So the other day I posted about a dream I had, which was unusual because I don’t typically remember the specifics of my dreams. It does happen from time to time though, and often it seems I dream that my teeth have fallen out, are in the process of falling out, or just anything terrible involving my teeth. Usually this results in several days of intense dental hygiene. So I have this terrible fear of my teeth rotting out of my head, but I also have a fear of dentists (as illustrated in the video).

My recollection of dentists

Apart from the pain your likely to experience during a visit to the dentist’s office, there’s the guilt for not brushing enough or the right way, or flossing, or drinking / eating too much junk food, or perhaps you could find something else to chew with because you’re getting these dirty.

Upon entering my “adult” life I never really felt an urgency to see a dentist for all the reasons I mention above. What’s worse, the longer I didn’t see a dentist the more ashamed I became not having seen a dentist. I certainly didn’t want any dentists to find out.

Well, Wednesday evening one of my nightmares came true. I was eating Taco Bell and as if that wasn’t horrific enough, something felt not quite right about half way through my tacos. Initially I thought maybe a bit of taco shell had lodged itself in between my teeth, but it didn’t take long to figure out that in fact a portion of one of my teeth had broken off! The jig was up. I was going to have to find a dentist, beg their forgiveness and see if they could fix my tooth.

Since the rest of my family (who do not share my dental anxiety) are between dentists, my wife (bless her) scheduled an appointment for me yesterday with a dentist based purely on proximity with my house. This turned out to be Dr. Jacqueline Butler-Mitchell at Integrity Dental Care. I prepared myself, as best I could, for what I was certain would be news that all my teeth were damaged beyond repair they’d have to go. That’s not how things turned out.

Apart from the shock that I’ve not been to a dentist in something like 20 years, Dr. Butler-Mitchell and her staff were extremely nice to me and did their best to put me at ease after I’d explained my anxieties. They couldn’t make the cleaning equipment run without that terrible high pitched scream, but other than that the cleaning process was not entirely uncomfortable. It also turns out that dentistry has made some advances in the last 20 years. Who knew?

Apart from being a bit funkified, it looks like I may only have one cavity. The doc wanted to wait until my cleaning was done to be sure. My broken tooth is going to need a crown and possibly a root canal. I have to wait until next Wednesday for a specialist to run some tests that will determine how close the nerve is to the broken part of the tooth. I’m sure neither of those procedures will be pleasant, but so far I’m feeling much better about my perception of dentistry. Hopefully things go well next Wednesday and I’ll be able to schedule regular cleanings, eliminating (or at least easing) two of my fears in one swoop.