Dental Care

I went to the dentist yesterday for a long-overdue check-up. He was nice enough, but after the long drive, I didn’t appreciate the half-hour wait for my 9:30 appointment. It seems like an office shouldn’t already be 30 minutes behind that early in the day. I hate to imagine the scene for a 3:00pm appointment!
The dentist was nice enough and my teeth are in good shape. I had to get a full series of x-rays, which entailed 18 images or so, each which involved biting down on those awkward plastic pieces that force your mouth open too wide and then dig into the insides of your cheeks and roof of your mouth. Not fun. At least my teeth looked good, despite neglecting professional dental care for years. As I told the tech who took the images, I was fortunate to have routine preventative dental care as a child under the insurance my parents provided, but after I aged out after graduating high school, I didn’t have a means to get regular care. My sisters were developed enough to have their wisdom teeth extractable during high school; therefore, they went to a well-vetted oral surgeon and had the help and care post-operatively from mom and dad. I’ve always been a late bloomer with teeth. My wisdom teeth didn’t begin to appear until my mid-twenties. At that point, I was a poor graduate student in NYC so I had them extracted at NYU dental school, a haunting experience I never hope to replicate. I ended up having five, so after the first four (taken out in pairs) went so traumatically at the dental school, mom offered to pay for my fifth at a fancy, experienced facility along Central Park. That extraction was a comparative walk in the park. Some financial savings are just not worth the added problems…
Needless to say, I had no fears of anything dental-related until the botched extractions at the dental school, which were just done under two shots of Novocain. The real kicker was that the gum wound was stitched closed to my cheek, inadvertently I’m sure, so in the few days that followed, every time I tried to open my mouth to speak or yawn or eat, the thread was torn from my cheek and tugged at my gaping gums. I called the office and told them that this was my hunch and I was told there’s no way that happened and I needed to push through the discomfort and start eating and talking again. When that obviously went horribly, I went bleeding and crying back down to the lower east side to the dental school and begged for help. The impatient provider pried open my mouth, ripping the remaining stitches, and to his surprise, noted that indeed I was correct about the “mistake” with closing the wound. The memory still makes my arm hair stand up.
Nothing traumatic at all happened yesterday, although I do need to get an old sealant filled and replaced. He said perhaps it was a cavity, though I have no recollection of ever having one. It’s all the same to me, I just want to get it addressed before it’s an issue. He said the material has outlived its life expectancy and that years of expanding and contracting from temperature changes, it wears down and no longer serves its function. Hopefully my dental insurance will cover most of the replacement fees.
My mouth was a bit sore from being stretched and pulled around and the entire morning had elapsed by the time I got back home and returned to work. I feel behind on my projects. I have another appointment today, so I don’t foresee making up for missed time readily happening.
Last night was another way-too-hot-to-fall-asleep night. I ended up needing to double down on Benadryl in order to catch any sleep, but I’m hungover and cranky from all that sedative this morning. There’s always a price to pay. Nothing is without consequences. As I drowsily muddle through my day today, I’ll try to remember that taking the medicine was not beneficial because ultimately I am just as tired as if I had tossed and turned all night, plus I subjected my body to an unnecessary drug.

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