Monday, February 18, 2008

Painful Memories

This week I had a final dental appointment before our move. It was sad, really. After 45 years, I have finally found an excellent dentist! My childhood memories of dental visits were always traumatic. Oh how I hated climbing up into that funky chair. After the initial "And how are we today" by the children's dentist, I knew pain would inevitably follow. Now when I was growing up, sweets were a rare thing. My sis and I only got candy at Halloween and maybe a handful of taffy at Christmas. No exaggeration, it's true. Yet my teeth are appalling. Not quite as horrifying as seeing metal mouth in a James Bond flick, but I assure you, I can count on one hand the number of teeth I have that do NOT have a filling or crown. My husband is the same way, although he has fewer fillings than I. One dentist told him once that he has good spit (saliva). What does that mean? Is there such a thing as good and bad spit?

Anyway, when I was 7 years old a dentist told my Mother and I that I would need braces. And would have to wear them for at least 2 years AND that I may need them when my permanent teeth come in. Really, no joking here, he really told us this.....

UHH, NO was my response. My teeth weren't crooked, I just had bad spit that made my teeth rot. OK, maybe it was the cheap inadequate toothpaste? Or the way I brushed my teeth? Whatever was causing the cavities, I KNOW it wasn't that my teeth were crooked! Needless to say, I didn't get the braces, thankfully, and we found ourselves a new dentist.

By the way, my mother also suffers from bad spit and lots of cavities, crowns and whatnot (she once had a gold tooth). My father was no exception either, he had a full set of falsies by the time he was 23. I blamed his bad teeth on the fact that he started smoking at the ripe old age of 13 and his family was very poor and couldn't afford check-ups for 10 children.

My son, has good spit. He has the best spit on the planet! He's going to be 25 soon and has not had one bad check-up (knock on wood and whatever else is around). EVER. No, not one cavity! How did that happen? Well, I'm not going to question a good thing! I am just so happy and overjoyed for him. He's been blessed with a wonderful set of teeth. Now let me tell you his routine (secret). Since he could eat solid food, he's had an apple everyday. Yeah, maybe an apple a day does keep the doctor/dentist away? When he was a baby, we had to give him fluoride drops every day and later he drank fluoridated water. He never had soda pop, still doesn't drink them. However, he had inherited my chocoholic gene.
Now, I made a comment about cheap toothpaste. Over the years, I think they've improved the formula. Not just the hype about whitening and blah, blah, blah. It's the paste or gel itself, way better than the stuff they used to pass off. Do you remember the stuff? It was like flavored paste that turns to foam, no substance whatsoever. And what was with that red tablet stuff we had to chew up in school? OOHH, it was horrible.

What made my dentist better than the rest was that I found him to be honest, firm yet caring. After all, he pulled 2 wisdom teeth for me 2 years ago (yeah, I'm "lucky" because I didn't have them out when I was 20, go figure. This is what my sis used to say to me all the time). He didn't "put me out" for this, no, just a local and yank, cracking sounds (my skull), yeah I could hear it all. And it's a little alarming when he says "hummm, I've never seen that before". He gave them to me as a memento. I have them in a tiny jar on my desk. Weird, I know. Now, when will those other 2 come in? UUGGGHH....

It's an experience I won't forget anytime soon, but I am still going to keep the teeth. My son had all 4 of his out about 3 weeks before I did. Maybe I was just waiting to have someone to go through it with me? My great dentist said that this was nothing, he had a patient who was in her 80's finally getting her wisdoms out. I wondered if the whole experience of hearing her teeth breaking away from your jaw shocked her so much it killed her or at least gives her nightmares? He also told me they sometimes can grow back? Is this possible? One dentist told me that if I haven't had my wisdoms out by now (I was only 25) then they weren't ever going to grow in. RIGHT, good-bye! Another quack.

Soon I will be on the hunt for a good dentist, maybe even a great one. At least I've had enough to know what to look for. In the meantime, keep brushing and flossing! :o)


Cascade Lily said...

Sandy you are ringing my bells here. I had a terrible experience when I was only about seven with our 'family dentist'. He used to slap me on the arm if I whimpered and tell me to grow up. He HURT us a lot too. Sadist. Anyway, I have a really great dentist now and SHE is fantastic!

Oh, and I have a mouth full of fillings too, where my next brother has none. Bizarre!

Sharon said...

Your descriptions actually made me squirm! I totally agree with you about dentists. I really hate having to go. I've had some really bad ones, and a few good ones. And, strangely, my sister is in the dental field! (she never had to have braces) I have to now find a new one. I hope I find a good one, and I hope you do too!

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

sorry to hear about your teeth woes. I've never heard of anyone putting braces on baby teeth - that's just crazy.

I've never had a cavity,knock on wood. My husband has a wisdom tooth growing in right now - started about a year ago.

fingers crossed your next dentist will be excellent.

søren said...

augh! I really need to find a dentist because i think i have a cavity and it's freaking me out. my mom has AWFUL teeth (she's English, does that explain it? they all have awful teeth) and has lots of false ones and has to have extra skin put on her gums and things.
I had eight million cavities filled when I was little and then I haven't had one in 20+ years.
And I WISH my mom had believed in braces, then I wouldn't have such a gappy mouth! :)
I think I missed that you are moving - where to?
I need to start keeping a log of my projects in some way - I have WAYYYY too many UFOs and half-ideas.
And I like your IKEA things - I'e never been to an IKEA, I need to go to one! I'm afraid I might go nuts! :)