you receive the best possible dental care with the least concern.

Me? I have happy gas (nitrous oxide) AND pain killing injections and get through it that way.

But ... for the sake of your health, you do whatever it takes to get yourself there on a regular basis! (Do I sound like your mother at this stage? Sorry!)

Good luck.

Megan
Sydney, Australia

Fuzzy Tales said...

Okay, I stopped reading because I AM squeamish, but I wish you good luck with whatever procedure you're having, presumably that tooth filled or pulled or a crown. ::Shudder::

Mariodacatsmom said...

Good luck with the dentist. I've been having a lot of dental problems lately too. I feel your pain (literally). You do need to get in there tho.