I have a confession to make.
I haven’t been to the dentist in 11 years.
Truthfully, I didn’t even realize it had been that long since I had seen a dentist until very recently. In my search for a dentist for my children, and discovering our current dental insurances SUCKS…JB mentioned that if I could find a family dentist, we could all go. Then I started doing the math in my head, and remembered that day, just a week before my wedding, I reluctantly went to get my teeth cleaned because my mom randomly made an appointment for me.
I loathe dentist visits. I always have. So it’s no wonder that as soon as I got out on my own, I stopped going. I never had cavities or anything, but I spent almost 5 years of my life in spacers, jaw expanders, braces, head gear, and retainers. It was a nightmare, and my mouth hurt ALL the time. Then once I was finally done with all of that mess, the dentist I went to was constantly wanting to do procedures on me. It was like every time I went in that place, I walked out with information on something new he wanted to do. Wisdom teeth extraction (which I did have done), gum grafts (I didn’t have done), and frenulum clipping (he did do.) There’s other things he talked to me about, but those are the main ones I remember. I couldn’t stand it. So I quit going.
I know I need to go. If for no other reason than to be a good example for my kids, right? I just always said my teeth were okay, I brush two to three times a day, floss when I remember to, I’ll be fine. Weeeeeeell…then my thyroid decided to crap out on me, and I had awful dry mouth for months…and I suspect I might have my first cavity ever. So yeah. I absolutely need to get over my intense dislike for all things dentist and get it taken care of. Easier said than done.
Before we moved, I faithfully took my kids to the pediatric dentist. After we moved, I had no idea where to take them and didn’t know people to ask for a recommendation. So I just didn’t make appointments. But then my son managed to get whacked in the mouth twice over the last couple months, knocking a tooth loose. That sucker has been loose for ages, but his loose teeth always just seem to HANG ON FOREVER. I mean, to the point that it’s hanging on by a tiny thread and grossing me out because he twirls it. Disgusting! Anyway, because that area was tender, he wouldn’t brush it well, so I’d send him back and forth every time he “brushed” to brush again. And then I looked at it, and I promise you, it looked like the tooth was cracked. I freaked out, thinking, “Oh no…that wasn’t a baby tooth, he’s cracked the permanent tooth and this is so not gonna be good!”
So I spent all last week trying to figure out what our crap dental insurance actually covers. Best I can tell, it covers cleanings. But it’s a PPO plan, and the nearest “covered” provider to us is 180 miles away. I KID YOU NOT. I was one mad mama when I found that out. I had found a couple dentists that I planned to call, and then my daughter came home saying a dentist visited her school (and she had a card! Perfect timing!) So I got an appointment set up. While I was on the phone setting up his 8 am appointment, the receptionist ambushed me…she asked sweetly, “Would you like to schedule an appointment for yourself along with his? We have a 9 am available.” Uh, stutter, stammer, oh crap, freak out…no, I just need to get his teeth taken care of at the moment.
No sooner had I gotten the appointment, I was checking my son’s tooth again, and noticed one of his bottom teeth had taken on a grayish tint. DUDE! What is going on?
The kid got his teeth cleaned this morning (by a hygienist that is obviously NOT from around here), some x-rays…and the verdict is: no cavities, he needs to floss, and oh, he has three loose teeth. One he hadn’t even discovered yet. The tooth I was so worried about: it’s a baby tooth, but what I thought was a cracked tooth is actually the permanent tooth pushing through the gumline…just the baby tooth is still hanging on, so I’m seeing two teeth. The grayish tooth? Also loose and being pushed up by a permanent tooth. Geez. The hygienist said she thought the original loose tooth should be pulled today, because it’s causing him some discomfort and the gum around it is red. The dentist is giving him some time to work the loose tooth out on his own, but if it doesn’t come out in the next week or so, it will have to be pulled.
In the meantime, the office is checking with our oh so lovely dental insurance to see if sealants are covered, and I asked for them to check on how much an extraction might set me back. I know my kid’s teeth, and I will be shocked if we aren’t back in there soon to get it pulled.
The dentist, after asking me if I had any questions, then turned around and asked me a question: “When is YOUR appointment?” Dang, ambushed again! The third ambush came in the truck on the way to school…”Mama, I didn’t know you hadn’t been to a dentist in a long time!”
Sigh. Time to conquer the fear, Mom.