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25 October 2010

Dentists Husband got a raise and then we went through insurance drop/add, so we added dental.[More:]
It's kind of a rip off, but still better than nothing, especially considering how long it's been. I haven't had my teeth cleaned since '96, though I did get X-rays from a dental school a few years ago to see if I could get paid $150 to have a filling filled by a dental student, and it turned out I don't have any anyway. I seem to just have good teeth.

Still. Whirring vibrating godawful tasting aaaaaugh against my teeth. Sharp things poking. Scraping. Digging. Novocaines. Holding my mouth open for so long it sets off TMJ. My skin is crawling and we won't even have this coverage until January. I really don't want to go through this, I really don't. I particularly don't want to start doing it regularly again.

Please don't make me :(
I have been on a 3x per year cleaning cycle forever. My mouth is such that I would lose my teeth otherwise, no matter how much I floss and brush and use other strange devices in there. . .
posted by danf 25 October | 15:40
That's horrifying. I'm so sorry.
posted by galadriel 25 October | 16:03
Like danf, I'm a multiple cleaning a year person. 2x a year. I have a dentist who abhors pain and her dental assistants are on the same page with her. I mean, isn't my most favorite experience, but not too bad in the scheme of things.

galadriel, it is good to have your own teeth later in life. My husband has had to pay the price (root canals, dental surgeries, crowns, replacing crowns) for lack of dental care for some years.
posted by bearwife 25 October | 16:09
I'm not going to tell you that those things won't happen, because not only do I not know your moth, I do not know your dentist of choice. Some things just can't be avoided.

What I DO know is that, among the few benefits of avoiding the dentist for so long, you will find that the technology has improved soooooo much since you last went in there... and so has the office experience.

I hadn't been in for about 7 years or so. My new guy is a second-generation dentist who just opened his own practice after about 4 years. Everything in his office is on iMacs, including the instant x-rays and the iTunes that he uses for music. He's really into alt-country, but he encourages me to suggest or bring in my own music, and he takes out anything I don't want during my appointment. (I had a strict NO JACK JOHNSON policy during my three-filling day. Oh, man, would that noodling have driven me up the wall.) He also sings along as long as I let him; luckily, he's in tune :) (My old dentist wouldn't even let the staff listen to the oldies or lite stations; it was all super-lite Michael Bolton and Luther Vandross, all the time.)

As for the actual dental tools, I was really, really happy with the laser water jet thingy he used instead of the scraper. He still had to use the scraper just a little bit, but between the numbing stuff (not Novocaine) and the water jet it was so much better than it used to be. The only thing I had to worry about was getting water sprinkled on my face every so often, and he let me clean up.

He also used this weird truss thingy with a rubbery shield so I didn't have to open my mouth quite as wide or as long as I used to with those grody plastic things that hook over the side of your mouth.

Then there was freshly brewed local tea and a computer for checking e-mail in the waiting area, and the hygienist and I chatted about the Velvet Underground. Oh, and did I mention the art gallery?

Seriously. Go.
posted by Madamina 25 October | 16:27
Er... MOUTH.
posted by Madamina 25 October | 16:28
I'm on the 4 times a year plan. The more you do it the easier it gets, plus you really don't want to shell out thousands of dollars and go through emergency root canals if you don't have to. Urgh.
posted by JoanArkham 25 October | 16:45
Oh, I certainly acknowledge this is important and needed and so on. I mean, that's why we're paying for it. And I absolutely can't stand paying for something that I don't use.

It's just been such a hateful experience for me all my life. Bad associations all the way back to when the only flavor of tooth abrasion stuff was "mint," and mint makes me nauseated. Then there was bubble gum, too, that revolting dental bubble gum flavor that tastes of nothing but spite. And then TMJ, and dental visits became horribly painful and they insisted I was making it up.

And my pain tolerance took a serious dive last year, which the docs tell me is fibromyalgia. So I am in dread, you see. Not denial...not denial really. Just bargaining. Maybe in the coming months I'll be able to move on to the next stage.
posted by galadriel 25 October | 16:59
Some dentists will use sedation for even simple things like cleaning. Costs more, but it may be worth it. I paid extra for Valium and gas when I first started going back (after a long absence) and after the first few times my thriftiness overcame my fear. And it wasn't so bad! (I still get the gas for fillings though. Plus it's kind of fun.)
posted by JoanArkham 25 October | 17:05
Ugh. I hate going to the dentist and it has nothing to do with my current dentist and hygienist. They are both awesome. It's just left-over angst from years of no dentistry (too poor as a kid and young adult) and then getting bad dentists and hygienists (Marquis de Sade wannabes!).

Keeping your mouth healthy help keeps the rest of your body healthy. Good luck!
posted by deborah 25 October | 17:14
Bring good stuff that you like . . . an Ipod with some stuff you've been wanting to listen to, a book you've been wanting to read. Also, let the dentist know in advance about your worries. And in particular about your fibromyalgia.
posted by bearwife 25 October | 17:26
4 cleanings a year. Getting 4 implants this year.
posted by Obscure Reference 25 October | 18:14
Yes, tell the dentist your worries, bring an ipod, and just zone out while they're doing their thing. Dentists are nice people--my dad is one--and they don't want to hurt you or stress you out! I've been through a lot of really painful procedures (a car hit me and knocked out some of my teeth) and all the people involved did their best to keep me comfortable and happy.
posted by leesh 25 October | 19:02
Twice a year for forever. Been seeing the same dentist since the early nineties; I'm pretty sure that he knows each tooth in my mouth personally.
posted by octothorpe 25 October | 19:21
I have a dentist appointment on Wednesday! I am scared. My teeth look terrible and I don't want to get yelled out.
posted by amro 25 October | 21:52
Sedation... sedation... Sedation! This sounds promising. Really promising. I hadn't thought about that, but the idea of not having to be mentally "there" for the experience definitely sounds like the tool to help me move on from "bargaining" to the next stage. I wonder how much it would cost. Thank you.

Good luck, amro.
posted by galadriel 25 October | 22:00
I had my first dentist appointment in a year and a half today. There was a lot of nasty talk about gum disease and deep cleanings involving numbing and how I was a BAD BAD BAD person for not flossing. Then she cleaned my teeth, said it wasn't really so bad after all, and said if I came back for another regular cleaning in December and promised to floss every goddamn night for the rest of my life, I was maybe going to be ok.
posted by Twiggy 25 October | 23:05
I am so weird. I never hated going to the dentist, even as a kid. I am just now getting reinsured and need to see one ASAP... it's been ~5 yrs. D=
posted by Eideteker 25 October | 23:40
4 cleanings a year. Thankfully they don't hurt and are covered by insurance or else I would have tarter not teeth.
posted by arse_hat 26 October | 01:59
I believe the gas is $60 extra at my dentist's. They won't let you take a doggy balloon home though. :)
posted by JoanArkham 26 October | 09:21
I've never had sedation for dental work, not even for having my wisdom teeth removed. I'm way more scared of never waking up than I am of the dental work.
posted by octothorpe 27 October | 15:29
Speaking of personal clothing style . . . what are you wearing today? || (30) Night(s) at the Museum