Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gratitude 7: Dentists

I went to the dentist today. It's like a badge of some sort to me to be able to go to the dentist and not expect to have any cavities. But last week I got knocked upside the head when my dentist said I had 3 small spots that he'd watch for the next time we met. Since we will be changing insurance in January, I'll also be changing dentists, so I figured I might as well have him fill the small cavities while I could.

(BTW - do you trust your dentist? Mine has never said in the last 6 years anything that makes me think he just likes to drill, fill, and bill. He's been really conservative with all our teeth, only deciding to do a filling when really necessary. I hate losing that trusting relationship.)

So, I went back today for my fillings. I hate, hate, hate having dental work done (not that anyone in this world loves it, but I don't mind other people's dental work as much as my own, truthfully.) I was nervous as I sat in green dentist's chair with lidocaine on a q-tip shoved in the edges of my mouth. As my mouth went progressively numb and then less numb, I started to worry about the needle. And then, my awesome dentist suggested that I do the fillings without a shot. He said they were so small and superficial he thought he could go super slow with the drill and be able to fill my cavities without numbing me. I thought about it and decided to do it. I really hate shots.

It worked out. I was done in about 20 minutes with only minor pain. Two of the fillings were completely painless and one I just felt in little bits. I still feel like I've lost a badge of honor (my last fillings were before I had children - I was in my early twenties for hell's sake!) but since I wasn't numb for hours afterward, it didn't feel quite as real that I'd just gotten a filling. I imagine that it's kind of like having a baby without an epidural - once it's over, it doesn't hurt anymore, and you don't have to have a nurse walk you to the bathroom to boot. (Not that I would know - but still. Being numb sucks, and so do needles.)

So today I'm grateful for my dentist. I'm sad I have to find a new one. And I have a question. Would you let your dentist drill on you just to avoid a needle stick?