We take our boys’ oral health very seriously and as their daddy has never had a cavity filled in his life, when they each turned two, their visits to daddy’s dentist began. It’s a small office with lovely staff and they feel special visiting there like big boys.
|Note – Jensen is messing around, not picking his nose, despite Kristoff’s views in Frozen.|
Yet me, I’ve treated my smile terribly – I was awful at brushing my teeth as a teenager, I succumbed to bulimia in my early twenties and eroded my back teeth awfully, even losing one of them – and since having that tooth taken out, I took a break from the dentist. You know, just for a short while. A short 14 years.
Amazingly, after fourteen years all I needed was that tooth repaired an a small filling on another tooth. And when I did lie back in the chair, filled with a strangely calm feeling of what was sure to be impending doom, the injections felt odd, the drill was noisy, but nothing hurt like I imagined.
What was unexpectedly discovered through standard x-ray though, was that I’m a clamper. A night clamper to be exact. This means that in the night, when I’m stressed, I clench my teeth together with a force that I can’t replicate in the day. I’ve been doing it for so long that I have fractured my teeth below the surface of my gums – there’s damage I can’t see, damage I can now prevent from worsening thanks to a night guard for my lower jaw. Had I not cracked my tooth, I might not have known this for years to come.
Now it’s fixed, but my smile still isn’t perfect, it’s not Hollywood white and behind my incisors hide the secrets and failings of my past. But I do love my smile. I want to keep it for as long as I can.
I know so many of my friends who also avoid their appointments, yet dentistry has come such a long way since I last sat in the dreaded chair and stared at the Where’s Wally? pictures sellotaped onto the ceiling. I remember the anguish that my sister went through as a teenager with her full metal braces – monstrosities invisible braces fitted – along with white fillings and a range of options for treatment that doesn’t have to be as drastic as it once seemed.
Our boys never miss an appointment, their dentist even poses for photos with them and gives them stickers, too. Last time, Jensen wore a bow tie so he’d be smart enough to have his teeth checked. It’s quite the event in our calendar.
And me? I might even say that I enjoy the dentist now – it’s ten minutes of peace and quiet, and at least I get to sit down. When was the last time you visited the dentist and said, “Ahhh!”?