Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Novacaine is Our Friend

I have lousy teeth.

This is something with which I have somewhat come to terms. Growing up, I cursed my brother for his whole and hardy teeth. It was (and continues to be) completely unfair that he rarely brushed, never flossed, and often indulged in sweets and yet never had a cavity. I, on the other hand, brushed frequently, often used fluoride rinses, and continuously looked for better and more effective brushes, in vain hopes of finding that the angled bristles, or the harder bristles, or the softer bristles, or the angled handle would be the magic that would make me cavity-free. All this resulted in one or more cavities found just about every year.

This has continued into my adulthood, much to my sorrow.

To add to the situation, I have somehow developed a horror of needles in my mouth. I am not bothered by needles elsewhere - even those big stinkin' horse needles they use for blood donation don't bug. But in my mouth... *shudder*.

I've had some dentists who become impatient and condescending when I ask for a moment to prepare myself - one even patted me on the forehead between drill attacks. If I hadn't been lying at an awkward angle and had several sharp implements balanced amongst my teeth, I might have brained him with an instrument tray.

I've also had dentists who are patient and understanding. Fortunately, my current dentist is one of these.

This is doubly fortunate, because in the brief time since I became her patient early this year, she's replaced two cracked fillings, filled one new cavity, and is scheduled to fill one more next week. My assessment told me that I have at least one filling in every molar. My teeth are probably close to 60% filling material.

My last visit before today was to replace a cracked filling. While she was drilling deeply into a tooth near my canine, I felt the feeling start to creep back into the tooth. She noticed my subtle lurch in the chair, and stopped immediately to give me another shot. Shortly after we began again, I started feeling again. I refused another shot, and just hoped she'd be quick. She was.

The time before that, the dentist had to give me three shots, and warned me to take some Advil well before the freezing wore off, because "there was a lot of bleeding in there", and she thought I'd likely experience some pain later that night. I took two Advil while I was still in the parking lot. I take no chances.

This time, though, was a one-shot deal. I had that shot over four hours ago. Right now, the feeling is ever-so-slowly returning to my lower right lip in little, popping bubbles of sensation.

I am comforting myself with the appropriate soft foods (macaroni with cut up hotdogs) and mindless knitting (hat in chunky yarn). Next week should be my last visit for the next several months. I may crack a wine bottle.


Veronique said...

Can I just say that I'm so glad I'm not the only one with bad teeth? I feel like it's taboo in this country! Get well soon :)

Yosemite said...

I am glad you found a dentist who is understanding. If you hadn't I was going to suggest mine. Let's just say when Joseph was 2 and needed a root canal our dentist at the time referred us to a pediatric dentist. That was a horrible experience. Through our doctor we found a wonderful dentist for him and eventually the entire family moved to her office.

Kirsty said...

I feel your pain!

I have the same kinds of issues (with my brother as well as my teeth actually)--but I'd rather have more needles of novocaine than ANY feeling in my mouth while they're working. I had one dentist who thought he'd just finish the drilling--even though I told him the anaesthetic had worn off--and after they peeled me off the ceiling I never went back.

My current dentist knows to give me LOTS extra before he starts!

kmkat said...

My teeth are at least as bad as yours -- growing up on the farm drinking well water, plus hating to brush my teeth. But no cavities any more; about 20 years ago my then-current dentist commented that pretty much all the decayable surfaces were now metal.

I'm also a wimp about tooth pain. Gimme the novocaine. Have you had nitrous oxide? That makes even a crown kinda fun.