The journey started 3 years ago when I saw a video on The Doctors about how ignoring teeth problems could have serious consequences on one’s health, even causing heart disease. So, knowing fully well I had that elephant in my room I decided to pay an overdue visit to the dentist, something I hadn’t done in 12 years. Yes, 12 years, and I realize that was very wrong but you don’t need to point it out because I got to learn the hard way.
So, I went to that doctor who my father and other members of the family used to go to and she was well-known for being a good dentist, everyone liked her. But it seems that she got sloppy in those last years, something my father pointed out but I can’t remember if he did that when it was too late or I just didn’t listen and decided to go with her anyway.
So, she told me I had several cavities (no kidding), which was really understandable, I’d been nurturing those cavities since I was 12 or 13 and I’m sure I didn’t take much care of my teeth as I do now so there must have been a price to pay obviously. Well, that wasn’t a problem, because the problems were yet to come. After she was done drilling and stuffing in the course of several separate sessions, I thought I was good to go. I still had toothaches but I thought that was normal. Of course when the pain persisted I knew that wasn’t normal, and it wasn’t just any kind of pain, it was the kind that puts you on painkillers 24/7. I was popping Ibuprofens like candies.
So, I went to another doctor and she said I needed a root canal. Great! Anything to take the pain away. So, I had a root canal and I thought that was it. But no! I continued to have severe toothaches. Another doctor said there was nothing wrong with my teeth and that maybe that was my wisdom teeth. Okay, take them out. I had the 4 of them removed on the same day. Thank God my doctor was a very good one that I didn’t go through the horror stories I’ve been told about wisdom teeth removal. It was a piece of cake.
You’d think that was the end of it, but No. The pain came back. I went to my doctor again (how many doctors have I mentioned so far?) but he said there was nothing wrong and recommended some oral hygiene products, not that I lacked oral hygiene but he thought maybe using hydrogen peroxide for example could make the mysterious pain go away. Well, it was alleviated a little, but then it came back and I was at my wit’s end.
So, I continued to live on painkillers and it was no surprise that I felt that I was starting to have stomach problems due to that. I didn’t care whether I took Ibuprofens on an empty stomach anymore. Thankfully, before things got any worse a friend of mine recommended a dentist –who later on became her husband- but I’m sure that wasn’t the reason she recommended him because that was THE dentist that would figure it out.
So, I took an appointment, he examined my teeth, made x-rays, but like everyone else he said there was nothing wrong with my teeth and that they looked like pretty strong teeth too. So, he thought maybe it was my gums and prescribed a medicine. I took the medicine but as you’d expect the pain persisted. When I went back he seemed perplexed and decided to try something else. He decided to open up the tooth that I particularly complained about, although it showed no sign of cavities or any abnormalities, and he was in for a bloody surprise.
That tooth, which the first dentist had treated, was badly infected and the infection had reached the nerve. It didn’t show on the x-rays nor was there any visible sign for it. As soon as he opened it up there was blood and stuff. But I didn’t care, I just wanted the pain to go away. So, the mystery was finally solved and I happily had a root canal, and another one after it. To tell the truth I got used to the whole thing that I longer had any fear of dentists or needles or what not.
Anyway, I stayed away from dentist for 2 years after that, until I recently started having mild pains again. Of course most of the time I’d dismiss it as nothing and it would go away. But this month I decided to go, because I learned anything from that saga it was that you shouldn’t wait until the pain is out of control to check it out.
So I went to the dentist, told him one of my teeth hurt and I thought it had a cavity and that another 2 teeth had a big gap between them and it was annoying, I hardly had any pain though so you can imagine my surprise when he told me the tooth I thought had a cavity was fine and the gap between the other 2 teeth was actually a broken tooth which developed into a cavity that reached the nerve and I was in need for another root canal.
And there we go again! Honestly I thought that after 2 years I’d be afraid again, having forgot what it’s like to have a needle piercing through the lining of your oral cavity but it was easier than I thought, thank God. Another silver lining was that all the flossing and brushing and gargling seemed to pay off as I only had that one cavity which was due to a broken tooth, my other teeth were fine.
Anyway, I can sum up what I learned from this in a few points:
1- If have a toothache, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to rush to the dentist. Sometimes all you need is an ibuprofen and to take it easy on that tooth for a couple of days. It’s better to check it out though, it depends on the intensity of the pain and how well you know your teeth.
2- Not having any toothaches doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth are fine. If the pain comes and goes then you’d better check it out before it gets ugly.
3- Make sure you have a good dentist
4- If you’re a girl who’s getting married or planning on getting pregnant then you’d better have your teeth checked up. You don’t want to have a root canal or have a wisdom tooth removed with no or little local anesthesia.
5- If you’re having a root canal in the morning then make sure to have a good breakfast. Took me 5 hours yesterday for the anesthetic to wear off, I was starving. However, I didn’t have that problem when I had my wisdom teeth removed because I was too disgusted to eat or even open my mouth the whole day.
6- Drink green tea and other herbal drinks, they are natural mouth cleansers. Use mouth wash twice a day at least, brush your teeth twice a day at most because too much brushing could destroy tooth enamel. And give flossing a shot, it’s annoying but it’s worth it.
You don’t need to have perfect looking teeth so don’t listen to every dentist that tells you he wants to replace your real teeth with synthetic ones because it will make you look better, you know dentists make money out of that so don’t let them mess with your head. Look in the mirror, you like how your teeth fit into your face, check. They’re healthy, check. On to something more important.