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Confessions of a Girl Who Didn’t Have Any Cavities.

April 19, 2010

Yesterday is the day I remembered why I spent three years avoiding going to the dentist.

Of course, if I hadn’t avoided going to the dentist perhaps I wouldn’t feel this way. But that is neither here nor there.

Last week, I received a little postcard reminder that my 6 month dental exam was around the corner. I hadn’t even remembered making the appointment but instead of canceling the appointment (which I was really tempted to do) I decided to go.

I spent most of the appointment with the dental hygienist, who told me that, despite my best efforts at flossing (which in reality is not much), I still had a lot of plaque on my teeth.

Although I don’t think my gums bled nearly as much as they did last time, they were still very sensitive, which the hygienist told me is from sucking so badly at flossing. OK, she didn’t use those exact words but that’s probably what she was thinking.

We also took some X-rays of my teeth, which is quite possibly my least favorite activity at the dentist. It’s also what helped deliver the Big, Bad News.

I have a cavity.

Now, before you laugh and go, “Allison, it’s just a cavity,” please keep this in mind:

THIS IS MY FIRST CAVITY OF MY ENTIRE LIFE!

It’s a big freakin’ deal to me! I have always prided myself on the fact I’ve made it nearly twenty-five years without a single CAVITY. And now my track record has been RUINED.

(Cue ridiculous mock fainting.)

In addition, I also found out the a couple of my bottom teeth, which are already crowded despite the fact I had braces in middle school, are “loose.” (Have I ever mentioned that I have a recurring nightmare about my teeth shattering or falling out? I wake up from these dreams feeling my teeth to make sure they are still there and man is having all your teeth falling out traumatic. This is my worst nightmare coming true! /tangent). I don’t really know what that means but my dentist said it’s really bad. Even worse than having a cavity. Since I have some bone loss (which I discovered at my last appointment), he says that this could be a contributing factor. I’m not sure which is a contributing factor to which , but it sounds serious. I might have to get orthodontics again, though hopefully not as dramatic as being a twentysomething metal mouth. I also know getting orthodontics is expensive and so I basically loathe the dentist right now.

My appointment to get my cavity bonded is next Sunday, and the dentist told me he would talk to me more about all of this.

I’m basically sitting on pins and needles until then.

I know that if I avoided the dentist, the results would be even more disastrous. But seriously? Kinda hating the dentist right now.

15 Comments
  1. April 19, 2010 9:25 AM

    I didn’t get my first cavity until I was 27. And when they found it, they found more than 1.😦 I understand your devastation.
    Sigh.

  2. April 19, 2010 9:27 AM

    Allison – I feel for you. You and I are completely opposite: I’ve got about the worst teeth ever. Through the years, cavities and root canals have stacked up. I’m currently embarking on the wonderous journey of gum disease. Now, my oral hygiene hasn’t been the greatest in life. However, I’m constantly reminded that my 26 years of diabetes is doing wonders on my teeth and mouth. While I’m a poster boy of what not to do, I am encouraged that there are people out there like you who do what’s needed. Good luck in facing the dental chair! I’ll root for you, with what little root strength I’ve got left.

  3. tmana permalink
    April 19, 2010 10:38 AM

    I’m reminded of an Ogden Nash poem about dentist-visit anxiety…

  4. April 19, 2010 11:00 AM

    I had my record ruined, too – I’d made it to 28. I hear you on feeling sad about it.

    My dentist at the time said that all the bottled water we drink now is contributing to it (no fluoride if you’re not drinking tap water). I said “I also think it’s apple juice for 3 a.m. lows, where I just collapse back into bed.” Still. I drink a lot more tap water now…

    • April 19, 2010 11:15 AM

      I don’t drink bottled water, but I do drink a lot of filtered water, so maybe that doesn’t have fluoride in it. I probably on drink straight tap water when I’m out to eat. I don’t think the juice would really matter, but I did hear from my dentist friend Caroline that if you drink juice soon after brushing your teeth (as in, you brush your teeth but then go low before you fall asleep) that the juice can actually prevent the toothpaste from working because of the acidity and that you really should brush your teeth again if that happens. Who knew?

      • April 19, 2010 4:43 PM

        That would be me!

        It’s actually both ways around. If you eat or drink anything to soon after brushing, you remove the fluoride benefit from the toothpaste, but you also shouldn’t brush too soon after anything acidic, because then you end up scrubbing off your tooth enamel. (The acid softens it to the point that a toothbrush can erode the surface layer.)

        Lows are definitely a pain for teeth. Here’s how I explain decay risk to my patients (I even do little actions and funny faces for the kids!): We all have millions of tiny bugs (i.e. bacteria) living in our mouth. Every single time we eat or drink anything which contains any form of sugar (so fruit, especially sticky dried fruit, as well as chocolate, cookies, candies etc) the bugs in our mouths feed on the sugar also. This gives them the power to attack teeth. They basically use the sugars to produce acid, which sucks the mineral content out of teeth and leads to decay. If you minimise how often sugar goes in to your mouth, saliva does a great job of neutralising the acids and your risk of decay is minimised. Ideally we should all aim for no more than 3 intakes of sugars throughout a day. (i.e only at mealtimes)

        Obviously lows muck that up. As does the need for snacks between meals to stabilise blood sugar levels. Night time lows are particularly bad, because saliva flow is reduced while we sleep, so our mouths have even less chance of defending against bacterial acids.

        The furry coating you may notice sometimes on your teeth, especially after lots of sugars is plaque, which is basically made up of the bacteria and sticky substances the bacteria secrete. Because decay in its early stages is reversible (i.e the tooth can remineralise if the plaque bacteria are removed) excellent oral hygiene is also required in addition to good dietary habits.

        Don’t be embarrassed by having a single cavity. Be embarrassed if you don’t try all that you can to keep your teeth healthy from here on in. With all the extra odds stacked against people with diabetes, you should be proud to have made it this long without a cavity. I think actually being a dentist is the major reason I’ve managed to remain cavity free up until now (touch wood!)

        Do clarify the bone loss and loose teeth though. Diabetes is a major contributor to gum disease (periodontal disease) which is not something you want to have a missed diagnosis of.

        And dentists who work on Sundays? Wow. Only catch me doing that for emergency out of hours service when I have to! (Hoping to fly out of this country next Sunday, but if the damn volcano doesn’t stop erupting, that’s not looking likely!)

  5. April 19, 2010 11:23 AM

    I didn’t go to the dentist for 3 years and found out I had 4 cavities. I’m going back Wednesday (after a year from that last appointment) and hope that I don’t have any more…they’re embarrassing and expensive!

    • April 19, 2010 11:56 AM

      They are embarrassing! Luckily I have dental coverage through work, but I’m not sure what kind of orthodontic coverage I have. I’m nervous if I need to do anything!

  6. April 19, 2010 11:32 AM

    I gave up Diet Coke about Halloween, at the insistence of my dentist. He says the acid hurts the tooth enamol. So, gave it up completely.

    • April 19, 2010 11:55 AM

      My dentist haven’t mentioned anything about my teeth enamal being damaged or anything. My main problem is the bone loss between my teeth, which could be from a variety of things, like my braces, not flossing enough/plaque, and smoking (which I haven’t done in YEARS but still). I don’t think I drink that much Diet Coke anyway (maybe one a day?) I don’t buy soda for home, so I usually only have one with my lunch and I usually only drink a second one during the day if my blood sugar is high.

  7. April 19, 2010 11:48 AM

    Oh no!! I haven’t got any cavities (yet!) either – that sucks!! But I always get a hard time about my gums bleeding because I don’t floss enough. (Read: ever). Good luck!!

  8. April 19, 2010 10:54 PM

    I ALWAYS have dreams where my teeth fall out!! I barely touch them and they just fall into my hands. Its horrible!!

  9. April 21, 2010 8:30 AM

    I just came from the dentist. To add insult to injury, I had 4 cavities and it cost me $400!

  10. April 25, 2010 9:00 PM

    OMG Allison! I have the SAME NIGHTMARES!!!! Whoa…

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