So I was flossing on Monday, as I try to do at least 3 times a week, cuz I’m a slacker but care about my dental health, and I pulled the floss out and my filling came with it.
I was scared in that moment, because the last time I had been to the dentist was when my wisdom tooth broke in half and they smashed all my wisdom teeth out of my head under local anesthetic: a process I do not recommend to anyone. (SERIOUSLY get knocked out for Wisdom Teeth Removal) I looked it up and I wrote about this experience already: you can read about the worst day of my life here. I’m sure that at least one person thinks that I was way over dramatic about it, but it really was the worst thing I’ve ever gone through. So, that day had ruined the dentist for me, and I hadn’t been in since December of 2014…
So after a tearful phone call to my mom to let her know I’d need to take time from work to go get it fixed, I took a codeine and went to bed. The tooth didn’t hurt or anything, I just was incapable of calming down because I was fucking scared of the dentist. I made an appointment the next day, anyway. I did decide I was not going back to the facility that repeatedly told me, “there’s no way you can feel anything” and during my wisdom teeth removal to, “stop crying.” I made an appointment with a facility by work.
I was scared to go in, obviously. I’d never been scared of the dentist before having my wisdom teeth out, and while I know that there’s no possible way they could grow back for the dentist to remove again, that didn’t calm my fears of being tortured at the hands of an unfeeling, mean-spirited dentist. I tried to stay calm, though…
My dentist was actually really nice. Since I was a new patient, before they took me back she just sat and asked me a few questions. There were medical questions, and then she asked the last time I’d been to the dentist. I considered lying… but why lie? I had ACTUAL PSTD about the dentists. Dentists know that their patients dread seeing them, as a result of that they have one of the highest suicide rates for a career. (You can google that if you don’t believe me… I’m not linking a sad article about the top suicide rates of careers, though.) The dentist just went, “Oh! You had a bad experience. Okay, we’ll make a note of that.”
She noted that, and then proceeded to be the nicest dentist I’ve ever met.
She explained everything she was going to do in detail (cuz I’ve never gotten a cap before), and when we determined that I’d need a cap, she set to work numbing me up before she even did the exam. Fortunately, even thought I hadn’t been to the dentist in 2 years, there were no additional cavities, and the only unpleasant part of the exam was scraping off the tartar behind my lower front teeth.
That’s not to say there wasn’t pain, however. No, there was a lot of pain, as they had to grind down my tooth to be able to fit in the cap. So they gave me another shot… still hurt. So they gave me a third…. still hurt… And another, but it still hurt. Eventually, they just tried to do it as quickly as possible, because four shots of anesthetic is quite a lot and it was doing nothing. I did my best not to move or flinch or show signs of pain, but I couldn’t push my head back into the chair hard enough, and my body would tremble, and my eyes leaked. I didn’t bawl, like I did with my wisdom teeth, but I was crying. The dental tech felt bad and wiped away my tears while she set the cap.
I apologized a lot, but they just explained that I was hard to numb up. It happens, especially with people who are nervous. So, they made a note in my chart that next time they’d start with gas, to relax me, and that should help the needle sticks be more effective. No one was mad, just frustrated they didn’t manage to get me numb enough.
The tech set my temporary cap and warned me that it might fall off because they couldn’t control my bleeding… and I believe that, because they FUCKED UP my gum line. My mouth hurts a ton today, and my gum line around the tooth is incredibly raw, but the cap hasn’t popped off. I get my permanent cap in a couple of weeks. I accidentally booked myself for my vacation… but I guess that’s okay, really. Maybe not… I might reschedule.
Everyone was really nice to me, though, and while it definitely wasn’t a GOOD day, I’m not scared to go back to them. Which means I can get regular cleanings again, so that’s exciting.
Anyways… Kindness goes a long way. It makes a difference.