I had put it off long enough.
Admittedly, I don’t go to the dentist as often as I’m supposed to. I actually had no idea when I had last been in for a cleaning/check-up and I was afraid to make an appointment and have my dentist shake his head at me as he told me how long it had been. Yes, I am 37 and I was afraid of being scolded. Go figure.
But, I had been experiencing an area of pain in one of my back teeth for several months. I realize I was only delaying the inevitable, but I just wasn’t very eager to go into the dentist office.
And so I put it off. In the meantime, I began to avoid a very important food: Lettuce.
There was something about the crunch of lettuce that shot a searing pain from my jaw all the way to…I don’t know…South Dakota? And so, not only did I avoid going to the dentist, I avoided eating lettuce because it is not fun for pain to shoot from your jaw all the way to your northern state border.
I finally decided that I was being unwise, and also a whiny baby…so I made the appointment.
The dentist only gently suggested that I come in more often, then looked and found my painful spot and said, yes…it looks like I have a tiny bit of decay on a back tooth. They had a cancellation the next day. Did I want to come then? Well sure I did. Gulp.
The next day I was ushered back and as I sat down in the special chair, I had this tremendous urge to buckle my seat belt. Am I a weirdo, or what? Apparently sitting in the dental chair made me feel like I had just taken a seat in my mini-van. What, was I afraid I might fall out or something?
They put the cute little bib on me, then the dentist gave me the option: the cavity was so tiny that I may not want to mess with having a shot to deaden the area. Did I want to try receiving the filling without having the area numbed?
As it was a Wednesday and I hadn’t really been looking forward to drooling down the left side of my face during Bible class that evening, I decided to give it a go. But I think I said something like, “If at any point during the drilling I feel like punching you, can I then have a shot?”
Yes, I actually said that…to my dentist. I have got to learn when and where it is appropriate to use my sarcasm.
Thankfully, he understood that I was joking (I think) and said that yes, I could have a shot if the pain was too much to handle.
Then they started to drill. I braced myself for the pain. But it never came. Then they put the composite filling in my mouth and drilled that down and then took off my bib. I was done.
Not only did I never have the urge to punch my dentist, I instead had a very big urge to hug him. Painless dental work, really? And I could still feel both of my lips too? What a deal!
Of course, that night I went home and celebrated with (you guessed it) some lettuce. We’re obviously big partiers at our house.
So yes, today I am SO grateful that I got my dentist appointment over with and that it truly was painless. And I’m thankful that I can eat lettuce without pain. I know that’s silly but I truly am thankful for it. (I suppose I should also be grateful that I didn’t punch the man drilling my tooth. Or maybe he should be grateful for that?)
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