Thursday, January 3, 2008

my pearly whites

Or not so pearly. For some reason, I was able to go my entire life without any dental problems. This is a miracle, seeing as I did NOT brush my teeth as often as I should have, and I've never been too good with flossing. Not to mention that my father actually has a disease and my mother has had more done to her mouth than I can remember. So, for eighteen years I was a blessed child. However, the moment I became an "adult" (whatever that means), literally a week after my eighteenth birthday, BEHOLD! my first cavity.

Great. So I cried. I cried out of complete shock that I would have a cavity after doing so well for so long. I cried because I felt dirty, and because the dentist and hygienist seemed to be so incredibly casual about something that would change the course of my life as I knew it. Many tears. Many minutes laying in that stupid chair while my hygienist tried to get me to calm down (which, by the way, only makes it worse, so if you find yourself in my company while I'm crying, either hold me or leave).

About two weeks later, I returned for my filling. The dentist told me very patiently that I would not be needing any anesthetic. This time I cried for joy. He drilled, I sat, he filled, and I left. Piece of cake.

So here we are in the present day. Almost two years later, I've been doing great. I brush my teeth rather obsessively, I'm making an effort to floss more frequently, and I have not exhibited any signs of my father's lovely dental disease. Hooray! I arrive at the dentist, I have my cleaning (with my favorite hygienist!) and we're having a great time. I mean that literally because everyone in my dentist's office is a sweetheart, including Dr. Schubert. Anywho, in walks Dr. Schubert and he looks at my films and says, "Okay, you'll need to come back very soon so we can fix this up."


Once again, complete shock, utter nonchalance from the two other people in the exam room, once again tears. I'm quite embarassed by the tears, to be honest, because I really wasn't that upset. For some reason I still lack control of adverse bodily reactions to situations despite the fact that my emotional reactions are considerably toned-down.

I made the appointment. It looked like this time I would need some local anesthetic, which threw me unwillingly into another fit of tears. Everyone was very sweet and said, "Oh, sweetie, it's nothing to worry about." They told me we might be able to try it without any of that poking business, to which I responded with a huge sigh of relief. (Okay, I know I sound like a crazy person, but I HATE not knowing what's going on, and having people play around in my mouth with sharp objects and not being able to see it is the epitome of "not knowing what's going on.")

This afternoon I drove myself to my appointment feeling okay. I wasn't freaking out yet, so I thought that maybe I'd be able to make it through this without crying. I was wrong. The moment I walked in, the lady behind the desk said, "Hello sweetheart. You'll be fine, there's nothing to worry about." "Mmhmm," I replied. I sat in the waiting room for ten whole minutes, stewing in my thoughts, listening to "Beautiful Day" over and over, and trying not to cry.

They took me back. My heart was pounding, Vicky was trying to calm me down (I later found out that my carotid artery had been dancing around on my neck and she was trying to do anything she could to keep me from passing out from fear), and Dr. Schubert walked in. He probed around by the culprit for a moment before saying, "Hmmm. Let's try air abrasion--this doesn't look as bad as I thought."


Boy, did God take care of me today. No poking, no shots, no drills, just a blessed tube shooting aluminum oxide at my tooth for about three minutes. I had some minor pain towards the end, but then it was over and I breathed a great big sigh of relief all over their faces!! I don't know why I get so freaked out because I know that very few things in this world are actually worth the time and effort, but I do. Needless to say, I will only pursue my dedicated regimen more aggressively from now on, and I am now including a ban on sticky things. I do NOT need to be on the far side of the dental office ANY MORE. EVER. Though I do love those folks...

**Side note--Dr. Schubert and a small team of his associates go to Haiti a few times a year to provide free dental care to folks in need. Their next trip begins January 29th, so please keep them in your prayers.


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