Yes, I should have gone to the dentist more often. I should have flossed regularly. I should have brushed my teeth after every meal.
When one is young, with near perfect teeth (actually my teeth were never perfect), one never thinks that poor dental hygiene can cause one so much suffering and misery, and nightmares.
I had my first tooth decay when I was eight. After that, every time I went to the dentist (which was about once or twice a year), I would have something for the teeth doctor to patch. I began to blame my teeth troubles on the dentist. It seemed to me that every time a tooth is patched, the problem worsens. I got so fed up that I decided not to go the dentist, except when things get really bad. (I stopped going when I left school. I had one root canal job in 1998 and then just never saw a dentist again until recently) Anybody who reads this can recognize that this is poor logical thinking on my part. But I guess fear can make one do strange things, or in this case, stupid decisions.
This is also a fine example of ignoring problems.
I really hate going to the dentist. I hate sitting in the torture chair. I hate the drills. I hate the smell of the room. I hate the taste of the water we use for gurgling. I hate the light in my eyes… the whole experience – I just hate it all.
The fillings that I’ve got in the past have a habit of dropping out after a year or two, and holes get bigger. It never occurred to me that it was because I like to crack nuts with my teeth and crunch on hard objects.
Another problem with my teeth is that they are quite close together. Using a toothbrush is not enough, I really needed to floss to get the gunk out. I didn’t because I was lazy. As a result, I have little decays happening in between most of my teeth. I also have cracked molars due to unconscious grinding.
One cracked molar was to be the cause of much pain and misery for a few weeks. It was this that forced me to go back to the dentist.
What happened was this: the crack had widened enough that food was getting stuck in it, and continued eating stuffed more food stuff into the gap, causing some swelling. The dentist took a pick and tweezers, and she had to dig out the stuff in there, it was quite bloody and as one can imagine it was quite awful. I had requested local anesthesia for the procedure, because I think the pain would have been unbearable.
I just didn’t want to feel her digging the stuff out.
After she cleaned it out, she put medicine in it and patched it up. She also patched up another hole in the back and filled up a root canal job where the filling had fallen out. (I had my mouth open for two hours.) She warned me that (and as I had already suspected), there are signs of decay starting to set in between most of my teeth, but they do not need patching yet and are not very visible. The next session a week later, she proceeded to do a thorough picking and polishing, which really hurt because I hadn’t done it for a long time.
So I’ve learned my lesson, a bit late, but I think not too late.
- I brush my teeth after every meal. So now, I have a set of toothbrush and paste at the workplace
- I floss every day. It’s not just getting the floss in between the teeth, but you need to slight pull them around, so the gunk actually gets off and gets pulled out with the floss. I still have problems flossing the back molars because it’s quite hard to get the floss in between them properly. I’m still quite worried about them, so I’m still on the look out for better floss types for cleaning them.
- I’m going to stop eating hard nuts and tapioca chips. The dentist did advise that I keep off eating hard foods which was causing my filling to wear and drop, in addition to causing cracks in my teeth.
- I’ve taken to reduce sugar intake. So, as far as I can, I’m taking reduced sugar sodas and fruit juices with no added sugars. This is not hard for me, I don’t have a lot of love for sweet things.
Next dental appointment is in about 3 months.