Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Date with Dentistry

I went to the dentist today to have a cavity filled, and I left in tears. I'll admit it: I'm a wuss when it comes to pain. But I think it goes deeper. I have a strange dental history that involves four oral surgeries, braces and an implant tooth. Most of this went down between the ages of 12 and 17. Since then, everything has been normal. At my last teeth cleaning the dentist discovered a small cavity (my first ever). So I went today to get it fixed. Small cavity. Forty-minute drill and fill. No big deal. Yeah, right.

My jaw doesn't open very wide ever since I had Lyme disease. It's normally not an issue. But attempting to hold my mouth open wide, while numb, for 30 minutes proved to be a challenge. And suddenly all the unfortunate memories of dental stress through the years came flooding back. I think had I not had a history, it would have been fine. But sitting back in that dentist chair, hands clammy, jaw throbbing, drill buzzing, I found myself on the brink of coming unglued.

The dentist sensed it and avoided the potential crisis beautifully. He distracted me by asking me questions about my family (why do dentists ask you questions?) and saying things like, "You're doing great." You would have thought I was on the operating table fighting for my life or something.

After the ordeal, the receptionist took one look at me and said, "What's wrong, Hun?" Compassion in such circumstances is always a bad idea. A tear came and I blubbered out something about how the dentist was great, but my tears were a result of my own "past dental trauma." (Yes, I actually used those words.) She handed me a tissue and told me to go buy myself an ice cream. I left feeling like a 5-year-old.

The thing is, I really was upset. The whole thing was a bad experience. So I'm thinking...maybe I'm in need of dental counseling. Anyone know a good therapist? ;)


At 7:58 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Aw, ((Suzanne)). I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. I've had a lot of dental stuff done, too (all four wisdom teeth removed at once, two root canals, MANY cavities filled). And my jaw doesn't open real wide, either, so it gets really sore on those long procedures.

So did you get yourself that ice cream? Or a Starbucks treat? :-)

At 8:06 PM, Anonymous Jeffrey N. Trester, D.D.S. said...

Dr. T says: four choices for the future:
1. See a shrink and get reframed about your past experiences.
2. Ask your dentist for a medication to help you relax.(any of the benzodiazepines will work)
3. Do both of the above
4. Do nothing and hope next time goes better.
(for your jaw, ask for a mouth prop; it will help to relax your jaw.)
My recommendation: do #1 and 2; the expense of a therapist will pay dividends over and over.
Jeff Trester, D.D.S.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Kelly said...

Hi Suzanne,
I've only had dental trauma since I did invisaline -- before then my teeth were fine, now they've all been filled and then filled again because my dentist did a bad job the first time. Now the sound of a drill makes my flesh crawl. This peice was sweet and well-written. I'd give you two kudos if I could.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Suzanne said...

I did treat myself to a peanut butter fudge milkshake with a friend last night. :)

At 2:40 PM, Blogger anne said...

AYE! I feel your pain...I dread the dentist. In fact I had not been since I got married in 2002, until just last fall...yikes! But my new dentist is really great and makes the visit a bit more pleasurable, but I would not consider it a good time!


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