Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm proud of myself!

I went to the dentist yesterday, and I didn't cry!

Yes, I realize that, for most adults, this is a normal occurrence, not something worthy of celebration.  Well, I'm special.

For years, I've had severe dental anxiety.  It was not good.  I didn't go to the dentist for 10 years, because I was so terrified.  Visits to the dentist have been the bane of my existence.  When I was a child, I had a series of horrible experiences with hygienists.  My teeth are very close together, and it's hard to get dental floss between them, even when I'm being super-gentle at home.  These hygienists (and I never seemed to have the same one twice) were brutal.  They didn't care that I was crying and bleeding.  They told my mom that it was because I wasn't taking good care of my gums.  I still firmly believe that it was because they were SLICING UP MY MOUTH.

I had all four wisdom teeth removed at once, under general anesthesia, because my dentist at the time was quite certain that if I only had one done, I wouldn't go back again.  And if I just had local anesthetic, I would never go back to a dentist.  Ever.

Not long after I moved, I chipped a tooth. I was tempted to just leave it, but it was rough and uncomfortable, and I realized that I really did need to see a dentist.  I ended up calling the dentist that everyone in my office sees.  I got an appointment right away, and started panicking immediately.  By the time I was in the chair, I was hyperventilating and squeezing the stuffing out of the stuffed bear I had tucked into the pocket of my hoodie.  (Yes, I brought a stuffed animal.  Like I said, severe dental anxiety.  The bear helped a little.)  He started working on the tooth, and it broke all the way through (not his fault - it was just a defective tooth, hence the original chip).  And do you know what that meant?  That's right!  Root canal!

I freaked out.  I was crying in the chair, and the poor dentist was trying to reassure me, but it wasn't working. He did a temporary filling, and set me up with the uber-dentist to do the root canal a few days later. (I can't remember the title of the root canal guy - cosmetic dentist? Dental surgeon?) By the time we pulled up in front of the office, I was already sniffling.  Tears were running down my cheeks as I filled out the new patient paperwork.  By the time I was in the chair, I was full-out crying.  I feel sorry for the poor technicians who had to deal with me.  I really don't remember much after that, other than more tears and squeezing my bear.

Slowly, though, over the last three years, I've gotten better.  At first, I was still sniffling and hugging my bear during all of my cleanings and exams.  Yesterday, though?  No tears, and the bear stayed in my purse.  I totally blame the awesome dentist and hygienist combination for this change!  Since seeing this dentist, I've had the same hygienist for every visit.  Charlotte knows me, and knows my mouth, and she can distract me and laugh with me while she's doing the cleaning.  The flossing part still sucks, but she's careful and she knows  that's where I can get upset, so she usually launches into a story about something to keep my mind off of it.

So yes, it's a big deal that I didn't cry at the dentist yesterday.  Let's hope this pattern continues!

Blanket update: I've managed two rows.  The pattern now runs from one edge of the blanket to the other, and I've got to twist strands every 2-4 stitches, so it's taking about an hour per row.  It'll be a while...


Cowboy Joe said...

I'm proud of you for not crying yesterday. I never had that problem, but I totall sympathize. I have a similar problem with going to see the doctor. Not sure why. Way to go!

Karen said...

I'm the same way with dentists... I finally found a good one before I left Winnipeg... and now I need to find another new one lol. I'm proud of you for not crying :)