February 07, 2017

How to survive your dentist visit

I went to a dentist yesterday and I have to say I am glad I did. On the previous day I was very close cancelling the appointment, because I thought there is nothing wrong anyway. I might need a check-up and cleaning, true, but there are no other issues for sure. I was so certain of that.
My appointment was in one of the private hospitals/clinics in Dubai (Valiant Clinic) and I was super anxious hoping the taxi driver couldn't locate the place. Well, he did...

I have never had "real" dental treatment for anything really; no cavities, no fillings, no root canals, nothing but regular check-ups and cleaning. This time it seems they found two cavities, one in a wisdom tooth and one in another permanent tooth. I was NOT expecting that. The dentist and the dental nurse were so great, polite, kind and fun too that I forgot to be scared. I was a bit though... I had x-rays done, which was fine. That's how they discovered the cavities. I declined to have the filling done and the tooth extracted without an IV sedation or general anesthesia, but agreed to have the cleaning done. Someone mentioned nitrous oxide..? Yes, they do provide it for anxious patients and yes, maybe I could have done it without the gas, but why not make things more comfortable? Application of local anesthetic gel into gums made it even better and I think I fell asleep. It certainly did not feel like 45 minutes of cleaning, I did not feel like I was choking on blood and saliva at any stage, I didn't panic and I didn't feel I needed to escape.

So glad I went. It may cost a lot (!), be uncomfortable, inconvenient etc but your teeth are precious and I will never neglect my dental visits again. If I had to choose between going for mammogram, gyn visit or dentist, I'd go for the dentist any time.

1. Do your research, compare prices, get recommendations, even if it's an emergency.
2. Ask for sedation if you need it. If they say "no, you don't need it, we are awesome, we are professionals etc" don't take no for an answer. If you can get the cleaning done without sedation, ok fine, but anything more than that, tell them what you need and want.
3. Don't go to dentist every three years. Go at least once a year, maybe even more. After I had the radioactive iodine treatment, my mouth sometimes feels dry, and I think that may have contributed to the dental caries and stuff that's going on in my mouth right now.
4. Clean, really and truly clean teeth feel great. It's not something you can do yourself.
5. Don't expect the worst kind of news about your teeth. It may not be as bad as you think it is and you may get a clean bill of health.

As for me, I guess the next step is locating a dentist, who agrees to remove the two remaining wisdom teeth under general anesthesia and fill the cavity at the same time.
Maybe during the same surgery they could fix my ankle, which I sprained yesterday morning.. but that's another story.

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