I had a painful dental procedure done yesterday – which is why I wasn’t on the blog yapping about this or that. It’s hard to yap when you’re laid up in bed watching I Love Lucy DVDs and wishing the day away. For some reason, I simply can’t be sufficiently numbed at a dentist. My daughter Brittany is the same way. We’re given up to six shots – when two are all that most people require – yet, we still feel the pain. They had to give her laughing gas on a recent trip. Lucky girl.
Anyway, a lot of the problem was my own fault. I broke a back tooth ages ago while chomping on popcorn. Instead of having it seen to right away, I just sort of ignored it. That never really works out now that I think about it.
I’ve already given all of my daughters the lecture about dental care and preventive measures – so now I’m here to lecture you. If you don’t have a regular dentist, find one and go in for a check up. I know money’s an issue for all of us – except for those fortunate few with killer dental insurance – but, believe me, taking care of your teeth is money well spent. Besides, if you catch problems (a-hem) early, the cost will be a lot lower.
Also, many dental offices offer initial consultations and x-ray free. Aspen Dental (in Owensboro, KY) did, which is one of the reasons I chose them. They gave me a great once over, which included x-rays and even a thorough exam by a dental hygienist. All I had to pay for was the extraction – and that was, quite honestly, a couple of hundred dollars less than I expected.
Here’s something kind of funny. Now. The night before my dental extraction, I was watching television, trying to think about anything else but what the next morning would bring. I figured Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer would be safe…… forgot all about Herbie the elf who wasn’t happy in his work. Forgot all about Herbie wanting to be a dentist. Forgot all about him removing every tooth in the abominable snowman’s head – creating a humble bumble with no choppers!
I had to laugh. It hurt, but I had to laugh.
A little dental advice:
- If you have something wrong, have it seen to immediately. Most dentists have payment plans for those of us who don’t have insurance and aren’t blissfully rolling in money.
- Procedures have probably changed since the last time you went and things aren’t nearly as frightening or painful as you remember. I didn’t even mind my shots, actually.
- Take excellent care of your teeth. Use fluoride, the best toothpaste you can find, and floss every single night.
- I know you won’t avoid chocolate any more than I will – but brush your teeth afterward. We can agree to that, can’t we??
- Start your children out on the right, healthy dental path. Teach them to brush as carefully as you teach them to wash their hands during cold and flu season. Also, begin taking them to a dentist at an early age – so they come to associate dentists with good memories. Having your teeth cleaned feels tingly and good after all! If their first association with a dentist is pain, that’ll stay with them. I guess that’s what happens to most people.
- When you are at a dentist’s office, don’t be afraid to ask, “How much is this going to cost me?” If the person you ask isn’t sure, he or she will find someone who is.
- Never agree to a procedure or examination without first asking, “Will this cost extra?” When we’re already a little apprehensive (personally, the words scared spitless apply) we tend to not think clearly. Oh, Lord. can that ever be costly! These days, you just have to be obnoxiously careful: Politely say that you are working within a budget and that you MUST know how much money you’ll be required to pay. It’s been my experience that everyone understands – after all, they have their own budgets, too. Remember, in life very few things are free – so don’t expect them to be. Ask, ask, ask.
- If you happen to be taking herbs for other health reasons, stop if at all possible a few weeks before your dental procedure. Years ago, I had to have a wisdom tooth removed. I happened to be taking a particular over the counter herb (saw palmetto) for another health concern. Many herbs interfere with blood clotting – something I didn’t know at the time. This led to really bad problems in my healing process and, what’s more, I bled off and on for about 24 hours!
If you have a tooth extraction:
- Follow the dentist’s orders to a letter. Don’t smoke (no problem for me.. never have, never will), don’t use a straw for 24 hours, and avoid hot food and drinks for 24 hours – they interfere with the blood clotting and healing process.
- Don’t spit, it may cause more bleeding.
- Get plenty of rest and drink lots of water.
- Ibuprofin is your friend.
- If you have antibiotics, take them with a little soft food. Take them all, leave none behind.
- My husband brought me something that saved me: KFC mashed potatoes and gravy. I let them cool off, then I dove right in. He also brought me home some pre-made puddings (chocolate – my guy knows me) jell-o, and cinnamon applesauce. Sigh. I loves him.
- Don’t rinse your mouth for 24 hours.
The main thing I want you to take away is this: Don’t put off going to the dentist. They want to help you and they aren’t nearly as painful or expensive as you probably think they are. And, like I said, for procedures that are pricey – there are almost always payment options. Look into it!
Chances are your dentist has a website – give it a look sometime! It could have some very helpful advice – this Burlington dentist, for example, has a whole host of tips and FAQs on lumineers, invisible braces, brushing and flossing, and general oral health and hygiene.
Okay, your lecture is over. Now go have a glass of milk.