June 11, 2009

Fill Me In

My fantastic dentist Shell Ragner recommended that I have one of my two silver fillings replaced with modern materials. It was cracked and causing me pain and he predicted. Bad news down the line.

Going to the dentist doesn't scare me because growing up my grandfather was our dentist. I associate good feelings with being in the chair and even hearing the drill. However, I have had some very traumatic experiences with getting my teeth pulled. For some reason my baby teeth wouldn't fall out on their own and on one unforgetable occassion I had ten teeth pulled at once. On that visit the doctor used Novacaine injections and it was so painful I screamed and my friend Lori, sitting in the waiting room could hear my cries.

So, when my current dentist said filling I said, no Novacaine. The dental hygienist shook her had and said don't do that. The dentist said good idea, the current filling is hardly below the enamel and you'll probably just feel a little push.

I made a date a month out for my return visit, which was today. Over that four weeks I barely gave it any thought. Then today I was telling Rene about my impending appointment and he proceeded to share his frightening story about getting cavities replaced and how he couldn't get enough Novacaine. Oh great, clearly the dentist and I were being dillusional. But then I recalled that my last filling, which I had done in Houston, was filled without painkiller.

Arriving at the dentist this morning for my appointment I was very quiet, working on staying calm. I was dead set on going without the injection. We got down to business. He drilled for about 60 seconds and I did feel some jolts of pain but I had actually been experiencing those with that tooth for a while. Clearly this replacement was needed. When it was done the dental hygeinist said I was very brave. My next question was, "do I have any more silver fuillimgs in my mouth and can we replace those now too?"

I am very lucky that I've only had three cavities in my life. I'm sure this reflects on my grandfather's good dentistry, my parents teaching me good hygein and those blasted floride treatments we took as kids in school. Memories of cold weird tasting liquid that we swooshed I'm our mouths for 60 seconds and then spat back into the paper dixie cup. It was worth the grossness.

Needless to say we went for replacement of the second filling. Now I kept thinking that I was pushing my luck with the lack of pain. In fact, this little tiny filling was very painful to remove and I kept inching my head up in the chair trying to get away from the drill. The dentist practically had to chase me but we got it done in about 30 seconds! Yippie, no more silver in my mouth. Then and there I swore I would brush seven times a day to avoid future cavities.

As an added bonus the dentist charged me half price on the second filling since he already had all the equipment ready and it was so quick. Now the dental hygeinest was pretty much blown away by my bravery and said as much.

Each time I got my teeth pulled as a kid my mom would take me out for ice cream or McDonalds, a real non-Kosher treat. There I would be with a numb face, chewing happily on a fish sandwich, forgetting the trauma of the pull. In the comfort food tradition I am sitting here writing this post in Julie's Cafe, eating an oatmeal raisin cookie and sipping my roobios chai latte and breathing deep.