When it comes to my teeth I’m terrible.
I can do an OK job with my kids teeth, but my own… not so much. It’s easy to tell the kids that they need to floss and use a mouth rinse, but to actually do it myself is something that I never do. Don’t get me wrong, I brush every night but I know that there is more that I should be doing. In the past my dentist would always tell me to floss every night and I would promise to do so and then never do it.
Flossing is one of those things that you just don’t think about until you are sitting in the dentist chair. When you see the blood that you spit into the drain you start to think that maybe you should have listened a little better. Maybe that promise that you made to the dentist six months ago is something that you should have actually followed through with, but alas you didn’t.
After graduating college and moving out on my own, going to the dentist was one of the last things on my mind. I still brushed every night, but I didn’t visit the dentist for almost seven years. The truth is I was moving around a lot and never really settled down in any one place. Things like the dentist and the doctor were only places that I went when I NEEDED to go. My teeth were healthy and so was the rest of me, so there was now way that I was going to get checked unless I felt pain or thought that I was dying. Even then I would probably wait a couple of days.
After seven years not going to the dentist I surprisingly had no new cavities. But that thing that my mouth had were all of those metal fillings I got when I was a kid. Who knows what they were made of, probably lead or something mixed with Mercury. The dentist told me that he want to remove all of those old fillings and replace them with new porcelain ones to make my teeth look like new. I probably had about ten cavities from when I was a kid so this was no easy job. For the next five weeks I was in the dentist office getting my fillings replaced. Then on the last one the dentists discovered a lot of decay. So much so that a root canal was in order.
I had heard these stories about how root canals are painful, but this was surprisingly very easy. I think the pain that everyone talks about is the pain BEFORE you get the root canal. So another three weeks worth of going to the dentist was in order to do the root canal and place a crown on top of it. I almost felt like I lived at the dentist.
I was good about going to the dentist for a while, until I quit my job to be a stay at home dad. You see my dentist was all the way in New York City and living out in the suburbs of New Jersey just didn’t make it very convenient to go see him. I know that I should have found a dentist out where I lived, but again seeing a dentist was the last thing on my mind. Eventually three years passed and I decided to find a dentist. For the most part my teeth looked fine but there was one spot that they wanted me to keep an eye on. It was the same spot where my root canal was performed ten years ago. Since it wasn’t causing me any problems, they weren’t too concerned about it.
FOUR DAYS LATER my mouth began to ache like it has never ached before. The culprit? The same spot they pointed out to me in my X-ray. Had I not gone to the dentist earlier in the week, I might not have thought anything of it (or my mouth wouldn’t have ached in the first place) and I would most likely try to fight it off with an assortment of pain meds. But now? I’m going in to get the root canal checked out and possibly getting another performed next week. Depending on how that goes I might also have to my tooth yanked and get an implant. It’s a pain, but nothing like the pain I am in right now.
So the moral of the story is that you can either go to the dentist regularly and your teeth will be healthy, or you can stay away from the dentist and you will never know if they aren’t.