Thursday, November 5, 2009


I hate the dentist. I know, a lot of people say that but see they weren't held down by a mean dentist when they were a kid and yelled at/forcibly examined. Maybe I did kick him in the shins first and ran out of the office down the street but I still can't help but think there was a better way to handle that. Luckily I was blessed with the genetics of strong teeth so I've had a grand total of 2 cavities in my life, both surface level. The second one was actually lasered off, so no drill was needed.

However, then there was my wisdom tooth debaucle. My mother doesn't believe in xrays- thinks the radiation from them and microwaves will kill you- so she never once bothered to let the dentist xray my mouth as a kid. My wisdom teeth never flared up when I was younger so she thought hey she probably doesn't have any, like me. Wrong. When they finally decided to start acting angry I was 23. The anger escalated through only 3 episodes until I was 25 and they got so infected that I couldn't actually open my mouth more than 2 inches without excruciating pain. Out of the desire to eat, I went in to the oral surgeon office. I didn't have a whole lot of time to research so I just went to one the closest to my office building so I could go during lunch thinking they'd give me antibiotics to clear up the infection then schedule me at a later date to take them out. Wrong again. They declared it an emergency and said at least the 2 infected ones had to come out. I knew that if it hurt at all I'd never go back so I said just take out all four. I had driven myself, it was the middle of a work day, and thus had to get myself back home. That, ladies and gentleman, is how Kim got 4 wisdom teeth extracted (2 extremely infected) with only novocaine. When I complained that it hurt I was informed that what did I expect? They were removing them from infected tissue, of course it hurt. Then I went home with an antibiotic and pain meds, then had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics and it all went down from there.

Needless to say, I do not like the dentist. However, I'm terrified of my teeth falling out so the longest I will go between visits is AT MOST 2 years. I somehow garner the energy and try out a new dentist every time hoping that this will be the one that I won't hate. I'm wrong every time. I don't have a lot of desires- all I want is
1) for them to listen when I tell them that that light up there pointing directly in my eyes? Gives me migraines so please adjust it just a bit
2) not try to sell me on deep cleanings, teeth whitenings, caps, etc. etc. when I cannot move because I'm stuck in their chair with my mouth open
3) listen when I say it hurts. Dentistry should not have to hurt that bad, I cannot believe that in modern medicine they really have not found some way to lessen the pain quotient.

In full disclosure on 3, it's because while I inherited strong teeth I also inherited awful gums. Awful. No matter how much flossing and Listerining I do, they are tender and they are going to bleed. Dental cleanings hurt a lot for me and what I don't appreciate are hygenists informing me that "it's my fault that it hurts because my gums are crap." Not acceptable.

I also have a baby tooth still in my mouth. This may have been discovered years ago when they could have pulled it and then pulled the permanent tooth down from my jaw in it's place except (see above) my mother didn't believe in xrays so this was not discovered until I graduated from college and got my own dental insurance. So at some point this baby tooth that has held on strong for 29 years will likely fall out and I will likely have to get a transplant. Every single dentist I go to wants to just pull it immediately and get it done though the tooth has no problems. No cavities, abscesses, looseness, nothing. I believe in minimal medical treatment in all things. I get what is necessary done and that is it. I am not going to pull a tooth that will "probably" fall out down the road. What if it doesn't? It's hung in for 29 years. Who says that my gum issues won't make all my other teeth fall out before it ever comes loose? I think they just want the money.

The point to all this is that it's been a year and a half since my last cleaning. The last dentist I went to was recommended by my mother but then not only did he tell me to pull the baby tooth, and tell me to get my teeth whitened his hygenist was the one that said the above to me. I wasn't going back there. Also, he recently made my mom come in 6 times for one crown because he couldn't seem to ever measure her correctly. No thank you.

I was reading this new blog that I found and she mentioned that she's had extensive dental work (and is an anxious patient) and the key to it all is finding a dentist that specializes in anxious patients. That won't let you hurt. That lets you listen to Ipods so you don't have to listen to the equipment. That gives you blankets and pillows. So I called 1-800-Dentists and they matched me with one that they said is wonderful. Unfortunately they scheduled me for Monday at noon so that doesn't give me a lot of time to prepare (read: worry excessively and dread the coming of the appt), but hopefully this will be as pleasent of an experience as possible. Bonus: he does specialize in implants so if my tooth does fall out and I stick with him he can do it on his own without me going anywhere, and he specializes in a whole line of gum treatment options. Way more than I've ever heard about so maybe he'll have an idea for my gum issue.

We'll see...


kissy face said...

I hate the dentist, too. But I need to go. You remind me I should, because I, too, worry about my teeth falling out.

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