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Be The Filling.

Toofus, revisited.In many ways, I'm an adult.  I am married.  I have a job.  I am responsible (to a certain extent) and I make the bed without being asked.  This makes me a grown up, I think.

However, I'm scared of the dentist, and the idea of going for something as simple as a routine cleaning makes me tremble like a child.

I have good reason, though.  My family has good looking teeth, but they not the best, structurally.  Our teeth are exceptionally sensitive, and we require more novocaine than your average dental patient.  As a kid, I spent some time in the dentist's chair having cavities filled (so did my brother and sister) and I wore braces for three years in middle school.  As an adult, I've had my share of weird little toofus problems - like grinding down my molars while I sleep and these pesky sensitive spots at the base of a few of my front teeth.

It's these sensitive spots that cause me the most trouble.  About ten years ago, my dentist decided that he needed to cap the base of my sensitive teeth.  "No, I don't want that," I thought.  But becuse I was in Milgram Mode, I caved and let the dentist do his thing.  He shaved off a bit of the very bottoms (near the gumline) of four of my teeth and put a ceramic filling over them.  Sensitivity issues?  Solved.  But the procedure left me sore and bleeding for days. 

And, three years later, one of the ceramic fillings popped off, exposing that vulnerable nervy area.  I had a different dentist, and his repair included not using enough novocaine, accidentally drilling my lip, and earning many bloody cotton balls.

Two and a half years after that, this shoddy workmanship cracked off again.  Another dentist took a literal stab at it, mangling my gums and leaving aching teeth and bruises on the side of my face.   Bastard dentist.

So when this God forsaken filling popped off yet again Monday morning, I was filled with panic.  "Oh, for crying out loud."  The exposed spot wasn't so painful, but past experience told me that repairing it would be a nightmare.  

Without letting my brain reach maximum nervousness, I called a new local dentist and made an appointment.  "Tomorrow morning?  Great, thank you."  Pause.  "Um, is Dr. B nice?  I'm nervous."

The receptionist laughed.  "She's very nice.  We have plenty of nervous patients, and they all like her a lot."

"Awesome.  See you at 8." 

I showed up to the small practice, nerves of all kinds exposed, and Dr. B greeted me at the door.   

"Hi, are you Kerri?"

"Yes.  You knew it was me?"

She consulted my chart.  "They said you were nervous.  You look a little nervous."  She smiled and closed the folder.  "Nothing to worry about.  This is going to be just fine."

Faithful Readers, let me tell you that I sent a thank you note to the dentist this morning because she was awesome.  Aside from being this friendly looking woman with an easy smile, she took great pains to make sure I wasn't in any pain.  She made sure I was novocained to the fullest extent so I wouldn't feel any discomfort at all.  She told me what she was going to do before she did it, and she advised me to close my eyes when the instruments in play weren't the friendliest-looking.  (I told you I was a big ol' baby.)  She also had a DVD player mounted above the chair, and using headphones to listen, I watched two episodes of The Office while she fixed my tooth.  I know this sounds melodramatic but I can't properly explain how scared of the dentist I am, and how much this particular experience didn't suck.

After it was over, she smiled at me.  "I hope that wasn't too bad.  Are you feeling okay?"

"It wathn't bad at aw.  Fank you," I said, trying to look grown up, but it was hard with the drool and one side of my mouth completely uncooperative.  I smiled a lopsided, pathetic smile, but I meant it.  And when I got in the car, I called Chris.

"Chrith!  The dentith wath awefum.  It didn't huht at aww.  I aweady scheduwed a cweaning."

Cwisis avewted. 

Comments

When are are you going to write a book? I'm serious - I giggle at your blog like I did when I read the diaries of Bridget Jones. Well, it's less of a giggle and more of a guffaw, but you get the point. I especially want to read a chapter devoted solely to Shoes.

I am so glad you found someone that makes you comfortable. Now just make sure she doesn't go anywhere or that insurance doesn't change. that always seems to happen to me when I find someone I like.

Tho Awefum!

Kerri,
I feel your pain, I HATE the dentist. I go every 6 months for cleanings, have had fillings, crowns, root canals etc, but still the thought of having to go makes me want to hide under the bed. This Sunday I woke up, the side of my face was swollen so badly that I could barely see out of my right eye. I had an abcessed tooth and needed emergency root canal...on a Sunday! My dentist referred me to a root canal specialist and he was the BEST! He opened his office for me, was so kind and understanding and shot my mouth full of novicane...and did not charge extra for working on my tooth on a Sunday. Having a compassionate caring person work on your teeth makes all the difference! My regular dentist even called my house to see how I was feeling. Glad to hear it worked out for you.

I am the same way--I poke my finger upwards of 13 times a day, I get my blood drawn regularly, I change my infusion set every three days with a big needle and my CGMS every six days with an even bigger needle, but that's NOTHING compared to the discomfort I feel in the dentist's chair. I finally found a dentist in DC who understands diabetes and what it means for the teeth, who wants to consult with my endocrinologist and who sees me every four months. But most importantly, my dentist puts me at ease. Just shows how important it is to "shop" for the right doctors, dentists included! Glad you found someone, Kerri!

I think there is a perfectly good reason so many people share that fear...
it's because dentists ARE SCARY and there is great potential for pain (jeez, I mean just look at their instruments.)

A good dentist you trust is a blessing, and I agree with George. Make sure he's stays on your insurance. My favorite dentist no longer accepts insurance at all, and I now I am postponing my cleaning.

i am so glad you found an awesome dentist I neglect my teeth so bad and I really should not but cant ever find a decent dentist maybe in ky i will find someone whom I can really trust . thanks for an awesome blog .

I'm so glad you found a good dentist! I shouldn't tell you this, but I nearly fall asleep when getting my teeth cleaned. I find it that relaxing. ;) Yesterday Ian was getting his cleaned and looked over as his little eyelids were fluttering and I yelled "IANAREYOULOW?" and he opened them and said, "no mum, just sleepy."

I'm so glad you found a dentist you like, Kerri. I've never been too crazy about going to the dentist's office either.

And I agree with Kim. You should write a book.

Kerri, you are wonderful... I love the way you write and you have an awesome sense of humour! I believe all of us, at some time, have had a fear of dentists! I know, that by the time I was in Kindergarten I had to have 12, yes count them 12 fillings..... I had chronic ear infections from the time I was a baby and my GP at the time was an old fart and din't believe in shots nor putting things/medicines inside the ear, so I got lots of syrupy-sugary oral anti biotics... **sighs** I don't really remember eating all that much candy, but I do blame the oral anti-biotics.... so, I have seen my share of scary dentists. Hang in there!!

Oh yeah, and definately think about writing a book or something like that!! **cheezie grin**

Oh my gosh, I hate the dentist, too! But my sister recommended I ask for the gas (nitrous oxide) last time I had to have a crown replaced. Why had I not known about this sooner?? It costs extra, but sooo worth it! It felt a little bit like being hypoglycemic or dizzy, but I had not a care in the world. My mom says last time she got the gas she felt like she could be president of the United States! hahaha
So, that's my advice, "Get the gas!"

Does Dr. B have a clone in MN? Please?

I'm glad your latest experience was positive. I just went to a new dentist this year and they have the DVDs and XM radio on headphones in the chair too. I don't mind going to the dentist myself, but my wife thought it was the greatest idea ever.

Kerri! My kids just asked what I was laughing at!!I read your numb-ish language. We were all cracking up!! And, yes, please get your book published soon!!!

Oh god, I hate the dentist. I have such awful teeth and I need the horse needles for the novocaine. We get dental insurance in another month or so and I'm absolutely dreading going. I know I have cavities and I know I need to have stuff done and I just don't want to.


Also? Sensodyne is your friend if you have sensitive teeth. Ignore the "only use for 6 weeks" thing on the package. I have. For, like, five years now. On the advice of a dentist....

Awesome that you found a great dentist that doesn't scare the daylights out of you. And let's you watch TV!!! Cool.

Question: What Office episodes did you watch?
Question: Will you share Dr Bs info with me? I've been searching for a good (non-scary) dentist since the one I liked stopped taking our insurance. I lost a crown and have been ignoring it because I'm scared. I'm desperate for a good one - That's What She Said!!

I'm very proud of you for going. Dentists.. ahh. They must rank pretty high up on there on the phobia-meter, right below 'death' and 'public speaking'. :)

She sounds great. Do you think she could help my DH? He's also phobic about dentists. But I suppose that the insurance isn't going to cover the airfare and hotel, is it?

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