I have two molars which needed root canal work done on them about eight years ago. This was due to tiny bits having broken off them, and because I am petrified of going to the dentist’s, both deteriorated to a state where neither could be saved. To the tune of over £1,000 for both. Both fillings are loose, plus I have another tooth now where a bit’s been broken off. Of course, being pathetic little me, I only went now that I really had to – when one of the root canal teeth fillings comes out almost every time I eat something (i.e. it comes out a LOT), the other heading the same way and the hole in the broken off tooth so large I can stick my tongue into it. OK, not all of my tongue, but I’d say the hole is a good two or three millimetres in diameter.
Now, all these sorry tooth sagas needn’t have gone that way. Each broken tooth, had I gone straight away, would probably just have meant a simple (and painless) filling done swiftly and I would have been on my merry way. However, now it’s a different story. Both root canal fillings need replacing (as opposed to ‘fastening’), meaning they’re going to drill off the tops of those teeth and have full crowns fitted. The broken off tooth seems fine, as far as root canal work goes – seems it’s not on the nerve yet (and I’m not in pain, which is also a good sign), so should just be a straight forward filling.
The hygenist wants to see me and no wonder – I can’t remember the last time I flossed. I’m a dirty, rotten, non-flossing tooth floozy.
I turned up already feeling dizzy and although the cheerful and very lovely eastern European receptionist chattered away about quitting smoking (she’s just quit and recommended Champix – I did take a mental note so might just look into it), by the time the equally lovely dentist called me in, I was feeling sick and faint and was shaking. Because she ran out of time checking out my terrible gnashers, luckily any work involving the needle (my greatest fear next to spiders) has been booked in for next week. I had steeled myself for the possibility that I might have had to face the needle today, so I felt quite relieved at having it postponed a little. I find it easier to prepare myself mentally when I know what’s coming, so it’s a good thing.
For the time being, the Lovely Dentist (whose eyelashes I couldn’t figure out being real or false – amazing) cemented back the super loose filling and sent me off.
At the end of my appointment they rattled off the costs for me. With an increasing sense of doom I saw several pairs of shoes and one semi decent handbag float away from me on dreamy, tooth shaped little clouds. Oh well. Better to wear cheaper shoes than end up with dentures before I even hit 40, which I think I might do otherwise. The Scandinavian countries are known for their excellence in dental care, and I am the exception that proves the rule. Oh, they did ask if I wanted my teeth whitened. I smiled as sweetly as I could, palms still clammy and my heart still doing a bit of a tango, and said perhaps another time. Look, biatches, I’ll find some dodgy and radioactive treatment online, because at this rate I’ll be living off super noodles for a few months.
And the most ridiculous thing in all of this? TOTALLY avoidable, had I not been such a baby about it. It’s amazing what irrational fears and phobias can do to you – I know that I won’t even feel the needle, just like I know that no matter how huge and evil looking that spider in the living room was it can’t kill me, and just like I know that the chances of dying in an airplane crash are about as likely as being hit by a meteor (less likely, actually). I managed to turn my fear of flying around, so perhaps I can do the same with needles. And in particularly a dentist’s one, which is so thin you can barely even see the fucking thing!
Yes. That’s what I need to do. Next Thursday I’m going to turn up calm, at ease and focus on how painless and easy it actually is (something I always realise afterwards anyway, but then somehow ‘forget’). With the flying I just ended up feeling so fed up with feeling so anxious and stressed every time I just decided that enough was enough, and since then it’s been fine. Well, I kind of forced myself by saying it out loud: ENOUGH! Then declared to the world that from there on out Anna was no longer scared of flying, hoping I’d convince myself in the process. And it kinda worked. OK, it’s never going to be my favourite thing any more than I’m likely to start getting a bunch of tattoos, but hey – it’s all in the mind, and the mind is an amazing tool. In fact, it’s only over the past few years I’ve started to learn just how much.