Nov 29, 2002
The Angels Sang and...She Lived!!
OK, so I lived through the dentist experience and it was about as good as it could have been. I have two cavities, which is what I had 2 years ago when I went. One is the filling I knew I had to have replace, which I am told now wants a root canal. Eh. It wanted one two years ago as well. In January, when I have dental insurance and can go to a good ass kissin dentist instead of a dental clinic, I'll get it done when I can have something badass like IV valium and at least get some compensation for what I'm going through.
This is the first cleaning I've had without nitrous in about 5 years. It was tolerable overall, but the tension kept creeping up on me. I was able to stay distracted with deep breathing, focal point (I was a Lamaze teacher for 17 years. I'm good at this), neuromuscular disassociation, biofeedback, humming, and counting out patterns with my fingers on the armrests.
The dentist was extremely gracious (tired, I think, end of the day appointment) and the x-ray tech and hygienist were also really gentle and wonderful. My teeth feel much better now and the tartar boulders are all gone. I'm glad it did it, even if it was...tense. I couldn't ask for it to have gone better (unless there happened to be nitrous present).
November 29, 2002
Going to the Dentist
Pray for me.
In "Look Who's Talking" when Kirsty Alley is in labor, she grabs the doctor and explains that she's in quite a bit more pain than his usual patients. That's how I feel about the dentist. I'm having more pain and apprehension than most people going. I have a serious panic attack every time and nothing I do seems to be able to shake it, not heavy (to the point of ridiculous) praying, not meditation, not biofeedback, not anything. It's not that there's no basis for it or anything. There is, but I can't seem to get the Dr Phil in me going on it to GET REAL and get past things that have happened in the past.
To make a long story short, our family has cursed teeth. The Mitchell's (my mom's family) have always had teeth made pretty much of paper. No matter how much we brush and floss and maintain, our teeth go berserk. My mom had dentures before she was 25. All of her brothers and sisters, that I know of, have at least a partial plate (there are 8 kids in the family). I'm guessing it's the Davis line because my Granny also had full dentures for as long as I knew her. We build up tartar the size of boulders in nothing flat.
When I was very young, 6-7, I starting having to go to the dentist for monster fillings and this was back when the drills were the size of baseball bats, the needles were as big as knitting needles and the fillings were practically lethal. That was bad enough, but when I was 9 and going in for another battery of heavy fillings, my dentist molested me, my mom wouldn't believe me (it was just too ludicrous or something, I guess - she STILL doesn't believe me) and kept taking me back for all of these further treatments I supposedly needed. It was horrible.
Now, whenever I have to go, I get all worked up. Because we haven't had dental insurance, it's been a couple of years and I know I'm going to need extensive cleaning and a replaced filling. To make matters worse, this is a chop shop that services MediCal people (which I am until Dec 1 - see how long I put it off??) and they are not overly concerned with sensitivity. Eric went there last week for a cleaning and a filling and was in pain for two days afterward.
I know I really, really need the cleaning, so my plan is to go in, get the x-rays, big cleaning and a temp filling for the lost filling, then when our dental insurance starts in January, find another dentist with a more gentle hand (and more generous nitrous oxide font) and have any big stuff done.
It's not that I deny the necessity of good dental care. I just have to overcome the freak out it generates. So I'm out the door and will hopefully return a more dentally hygienic and less panicked human.
Many journal entries are forthcoming!!
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