Friday, July 11, 2008

Phobia Friday: Tooth #7

Oh, tooth #7. The fear hiding behind all my other fears. I almost don't even want to talk about it.

But here goes.

Tooth #7 has never been my favorite tooth. It was a peg-shaped tooth, never the robust square it should have been. It was discolored. It was unattractive.

Several years ago, I decided to do something about tooth #7, to take charge via cosmetic dentistry. I spent a good chunk of money having a porcelain veneer placed over tooth #7 and it became a lovely addition to my smile.

I thought I was done with tooth #7. Little did I know.

Last fall, I noticed tooth #7 was a little sensitive to hot and cold, so I informed my dentist at my semi-annual exam in October.

Aside: After neglecting my teeth all through college by not going to the dentist once, I had MAJOR dental drama and have since gone in for my twice yearly exams like clockwork.

The news was not good. I needed a root canal. I was bummed, but not overly concerned. I'd had a root canal before. BFD, I can handle this, thinks I.

I was so freaking wrong.

What I didn't tell you fair Internets is that I had an appointment with my regular dentist the following day to have FOUR cavities filled (thanks, Oscar) and at this appointment I told her I did not think I could bear going back to have the root canal finished. I was terrified.

My dentist, who I've been seeing for many year, agreed that if I was experiencing this kind of anxiety, it was best to just have tooth #7 extracted and have a dental bridge put in. I felt relief.

Until she told me the bridge prep was going to take an hour and a half. I panicked. Even though I've never suffered dental anxiety (shocking, I know) I knew I could not undergo another marathon dental procedure. I simply didn't have it in me.

Since the tooth wasn't particularly painful, I deiced to wait a couple of weeks until I got over my fears, as I was certain I would. A couple of weeks turned into a couple of months which turned into several months and has now been NINE MONTHS.

I actually cancelled my semi-annual cleaning in April because I couldn't bear to face her and the fact that I had this horrible, rotten, infected tooth #7 still hanging out in my mouth.

Now, my dental office is stalking me to come in for my cleaning. You think I'm kidding but they call every week, trying to reschedule. I just keep dodging them.

The truth is, I'm still to scared to have tooth #7 properly dealt with. And I'm afraid if the hygienist knocks the protective layer of plaque off of tooth #7, it'll start to hurt crazy bad and I'll have no choice but to take care of it. And clearly I'm all about avoiding the problem here.

Oh, and to make matters worse, because I'm pregnant I can't take any of the good anxiety relieving medications or nitrous oxide during my treatment, so all hope for avoiding a total dental freak out seems to be lost.

Nelson thinks I just need to call the dentist and have a sit down with her and explain my anxiety and that she can help me deal with it. She actually specializes in patients with dental anxiety, so she knows what she's doing. But I can't even seem to do that.

So, here I sit, me and my dirty teeth and funky tooth #7, frozen in terror. I've never liked tooth #7, but I just can't seem to let it go.


moo said...

I have severe dental anxiety and although I know I have several cavities that need to be filled ... I cannot bring myself to find a dentist, let alone go.

I am also afraid of the sheer COST in doing these procedures.

I feel your pain (literally)

Susanica said...

That dentist's office really does stalk you Jenni. I know because they called again on your cell when you and Oscar were over the other day. I've got no advice for you on dental anxieties, but I think Nelson makes a good point. Maybe you can paradigm shift and think of it as a visit to a spa that will make your whole mouth feel like new! Right ;-)