I went to the dentist today. A small piece of one of my molars (the teeth at the back of my mouth) fell out recently. This is no great surprise for two reasons. Firstly, I have a number of very old, very large fillings. Secondly, it has been over seven years since I went to the dentist last.
I don’t like having dental work done. Nothing against dentists, really, I’m just not fond of pain, or of the drilling/scraping/abrading process. This is the second time in my life when I have permitted a huge gap (no pun intended) to occur in my dental care record. The first time was between the ages of about 15 and about 25. I started going to dentists again regularly shortly after getting married. I had a couple of reasonably good dentists in a row, and got sort of comfortable, or at least resigned, to the annual process. I was had a regular dental checkup record for over a decade.
I never got around to finding a new dentist after we moved to B.C.. That was in 2000, so seven years ago. Irene has been reminding me every few months for the last seven years that I should find a dentist and get checked out, but it took the appearance of a hole in one of my teeth to get me in motion.
So…on to the dentist. As I mentioned a couple of paragraphs back, I don’t like pain, or the equipment, or being at the mercy of a stranger who is putting potentially lethal implements in my mouth. So I looked around a bit, and found a likely sounding company with several clinics nearby. I went to their closest location, which is basically a five minute drive from my house- nice and convenient. And my first visit wasn’t too bad.
Mind you, they really didn’t do much. They showed off their digital X-Ray machine…which I really liked. I had a monitor right in front of me as I sat in the dental chair, and as they snapped the x-rays I was able to see them immediately. It was a bonus that this type of x-ray uses about 1/20th as much radiation as the old style. They confirmed that my crumbling tooth has two cavities, and recommended a crown. They even took a digital photograph of the tooth in addition to the x-ray, which again appeared on the monitor in front of me. It was pretty easy to see why a crown made sense- there just isn’t much left of the the chomping surface of the tooth which is mostly occupied by a silver (yes, silver) filling. Dr. Ben also explained that silver fillings had been shown to expand minutely, creating hairline cracks in the tooth…this simply added to the damage done by the cavities.
Some folks would hate seeing the x-rays, or would find the pictures of their teeth unpleasant to look at. Personally, I like being involved/aware of what is being done, and I think it helps a bit with my anxiety about the process. I also like high-tech gadgets, and digital cameras that go inside the mouth are kind of neat 🙂 I found the dental chair very comfy as well…and when they leaned it all the way back to check a couple of things, I discovered they also have a TV on the ceiling for patients to watch…
So, I’m booked in for preliminary work and a temporary crown on August 16th. I *might* get in on August 9th, the day before Chris and I go to the airshow- they tell me it will only take an hour and a half and I’ll be “fine” afterwards. But for some reason, the character Steve Martin played in Little Shop of Horrors keeps running through my mind…