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cleaning and filling

Went to the dentist yesterday. I had my six-month cleaning and a filling performed. Things are good and not-so good in the teeth department. The good is that this cleaning was a lot less painful compared to the last one, so my teeth are getting stronger. The bad is that I need more fillings and yet another crown. This will be happening in May. I was also informed that the enamel is breaking down along my gum line. As such I was given a prescription for a gel that I'll be picking up today to strengthen that enamel.

While this sounds horrific, it isn't. First of all, I have absolutely no tooth pain whereas I used to something fierce. Second, I am actively taking care of my teeth (I do in fact floss while most people never bother doing that). Third, and most important, I do know people in my age group that have teeth so bad that they'll probably be wearing dentures before then turn 45. Possibly earlier. I won't, because it won't be required.

Unfortunately my parents did not enforce brushing very much when I was little. And it wasn't until my 20s that I really started paying attention to my teeth - only because I was in so much pain. Over the years I've had two root canals (neither of which were painful at all by the way), had my teeth drilled more times than I can remember (yes, with smoke coming out of the mouth and all), had crowns put on, all the wisdom teeth pulled, had tons of fillings and so on.

I can remember when the dentist used to scare the hell out of me, but not anymore. Any fear is nothing compared to the pain you'd feel if you don't go.

For example, yesterday I had to get a shot of Novocain in order for the filling work to be performed. Some people freak out when they see the needle, then freak out more when they feel the needle. I don't. Those freak-out feelings left me long ago. Maybe I get a momentary feeling of panic, but that's quickly squashed with the thought of, "If I don't do this, I will feel pain later. Relax."

For anybody out there with teeth issues, this is my recommendation:

If you have dental insurance, go. Find a local dentist in your area that accepts your coverage, schedule it, do it. Pay your minimum deductibles, and go as many times as you have to. Take the earliest possible appointments and get anything wrong with your teeth fixed. Don't think twice about this. Don't put it off. If the dentist scares the hell out of you, get over it.

If you're in my age group, that being between ages 27 and 35, and feel any sort of pain in the teeth now, here's what will happen if you don't take care of it:

You won't be able to bite into anything, drink anything cold or drink anything hot without feeling searing pain. The only thing you'll be able to do is eat soft foods and drink lukewarm fluids. You will not be able to any sweets. Chocolate will be something that can only be eaten if you can tolerate the pain that goes along with it because of your neglected teeth. Trust me, I know, I was there back in my 20s.

I can bite into apples and not worry about it. I can eat chocolate and not fear any pain that will come - because there isn't any. I can drink fluids as hot or cold as I like. I can eat things like cashews and peanuts and not worry about teeth that may crack because of that.

If you can't do one or more of the above and/or pop pills just to kill pain that comes from your teeth, you need to go to the dentist. Now. Yes, you'll hate it at first because it will be a long tedious process of fixing all your teeth problems. But when it's done, you'll be very thankful, believe me. I am.

091118

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