This week I had a dentist visit. It wasn’t that long ago that an appointment would be a pretty huge thing for me because I would have a horrible panic attack. I’ve had panic attacks at the dentist pretty much my entire adult life until not too long ago. I still wonder when the panic will come back, but I’m trying to stay optimistic about it.
I was a bit worried this time because I had some weird issues that turned out to be related to hurting my gums randomly. Everything will be fine and back to normal soon. It’s always so reassuring when the hygienist tells me that things are fine because then all the worst case scenarios can finally go away in my head. I still always worry that there is something that is missed and it will come back to haunt me at the next appointment, but I try to not think about that. I don’t want to spend the months between appointments worried. It’s bad enough to be worried the week or two before going in.
I’m still a bit boggled by how my panic issues have gone away. I know that my medications were supposed to make them worse and not better. But I’m such a medical weirdo in so many other ways so I guess it makes sense that I would have the opposite side effect. I try not to think about it too much and just try to stay grateful that I can finally have somewhat normal dentist appointments. For most people, going to the dentist is so routine and not something that they fear. I am trying to get back to that mindset.
I am lucky that the hygienist I see is pretty awesome. She and I chat and gossip during my appointment so that makes it a bit more fun. We are always updating each other on our lives and sharing crazy stories that have happened. She may be doing that just to distract me from everything, but I think she enjoys making my appointment a bit more fun too. She’s so used to seeing the bits of panic that still happen at appointments and she really does so much to try to make everything easier on me. And that includes giving me a heads up on anything she sees right at the beginning of the appointment.
This time, I mentioned to her the issues I was having and she took a look and told me that everything was fine. That’s better than all the horrible things that went through my head and were making me freak out a bit. But while she was doing the first glance at all my teeth, she did notice something that isn’t great. I’ve had a ton of dental work done. I genetically have bad teeth and have had to deal with issues for a long time. I’ve got lots of fillings, a couple of crowns, and some general issues. But all that dental work isn’t a permanent fix.
I haven’t had to have a crown replaced yet (I have had one fall off and need to be re-glued, but that’s different), but I’ve had pretty much all the fillings replaced at least once. Fillings usually last about 10 years and I think I’ve got a few that are older than that. Since I take good care of my teeth and go to the dentist 3 times a year, maybe I make mine last longer. But I know that they aren’t forever and eventually they need to be worked on again. I just had a filling replaced last year and fortunately it wasn’t that bad.
So while the hygienist was taking a look at everything, she noticed another filling of mine was looking darker which could be a sign that it was getting worn down. This isn’t as urgent as the replacement of the filling was last time, so nothing is planned to be done yet. It was just marked down as something to watch and see what happens. And the next time I’m at the dentist, it’s the big appointment where I get my x-rays and see the dentist. So at that appointment, I think the dentist will probably say that it needs to be replaced since he likes to take care of things early to prevent them from getting worse (like making this end up needing to be a crown).
I am grateful that I didn’t get bad news at my appointment this time, but now I’m just trying to forget that I’m probably going to get bad news next time. I’m sure that I will be having the work done after my next appointment and hopefully it goes as easily as it did last year. I know I’m getting better with shots so that does help make things easier on me. And I just have to keep reminding myself that fixing this now with an easy appointment means avoiding a really bad one later. I’ve had too many of those bad appointments and I don’t want to deal with another one.
But for now, I’m focusing on the good of my lack of panicking at the dentist and ignoring the potential for the bad appointment coming up in a few months.