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Yesterday afternoon, I had my first dentist appointment in many many years. So many, I forget exactly how long it's been... but even if I *did* remember, it would be a number of years that would be too embarassing to say. Let's just say that the visit was long overdue. ag-guys.com

I had full mouth x-rays done. My x-rays were popping up immediately on the monitor in front of me... something around 16 images, I think. Cool stuff. Hey, I can see my root canal from here! The process was kinda awkward... I have a small jaw and the pieces that I had to hold between my teeth for the x-ray were almost painful to hold. I had a hard time in particular holding it between my molars... it was digging into my lower jaw, and it was painful.

"Oh," the dentist said, "You have an extra mass of bone in there."

Um, what? No one told me this before. I mean, yeah, dental x-rays have bothered me in this same way before, but I thought it was normal to have minor discomfort like that. So I have these excess bone masses under my tongue, one on each side of the inside of my teeth. Nothing abnormal to worry about, it's just... weird.

Then came the most painful part. Well, yeah, it wasn't as bad as having eight teeth extracted (which is another story completely, although it does have to do with my small jaw), but it was pretty horrid. I had a lot of tartar built up on my teeth... it took quite a while for the dentist to clear it off. The dental tool whirred and scraped and poked at my teeth and gums.

"There's a lot of blood..." the dentist said. "Your gums are puffy. Do you floss?"

I shrugged and said frankly, "Not as often as I should."

He smiled, nodded and left it at that. He knew that I was aware of my mistakes and didn't want to lecture me. He could probably tell that I was not enjoying this... my hands were clasped on my lap, but I kept catching myself having to loosen my grip because my fingers were turning white. I'm glad I couldn't see what was going on in my mouth because I would probably freak out, but the taste of the blood almost constantly flowing was enough to make me cringe. I also got nervous whenever people were walking through the mobile office, and shook the entire thing. I'm sure that the dentists and nurses were used to that, and knew how to handle it, but I wasn't prepared for it, and was afraid that the sharp tools would accidentally dig into my mouth.

Mind you, I have never really had a fear of going to the dentist... but the results of the years of neglect made me never want to go through this again.

Rinse and spit. Sigh of relief.

I left with no toy, no stickers, no toothbrush. Just sore gums.

Do you take care of your teeth? Is there anything you would change about your dental routines, or about the appearance of your teeth?

comments

i haven't been to the dentist in a looooong time too. i've been meaning to go, but i don't know of any 'good' ones around here. plus i'm just a huge procrastinator. i really need to floss more often.

transmitted by grant on February 25, 2003 11:51 AM

Floss then brush. Then a little mouthwash.

If you don't floss regularly, the first time you floss again, your gums will bleed. No getting around it. After a few days, your gums will be much more happy and no more blood.

I wish my teeth were a little straighter. I never had braces, and to most people my teeth look good, but I wish my front lower teeth were straighter.

transmitted by michael on February 25, 2003 11:55 AM

I haven't flossed in quite a while, but my Hygienists bitch at me for the whole time that she cleaned my teeth and she made sure that it hurt. I have considered switching dentist. This was only the second time that I have gone to them. They take our new insurance. I miss my old dentist.

transmitted by Tom on February 25, 2003 12:37 PM

Courtney:

Let's pledge to commit to agree to better dental care and overall health care from now on!

I'd have taken the dental probs over the hell I've been through this past 6 days with my surgery and all.

I do like the phrase "You have an extra mass of bone in there." for some reason.

transmitted by Naladahc on February 25, 2003 02:32 PM

I've got those deelies under my tongue too. Dang x-rays are painful.

I went through a long period where I lived on an island where dental care was difficult to obtain, so I didn't, much. My first cleaning and inspection after I got back to the mainland was pretty agonizing and prolonged. But, now that I'm back on a regular schedule, it's fine and they compliment me a lot even though my behavior is basically unchanged. Get'em cleaned every six months and you'll be foine, jist foine. :D

transmitted by zorgon on February 25, 2003 03:21 PM

I go to the dentist every six months (my mother-in-law is a dentist...regular checkups are kinda unavoidable).

I used to have serious problems with tartar. Then I got a SoniCare and I actually brush for the full two minutes required by it (acutally, I do about three), and tartar had become a thing of the past. My dentist has noticed. And she doesn't even ask me if I floss anymore even though I don't.

Thank God for motorized dental hygene.

transmitted by wink on February 25, 2003 03:40 PM

"motorized dental hygiene"

... i have an image of dental tools hooked up to an old land rover's engine or winch or something. "heya, crank that thing up, Jed!"

uh, anyway.

C, you pretty much described most of my visits. though i do them semi-regularly, so probably not quite so horrible. but the clenched fists, the intense stress of having someone poke sharp things in my mouth. "oops!" says the dentist ...

*shiver*

transmitted by eric on February 26, 2003 11:55 AM

I used to have chronic problems with my gums bleeding EVERY TIME I flossed. Then, I found an anti-bacterial toothpaste that tastes good and works great. Now, my gums have never been happier and I wish I'd been using this toothpaste from years ago. Flossing is a good thing now!

transmitted by danindenver on March 2, 2003 10:54 PM
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