Friday, 15 August 2008

Fear...

I am terrified of dentists.

This is a fact which completely confuses my family... they know my fascination with all things medical, the fact that I've been conscious during the last few major leg operations I had (I react very badly to general anaesthesia) - and that I wanted to watch what they were doing... I have cheerfully observed surgeons cutting suspect lumps from my body (the smell of cauterised human flesh is quite unique) and I have no problem with injections...

...until I see a dentist. Then I am reduced to a quivering wreck. I particularly hate the injections into the gum... but I can't possibly have treatment without the local anaesthetic.

I was so frightened on one occasion, I bit the dentist. I maintain that it was his fault... he didn't move his fingers fast enough!

As a result, my mouth is a bit of a mess. I only go to the dentist when I have no alternative, when the pain of toothache overcomes the fear of the chair. So I always need treatment, which is usually complicated and, well, painful and unpleasant... which reinforces the fear...

Anyway, I lost a filling or two many months ago. By diligent brushing of the teeth, I managed to stave off the inevitable for quite some time, but the holes got bigger, and there are gaps between the remaining fillings and my teeth... and it hurts. I've put up with fairly constant toothache for about a week, but last night I couldn't sleep and my whole head was throbbing.

I did an internet search for a dentist near me, and rang round to see if I could be slotted in as an emergency case. I judge a dentist by the quality of their receptionist - I'm in no fit state to judge anything once I'm in the chair - and I picked a dentist close to me whose receptionist sounded soothing and reassuring. The only appointment slot was for 2:45pm...

...and may God have mercy on my soul... *whimper*

UPDATE: I went. The dentist tapped a few teeth. Then he prescribed antibiotics and painkillers. And I have to go back for possible root canal work. I want to die... preferably before Monday...

18 comments:

Redtabby said...

Oh, Mac, I understand completely; I have a dread of dentists, too. Courage, my dear, courage.

truthfinder said...

Mac, I will keep you in my prayers also, especially on Monday. I used to be SO afraid at the dentist's (bad, bad experience as a child). Telling you to "offer it up" is not helpful, I'm sure; I don't want to sound like one of Job's comforters. I DID find that prayer during the session made it more bearable, and using the breathing techniques I learned for natural childbirth was very helpful. (Though I'd rather deliver a baby than have my teeth worked on!) Oh, and if you can put something pungent, like a menthol salve or peppermint oil under your nose, chances are the dental office "smell" won't get to you as much. My first root canal was over a series of THREE appointments, which only meant more torment for a longer time. My current dentist is more merciful and more skillful, and didn't make me come so many times. (He's also a parishioner, and his fees are very reasonable.) If you can just get through this, trust me, you'll feel better than you have for a long time. Dental infections can send NASTY bacteria to sinuses, heart and kidneys. I look at my dental "maintenance" appointments as exercise and body building. We all have our sticking points. I've never had a driver's license: panic ensues when I get behind the wheel. I'm working on it --- pray for me , too, please. :-) Rosemary

ukok said...

You don't want to see the inside of my mouth. Ever. Hate. Hate. Hate going to the dentist.

The only thing i can do for you is to offer prayer for you....

oh yeah....

and direct you to

THIS

RJW said...

If your toothache is anything like the one I had once, the root canal will be heavenly. Compared to the throbbing, a root canal is a piece of cake. Let us know.

gemoftheocean said...

I agree with rjw. I've had root canal two or three times. BOTH easier than the 1st dental visit of my life which was with a "children's dentist" who should have been working on very small children's teeth as I picked up a dental terror due to the combination of his loud voice, hairy arms, slow drill, and by today's standards very antiquated equipment.

Now they have fast drills, and there's drugs, baby....lots and lots of vicodin for the asking. Make sure the vicodin fairy visits you afterwards.

[I'd prefer root canal to getting a filling done, don't ask me why, it's just "so."]

Seriously if you have an ipod or walkman, take that along. I've never had fear of the needle, and if this dentist does it right you won't feel much of anything.

Think of how much LESS pain you'll be in afterwards. Stay nice and still so he can get the work done as quickly as possible.

RJW said...

And I love nitrous oxide. Big deep breaths. Karen, I remember the "fine" old drills. I was never offered drugs when little. I just squeezed the living snot out of the arm rests. One time a dentist just deadened it. Bang! Never looked back. Bring on the needle! (After the gas, please.)

ukok said...

My top tip for dentist visits...which i forgot to mention earlier. Is to pray the Our Father or Hail Mary, like a chant throughout the whole thing. I have never yet finished the our Father....because i would get distracted, because i find it hard to breath when the dentist has his hands in my mouth for long... with having asthma...so i have to keep starting over. But it gives a focus. It really is offering it up!

truthfinder said...

ukok, that was just plain HATEFUL! I've seen "Little Shop" a number of times, but simply CANNOT sit through the Steve Martin dentist bit. Even though they are PERFECTLY FINE, I want you to know you made MY teeth hurt. Now, don't you think you should apologize to Mac? :-) Rosemary

Mac McLernon said...

Ukok... that was in very poor taste... positively sadistic... but I laughed like a drain (from behind the sofa!)

RJW and Karen, I think you're plain certifiable!

Having said that, my SD has just informed me that going to the dentist is a splendid penance: a real way of participating in the sufferings of Christ. Comparing a visit to the dentist to crucifixion doesn't strike me as the best way to reassure a nervous person... however, I have been advised to reflect on the writings of St. Alphonsus Liguori - particularly his stuff on hell - and "offer it up"

*whimper*

gemoftheocean said...

Mac, tell Fr. Tim he's out to lunch. ;-D At least be grateful you won't have to do it upside down like St. Peter.

Bring ibprofin (sp!) with you and hove your route planned to the pharmacy. I think "your people" call it the "chemists."

Seriously, the only thing wrong with root canal is it's hard to breathe....make sure your sinuses are clear so you can breathe through your nose easily and you should be fine.

put a copy of the said rosary on your ipod and play it while he's working away.

Karen

Mac McLernon said...

Mac, tell Fr. Tim he's out to lunch.

Heheheheh

I have had a few root canal fillings, and I had a headache for a week after the pummelling the last dentist gave me... I think she was drilling for oil!

The chemist is next door but one to the dentists' surgery

I have ibuprofen coming out of my ears at the moment. It isn't having much effect. I'd really prefer something with a little more of a kick...

like heroin...
;-)

(I have "mainlined" diamorphine on quite a few occasions after major surgery - patient controlled analgesia pumps really are the greatest invention on earth! Shame it's not available for toothache!)

gemoftheocean said...

Seriously, have you had vicodin before? I swear by it for killer pains.

Not something to be fooled with lightly, but that should take care of what ails in the "Acute pain" department.

Karen
[who normally has to be cajoled to take aspirin which I consider "a drug."]

Mac McLernon said...

Not sure what vicodin is... I'll get back to you on that!

Mac McLernon said...

Oh, ok... the UK equivalent is codydramol. I've had that before - it's a mix of dihydrocodeine and paracetamol. Only available on a doctor's prescription (not sure about dentists here... different rules!) and anyway, I'm extremely wary of paracetamol as it has a very narrow therapeutic window and very high toxicity... It's really nasty stuff.

(I did some pharmacology as part of my degree... ignorance is probably bliss...)

Dymphna said...

I too fear the dentist. It's not the pain so much.. I don't what it is but my mouth is also a mess and I just won't go until it's so bad that I can't see straight. Intersting enough, St. Apollonia is my birthday saint.

gemoftheocean said...

Ignorance is bliss and so is vicodin.
It's definitely a prescription drug here. Aren't UK dentists allowed to write prescriptions?

Now darvon....oh, wait, that's the wonder drug they gave me many years ago when I had my gall bladder out. [It had stopped working just before thanksgiving one year I was 26 - it was trying to kill me so they took it out TG day, I was the only surgery that day! I was ticked off because I missed TG dinner. Juice and cottage cheese doesn't cut it.]

George said...

Oh come on Mac, it's just an itsy bitsy little tooth! You're made of sterner stuff, MULIER FORTIS - remember, you need to live up to this TITLE! A couple of double gin and tonics might make a difference - before treatment of course, then a couple afterwards!

PS - there appears to be another George (saw his strange comments on Fr Ray's blog). This may sound confusing but that George is NOT ME! I have left a comment with Fr Ray asking the other George to change his blogging name slightly to prevent confusion, you know add a prefix like St, Boy or Sir.

None of which helps you with your toothache and dental visit, but at least it might take your mind off it for a couple of minutes. When you are in that dental chair just think of some of the funniest comments on Mulier Fortis Blog, laugh out loud and bite the dentist. That'll teach those sadists to get real jobs and stop terrorising simple folk with their implements of torture and Black & Decker cordless drills!

Mac McLernon said...

It's alright, George... the other George hasn't registered his profile name: you have, so your name comes up in blue, and we can click on it and see you've been registered since January 2008 (now you see why I was keen for you to register...)

But I do appreciate the diversionary tactics. Glad you think that the blog is so amusing!!

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