Sunday, March 29, 2009

Facing Up

I'm a person with many phobias. I'm afraid of heights, enclosed spaces, small rodents, social situations and/or crowds, poisons (real and imagined), prescription drugs (I always imagine I'll suffer from all the side effects), feeling high and needles. These last two take on particular importance because I desperately need to go to the dentist!

My mouth has become a dentist's dream. I'm guessing one dentist could use the money from all the work I need to send one child through four years of college or to buy a yacht! I have more cavities than I can count, two broken teeth, two more that have already fallen out and I'm in need of a root canal for one of my lower molars.

I haven't been to a dentist for...gosh, I don't know how long it's been. One of the main reasons I haven't been is because of finances. It simply would cost too much. However, that's not the only reason. During those times over the past few years when we did have enough money to get some of the work done, I chose not to go because of my fears.

Years ago when I did have dental insurance, I had to be in abject agony before I could get up the nerve to make an appointment. I remember one time back in the 80s when I got up and walked out because I couldn't handle the idea of the Novocaine shot. My dentist was very easygoing and he didn't give me a lot of grief. I eventually made it back in to get a root canal or two and several crowns.

On another occasion, he suggested nitrous oxide to help calm my anxiety. Initially, I was up for the idea...that is until I started breathing it in! My head started to feel like it was swimming in clouds and that is a feeling I do not like at all. So, I knocked the cup off my face and told him to stick a needle in my mouth.

My best experience at a dentist appointment was the time they knocked me out with general anesthesia to pull two teeth. One minute I had an IV in my arm and the next I woke up with gauze in my mouth. Unfortunately, that type of procedure is fairly expensive and is not favored for filling cavities and the like because of potential complications due to the breathing tube. Darn.

But the time is growing short until I have to face this fear again. For all my various issues, I've developed an infection in one of my molars and it has become extremely temperature sensitive. My diet is suffering as I've had to switch to softer foods and, frankly, I try to avoid eating as much as possible.

So, sometime in the next week or two my anxiety level is going to shoot through the roof because, for health reasons, I can't put this off any longer. I just hope I can muddle through it.


  1. Hey, you could pretend you're someone else. Like in a play.

  2. Yes, I dread it too. If it wasn't because I married someone who's had a bi-yearly check up ever since he's had teeth, I would be in your situation.

    I usually close my eyes the moment I sit, so as to never see the damned needle.

    I've gotten used to it after so many procedures by now, though. I never thought I would, but I have.

    Good luck with all that. I sucks, man.

  3. Well, it looks like I may not get to go to the dentist after all. I found out that over 50% of the dentists in our state don't accept Medicaid (because the payment rate is so low). There's only one clinic in my area that accepts Medicaid patients AND they aren't accepting new ones for, at least, 2 months. So, I'm not sure what my next move is.


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