Sunday, December 5, 2010

Revelations in the dental chair

I went to the dentist this week for my 6 month cleaning and check up.  There was a time in my late 20s when I was traveling constantly for work that I got fairly, shall we say, neglectful about taking care of my teeth.  The HMO dentist I was seeing made you schedule appointments a minimum of three months in advance.  I generally couldn't tell you where I was going to be in three weeks, let alone three months.  After canceling and rescheduling, canceling and rescheduling, I gave up going to the dentist at all.  For like three years.

Then I went back.  They scheduled two separate deep-cleaning sessions because they weren't sure I was "going to be able to take it" in one session.  The hygenist practically climbed up onto the chair with me, bracing herself with her sturdy legs while going into my mouth with a pickax and a miner's lantern hat.  Or at least that's what it felt like.

And I vowed to change my ways.  I took up flossing with a vengeance.  I make my next dental appointment for bang-on six months away before I leave my current appointment.  And when I go back, they scrape at my teeth for about 15 minutes and do a quick polish.  And I'm all, "That's it?"  They warn me that I should be swishing with Act to address a couple of weak spots that could become cavities and send me on my way.  They've been warning about those weak spots for 5 years now.

So this week during the cleaning, I'm laying in the chair trying to relax my hands which have balled up into little fists, and release my back muscles that are trying to levitate me off the chair.  And the hygenist is scraping and scraping.  I'm wondering when this is going to end.  She does the whirry-polishing thing and THEN gets out her scraper for another go at my molars.  I'm wondering... is there something wrong here or is she just being more... diligent than my previous hygenists?

Then the cleaning is over and the dentist comes in and starts poking around my mouth and casually orders a filling on two teeth.  Two cavities - including one that wasn't citied as a previously-noted weak spot?  WTF?

Then I remembered.  My husband recently discovered these divine toffees in the bulk candy bins at our local grocer's.  And after I had a few, I made him buy about three pounds of it and we (and by "we", I mean mostly "me") ate it all in less than a month.  These things are chewy, sticky, buttery-caramely bites of perfection and they became my go-to sweet of choice.  I'd have a couple as "dessert" after lunch, and a couple more as "dessert" after dinner and, hell, sometimes I would have one if I was walking through the kitchen and feeling a bit bored.  Then, as quickly and mysteriously as this decadent treat had appeared, the shop stopped selling them so I had to quit cold-turkey.  It hasn't been easy, mind.

But it turns out, layering chewy, sticky, buttery-caramely sugar onto my teeth on a fairly regular basis without increasing the frequency of brushing?  Not so good for the old chompers.  So, NEWSFLASH: sugar rots your teeth!

Damn it.  I hate it when my mother is right.


  1. You try growing up with a Mum who is a school dental technician. I swear everything rotted our teeth and toothbrushing and flossing was performed with military precision. lol. mmmmm toffee sticky buttery chewy toffee...*drool*

  2. Go Betty - I bet you've got really good teeth now, thanks to your Mum!

  3. Chocolate is my weakness. And I understand. I've had more teeth issues as an adult than I had when my mother had the reigns. ;)

  4. Even though my braces have been off for six months, I still feel guilty about eating things like toffees. Perhaps that's a good thing and I should hope the guilt stays!

    Sending sympathy to you for all the dental work. Hope the fillings weren't too horrible.

  5. Nicki - Teeth issues aside, chocolate is worth it, no?

    Helen - You should definitely keep up the good work taking care of those pearly whites after enduring adult orthodontia!

  6. Who doesn't want sweets? Haha! The more you'll have, the better, right? But these do the most damage to our teeth! Nah! Just try to lessen these and visit your dentist frequently for guidance. Healthy teeth are better. :)