My dad has amazing teeth. At 50, I think he maybe has had 1 cavity ever, if at all. My mother has had so much work on her mouth, it’s a wonder it’s all still together. I inherited my dad’s teeth (praise be). But during relapse, they found a super weird rare (like only 17 people ever diagnosed worldwide) bacteria in my spleen and put me on a cocktail tumbler full of drugs. Which turned my teeth and nails a greyish-black. Time has slowly been kinder and allowed both to return to a somewhat more human like pale hue.
But those drugs also destroyed something in my teeth. Suddenly, I had piles of cavities, tooth aches, and all sorts of problems. The twice annual cleaning definitely isn’t enough for me. October, I got a wisdom tooth infected and couldn’t eat on the right side of my mouth. Cue wisdom teeth removal the week before Thanksgiving. Followed by a major tooth infection and no eating on the left side of my mouth. Cue emergency root canal yesterday after work. On the bright side, I think I’m going to meet my dental deductible this year.
But I hate dental work. The very thought of a dentist or there many related mouthy cousins (periodontist, endodontist, oral surgeons) terrify me. My jaw hurts from keeping my mouth open. The Novocain shots are insanely painful. Getting home and having the numbness wear off is another set of pain. I’ve been through the pain of cancer and BMT. But nothing is quite like mouth/tooth pain. It radiates through your jaw, into your skull, your brain, your eyes. At the zenith of my infected tooth, I couldn’t see straight or think clearly. My hands shook just opening a bottle of Tylenol, and I was scared to drive.
I know many of you share my dental hesitations, and here are a few things that have helped me recently.
Dental work sucks, but is an unfortunate necessity thanks to cancer. What are your best tips for dealing with dental work?
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