16 December 2008

Dentist Visit Today

Earlier today, in the afternoon, I went to see my dentist, who also happens to be a friend I've known since freshman year in college. She ended my appointment by saying that I had done what others often take 5 appointments to get done. To be specific, I had two fillings and a deep cleaning in all four quadrants of my mouth. I was in that dentist chair for nearly two hours.

First, let me say, my dentist is very knowledgeable and highly skilled. She also has all the latest gadgets and technology. I think she's a very good dentist and I generally enjoy going in for my appointments.

Today was tough. I generally don't like the idea of getting fillings. When I was kid, I didn't get any cavities, so it wasn't until I was an adult, and not until the past few years, that I started to get pits and cavities, and finally the need for fillings. Really, it's not the fillings part, it's the drilling part. My dentist has to drill the cavity to carve away any unhealthy bits and create a shape that holds the filling in place. That drilling action is preceded by anesthesia shots and some fairly unpleasant devices put in place to keep my mouth open and such. Then the high pitch drilling commences and I try very hard to relax.

Fortunately, my dentist advised me ahead of time to bring my iPod, which I did. At first, I thought about putting a playlist together of songs I enjoy, which would hopefully distract me during the procedure. Instead of getting around to compiling such a playlist, I decided to use my collection of synthesizer meditation music from Chuck Wild, called Liquid Mind. It was the right choice. During various segments of the procedure, I intentionally focused on the music, which allowed some degree of relaxation.

After the fillings came the deep cleaning. This was the treatment for my teeth and gums which provided the most needed help. For many years, I have not sufficiently flossed, sometimes going weeks or even months without flossing. However, some months ago, I got religion on flossing, after experiencing some episodes of gum pain. I've been reliably flossing twice a day, sometimes even three times a day, for the past few months, and I've definitely made progress with the health of my teeth.

Unfortunately, some gunky buildup deep down in my gums with some of my rear teeth, had amassed to an extent beyond the effect of flossing, leading to bacterial activity, and some gum disease problems. This deep cleaning appointment was intended to help address this, to at least knock out the buildup, and hopefully, hopefully, avoid having to escalate matters with a periodontist surgeon.

My dentist used multiple high tech instruments and really got into getting a lot of crap out from under my gums. It was not pleasant. It frankly did hurt at points, but I was able to bear it, barely. The music helped. My neck was quite sore, despite the very supportive bean bag pillow. But I knew I really needed this treatment, badly.

I made it through the deep cleaning and got up from the dentist chair with a numb mouth, a sore neck, and little control of my lips and especially one of my cheeks. As the sensation returned to my mouth over the following hours, a subtle soreness settled into my teeth and gums from the treatments.

It's now my turn to keep my teeth and gums clean and healthy. I'm ready to switch on my Sonicare, to unfurl some mint waxed floss, and also use the sideways brushes for between my teeth.