I have nothing against dentists. Not the person. One of my best friends from high school is a dentist.
But I am terrified of them. Forget evil clowns, giant dinosaurs, Godzilla even. They are nothing as compared to dentists. Learning to drive terrified me. I was certain I would permanently maim or even kill someone. But it never terrified me as much as does going to the dentist.
My blood pressure is usually on the low side … kind of really low actually. But at the dentist, they are always telling me that maybe I need an antihypertensive medication. I try to reassure them that I don’t need it, but they never believe me.
So, here I sit. I need to make a dentist appointment. Not for a cleaning, although it’s been over four years since the last one. That’s a long story involving an accident and six CT scans (one full body) and nine chest x-rays that kind of put me off any kind of x-ray for a while (just try to find a dentist that will clean and examine your teeth without also taking x-rays of them). Then, just as I was getting a little more sane about the whole oh-my-God-I’ve-had-enough-radiation-to-equal-25-years-of-background-radiation thing, Covid-19 happened.
I love horses. Horses in general liked me. But they were not good for me in a number of ways that sort of outweighed the parts that were actually good for me.
I had more accidents working with and riding horses in the course of eight years than I had in all the other years of my life added together. The accident I mentioned above happened when I was 65 years old. So that’s a lot of years.
Falling off of horses can be disastrous for your teeth. Frequently, your mouth slams shut fairly violently when you impact the ground. Teeth don’t like being slammed together that way. That’s why football players where mouth guards.
So some of my teeth got damaged and needed a lot of work to save. One couldn’t be saved and had to be pulled. And then later another one that was “saved,” needed pulling. One tooth needed a new crown and then when a horse head butted me in the jaw, that newly re-crowned tooth ended up needing a root canal.
Now that re-crowned, root-canaled tooth seems to be going south quite rapidly. I am not happy about it. And the other morning while eating breakfast, there was a loud crunching noise in my mouth. I spit my food out into my hand and searched for a rock or something hard. Didn’t find anything. Went to the bathroom and looked all around my mouth in the mirror and everything looked fine.
Since between beginning to write this post and now, I’ve had that appointment with a dentist. The x-ray showed that my tooth cracked right at the root (that was the loud crunching noise) and the crown of my tooth and the root are now two separate entities. Wonderful.
It gets worse. My new dentist is not allowed to perform tooth extractions. The main reason being that many years ago he was a drug addict who abused pain medications so he is not allowed to prescribe pain medications. Apparently most of the population requires pain medication after having a tooth pulled. The fact that I do not did not sway him in any way.
So now we have to drive about two hours to Casper, Wy to go to an oral surgeon there who can remove my tooth and set an implant. It’s a long drive and it will be a long day. And I’m not looking forward to it in any way.
The only thing appealing about it is that they will give me an IV sedative to help with my extreme dental anxiety along with the local anesthetic. Sadly enough, I am looking forward to that IV sedative.
Now I just have to somehow keep that tooth together for about 11 days until my appointment comes up. I had been flossing and brushing the tooth like I normally would, but when my new dentist said he could probably grab the crown and pull it right off the root and out of my mouth right then and there, I decided not to brush or floss that tooth anymore. I already had not been chewing on that side since I heard the crunching noise.
I titled this post “Dentists” but it’s really been about me. So in all fairness, I will say this. I have the greatest respect for dentists even though I just about die every time I have to go see one. They put up with what has to be one of the worst parts of the human body. We ask them to perform miracles in there. They put up with crazy people like me. If someone said to me I had to choose to be a medical professional of one sort or another, dentist would not be it. I think I’d sooner be a proctologist.
And there I go, talking about me again.
We need dentists. I’m glad that there are people willing to be dentists. That’s all I’m going to say about that.