A trip to the dentist
Iím writing this column a day early, because Iíve got a date with the dentist on Monday morning.
Heíll do some X-rays and tell me whatís wrong, but Iím pretty sure I have cavities ó a lot of them. Thatís what Iíve been focusing on, at least. Itís much better than anticipating a root canal.
Iím not alone in dreading the dentist.
Most of us donít like getting our teeth scraped or drilled or removed. Itís just not pleasant. I read somewhere that if you floss, brush and use mouthwash twice a day youíll never have to see the dentist. I wish I had read that a long time ago. With shame, I admit that I didnít really take my dental hygiene seriously until a few months ago when my teeth started to hurt.
Before that, I brushed twice a day and used floss every now and then. Mouthwash wasnít even on my radar. Because I didnít have any trouble with tooth pain, I assumed what I was doing worked. Suffice it to say, it didnít. Sometime last October, my teeth started to hurt when I ate something crunchy, cold or too hot. Despite the pain, it took a couple of weeks for me to schedule an appointment with the dentist.
For that, I have many reasons. I put off going to the dentist when Gideon was in graduate school because I wanted to save as much money as possible. We were paying for his tuition out of pocket, and it was never a small amount. Somehow, I convinced myself that my health could sit on the back burner until Gideon started teaching.
Then he started teaching and I still didnít go to the dentist. It wasnít the right time. My teeth felt fine. I thought I was doing everything to keep my teeth healthy, That was all part of my thought process, but the truth is pretty simple. I was scared ó scared of getting a bad diagnosis, scared of the discomfort that comes with regular cleanings, scared of more serious dental work. In hindsight, I could have gone to the dentist when Gideon was in graduate school. But I was too scared.
Well, I finally shoved all that fear down last November when I went in for a regular cleaning, my first cleaning in years. I informed the hygienist that I had brought her a ďfixer upperĒ and breathed through all the discomfort. She was honest ó it was more uncomfortable than normal because I had put off regular cleanings for so long. She was also kind and told me it wasnít as bad as I thought, even though Iím pretty sure it was.
Then the dentist came in and looked over my teeth. He said I had noticeable cavities and suggested an X-ray. Unfortunately, Gideon and I failed to sign up for dental insurance at the end of 2019 so we would have paid for the X-rays and fillings completely out of pocket. I asked the dentist if it could wait until the new year when our insurance kicks in and he said that would be fine, but I should call if pain becomes persistent.
Luckily, the pain never became persistent. Iíve spent the last three months streamlining my dental hygiene routine. To be honest, Iíve become a bit of a dental hygiene freak. I brush and use mouthwash at least two times a day, and I floss during those times and after every meal. I have car floss, purse floss, work floss, home office floss and bathroom floss. If you ever need floss, just find me.
As I look toward my dentist appointment in the morning, I feel more excited than fearful knowing my dentist is good at what he does and Iíll have a clean slate once heís done working. Itís nice to know whatís broken can be fixed. You can always start over if thatís what you decide to do.
Thatís what Iím doing, and I canít wait to start my new life as a floss freak.