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Updated ...

Abstract Thoughts has been updated with Back from the War with Loot - which is all about my dentist visit and what's wrong with me.

September 18, 2008
Back From the War with Loot
Some of you are well aware of my love hate relationship with dentists. As in, I love to hate them because I have been terrified of them since childhood. Having uncaring, rough military dentists will do that to a girl. I've had braces, head gear, teeth yanked out and a lot of large hands shoved into my small mouth. Very little of it done with any sort of bedside manner other than "Lay back and open wide."

So, two weeks ago, when the pain in my jaw started, I ignored it. I slept on it funny. You know, nothing permanent. Two weeks later, my jaw still hurts. Every time I yawn, I have shooting pains. My lower jaw aches. I'm popping ibuprofen like candy. I admit, reluctantly, there is something wrong with me. I willingly agree to go to the dentist when yawning causes pain all way to my ear and my ear ball.

Being a wuss and having a husband willing to coddle me (the first time), I went to the dentist today. The office is owned by, run by and staffed by women. All women, all the time. I've never had a female dentist before today. You can tell the office is decorated by a woman with a strong sense of taste - lots of burgundy and grays and blacks. Very nice. Not girly. Strong enough for men to not be uncomfortable there.

Jeff introduces me and leaves. They are all nice and somewhat amused that the gothic horror writer is terrified of dentists until I mention "military dentists" as part of my background and then they all get the same "Oh... now we understand" look.

I was there for 2.5 hours. I had an exam, fitting for a night guard and a light cleaning. They determine my jaw pain is from unconsciously grinding my teeth at night. They asked me if I'd been under stress lately. I laughed and simply said "Yes." So, now, a night guard three nights a week.

But wait, there's more.

Since it's been about 4 years since the last dentist, I have 2 small cavities to deal with and some "deep" cleaning to do because, you know, things aren't the best in my mouth. THEN, after that, they want to yank out the last of the military metal filled fillings (I thought those bastards were already all gone) and give me new high-tech ones.

It was at this point that the dentist, after looking at me and all that had been done asked, "Is there any way I can convince you to consider braces for your overbite?"

It took all my willpower not to run screaming from that chair with visions of metal bands, wire and head gear tearing off after me. I managed, "Not any time soon." Thankfully, she accepted that. And maybe it was the look of horror on my face, too.

Then, once again, I was thankful for Microsoft insurance. All this planned out work to be done by the end of the year, is thousands of dollars worth and Jeff and I will pay about 10% of it. Pretty nice deal.

By the time I was done, I felt like I had been to the war. However, when I left, they gave me a huge gift package of stuff. It included:

  • A carrying bag
  • Special "oral rinse" for my gums - guaranteed to taste nasty
  • A toothbrush
  • A keychain flashlight
  • Two travel tubes of toothpaste
  • One lip balm
  • Two travel size floss things
  • One compact mirror
  • A package of "mini-mint" breath mints

    Not bad, eh? Better still, Jeff took me out to lunch afterwards and was very sweet to me.
  • Comments

    ( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
    Sep. 18th, 2008 10:43 pm (UTC)
    I did the same thing - avoided the dentist for years - but your friendly neighborhood civilian dentist is much better than our prior military brat experiences.

    If you have the spiffy coverage you should get braces while they're covered.

    Sorry - I know you didn't want to hear that.
    Sep. 18th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC)
    Bite your tongue! I'm just now getting used to the idea that I have to go to the dentist at all and already have two appointments for November! Gah! Let me work up to the idea of an almost forty year old woman having braces.
    Sep. 18th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
    Sorry, you're talking -to- a forty year old man with them. Weren't cheap, either.
    (Deleted comment)
    Sep. 18th, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)
    I cannot have invisaligns. If I could, I would be more interested but for what I need correcting, invisaligns will not work.
    Sep. 18th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
    I had the jaw thing happen when I was in 12th grade (college admissions will do that to a girl). Ended up with the night guard and a few trips to the physical therapist for jaw massage. That part was nice! The therapist suggested that part of my problem might be that, as a sufferer of serious nasal allergies, I was a mouth-breather and my tongue had become to muscular (being forced too often from it's natural position against the palette) to fit properly in my mouth, thus leading to the jaw pain. Well, it's a theory.

    Anyway, I still suffer jaw pain from time to time, and it's nearly always when I'm stressed. I don't think it's ever been as serious as that first time, though, but at times it is so constant that I almost cease to notice it.
    Sep. 18th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
    Okay...you can skip to the next paragraph right now and ignore this til later but...braces don't have to be metal anymore. They have nifty plastic ones! Granted, you have to go in every 2-3 weeks to get a new one...but no metal!!!

    Okay, now that you've skipped that, good on you for finally going and getting that done! I'm glad it wasn't TMJ!
    Sep. 18th, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
    Yep...feared dentists....I actually feared needles. So much, I had fillings put in without the novacain. Just had to raise my arm to tell the doc when the pain was so bad it would make me flinch and screw up his drilling.

    Then I got arthritis and water on the knee...had the knee drained with a local anesthetic....big a$$ needle...much bad needle things.

    I now no longer fear the novacain needle in the least.
    Sep. 18th, 2008 11:20 pm (UTC)
    Glad you found modern dentists. Sounds kind of like my dentists' office actually (Brookside Dental in Bellevue) only they also have a coffee/tea/juice bar in the waiting room & lots of pottery and art glass. All the sinks are handmade, for example.

    And yeah, love that Microsoft insurance. All but one of my childhood fillings got replaced & my bite guard made while I was a 'softie.
    Sep. 19th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
    When I was little, my parents tried to take me to a military dentist. The room was sterile and cold. The doctor and nurses were hostile. I was crying and screaming for my mommy. That's all I wanted was my mommy to be there and hold my hand. They snapped at me that it wasn't sterile and to stop blubbering. I cried harder. They practically *threw* me at my mother as they told her derisively that they couldn't work with me.

    My mother took me to a civilian dentist after that who let my mom hold my hand. When he had to give me novacaine, he wiggled my cheek so I didn't feel the needle go in.

    Military dentists are, I'm fairly certain, demons sent from hell to torture humans on earth.

    I love my current dentist. He's still very about the business, but he's attentive and always does what he can to make the patient as comfortable as one can be with someone else's hands in your mouth.
    ( 9 comments — Leave a comment )