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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Like McReadie, Her Tooth Loses Its Nerve

I don't like dentists. It's one of my (very) many long standing anxieties. Traditionally, I've gone in for avoidance. This, as we have learnt, is not a good way of dealing with anxieties. It's also not a terribly good way of dealing with your dental health.

Fortunately, I seem to have been blessed with fairly robust teeth. As of 3 January 2006 - almost twenty seven years after I arrived on this earth - I had never had any work done on my teeth. I was rather proud of this record. Especially since I hadn't seen a dentist in about ten years.

Now I have had dental pain at times over the years. Jaw ache. And a tooth I was always nervous about following a blow to it some fifteen years ago. This little tooth occasionally gave me pain. But said pain came and went, and so I was able to maintain my avoidance of dentists.

Sadly, this record of cowardice was ended yesterday.

On Boxing Day, my tooth started to hurt. Didn't think too much of it. A week later when it was still hurting - and when there appeared to be swelling beneath the tooth - I couldn't think of anything but it.

As a result, I found myself yesterday paying a visit to the dental accident and emergency department at Guy's Hospital, wondering about whether multiple tooth extractions would be necessary. And how likely it is that a young non-smoking, non-drinking individual could have developed mouth cancer.

There was waiting, there were x-rays, and then there was the verdict. My little tooth, knocked some fifteen years ago, had been struggling. It had, in fact, been slowly dying, and an abscess or cyst growing slowly under the tooth. That's what was causing the pain.

So time for a little root canal, carried out by a lovely and kind student dentist (I was somewhat relieved to find out he qualifies in July 2006 and wasn't someone who'd only started a week ago). I coped, and felt rather proud as I wandered out of the hospital with a numb bottom lip and drool running down my chin.

I may look like crap, I thought, but at least I'm crap that can visit a dentist.

So now I have a tooth that has lost its nerve. This seems strangely appropriate. I have a temporary filling in there, have to find a local dentist, have the root canal done again to try and get rid of the remaining nastiness beneath the tooth, and then have a permanent filling put in.

So my record of perfect dental health is gone. But my record of dentist avoidance is gone too - and, to be honest, I think that's a good thing.


  • At 11:34 AM, Blogger Fizzwhizz said…

    Hey - and welcome back btw - I don't know if this counts as avoidance, but there are specialist dentists who deal with people who are very anxious. They give you intravenous Valium ( and on the NHS!!! Yay!). My friend went to see one and, although the receptionist seemed to delight in making her experience as traumatic as possible, once she got in the chair apparently the actual experience was fine, and she felt very relaxed about the whole thing (not surprisingly, given that she was receiving, as I have mentioned, intravenous Valium).


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