...for about the fifth time ever. I guess I should preface this with I've always had good teeth and general oral hygiene my entire life. No cavities, broken teeth or gum issues. I've been very fortunate in my 26 years.
I recently decided it was time for a cleaning. "Nothing major, just a cleaning" is what I told a co-worker. So on Wednesday, I went in. They took x-rays and discovered that I had, not one, two, three, four or five....but six cavities. SIX. Three on each side. Even though they said this had nothing to do with my home care (my home care is great), this was a definite blow. I realize compared to what many go through, this is nothing-even preferable. Given how I took getting this news, I can't imagine how I would take news I had cancer. I am used to going to the dentist (what few times I have been) and being praised for my great chompers. So now, basically I have to accept the fact that I am flawed and destructible.
They set two appointments for fillings. Three would be on Thursday and three would be on Monday. Then later that day they called and asked if I wanted to just do all of them on Thursday. Not having had this done before, I said, "Sure!" thinking it would be nice to get it all done at one time. They said it would take an hour and a half. Sounded good to me. I told my cousin later that night and she thought I was crazy for doing all of them at once.
Thursday I went back. Sitting in the waiting room, I was more than nervous. I could hear a drill in the back and couldn't shake the sick feeling in my stomach. They took me to a room, laid me in a chair, gave me headphones set to a Christmas music station, covered me with a blanket and gave me the gas. I was in there sniffing gas for a good long time. Well it seemed like a long time. Not sure how long it actually was. I fell asleep. Then the doctor came in with the dental hygienist. I told them both I hadn't had cavities before and wasn't sure what was about to happen. They said I'd be fine.
So he rubs something on my gums then shoots me up with something that is supposed to numb me. As soon as he finishes this along the top, the dental hygienist starts trying to cram what she calls a "pillow" in my mouth. The pillow is about the size of my fist. Can you fit your fist in your mouth??? Me either. As she's doing this, my heart starts racing and I immediately have the sensation that something is terribly wrong. My body is starting to twitch and my heart is beating so fast I think it might burst. I start sweating and can't feel my hands or my shins (odd combo, I know). My throat feels like it growing smaller and it's harder to breathe. I start choking and gurgling. They had to have seen me twitching and at this point, tears are running down the side of my face into my ears. I reach up from under the blanket and rip off the head phones, which are tangled with the gas on my nose. Push her hands away from my face (she's still trying to ram the pillow in my mouth) and rip out the dang "pillow," which for the record feels nothing like a pillow. I tell them I can't hear anything and my heart is racing and I can't feel my hands or shins. Then I completely lose it and think I may have had a panic attack. The doctor talks me down for quite some time. Puts the gas back on my nose and tells me that this doesn't happen very often but in rare instances people have this reaction to the shots. Lucky me. He also tells me he's not in any hurry and we can take all the time we need and that I shouldn't worry. I lay there and try not to worry but really I'm mortified and can't stop wondering if anyone has ever died at the dentist office. The dental hygienist just stares blankly at the wall like I'm wasting her time and annoying her. And maybe I was. What 26-year-old has this kind of reaction? In my defense, I'd never had a cavity, so I'd never had this done so how was I supposed to know I'd have this reaction?
I laid there for quite some time. Again, not sure how long. When I had somewhat settled and my heart resumed a normal-ish rate, he began drilling. Not sure what he did. I should have googled it before hand. I'm the kind of person who can't stand to not know things. Maybe it's a control issue, but I have to know what's going on. Also, I don't like to be touched so people having their hands in my mouth doesn't rate with me. The actual drilling part was not so bad. Had I not had that reaction to the shots, it wouldn't have been bad at all. Though no one warned me about the smell that went along with getting a filling. Maybe my teeth are as hard as diamonds. It smelled like when you're using an electrirc sander and stay on one patch of wood for too long and it gets a friction burn. Maybe that doesn't happen to anyone else. Maybe I imagined it. Who knows? I tried to keep my eyes closed. At one point I opened them and swear he was wearing a welder's helmet and sparks were flying out of my mouth. It was definitely better to keep my eyes shut.
So he finished the top right side and we were about to move to the left. On the right side, they were all on the top. On the left, I had two on top and one on bottom...which meant more shots. Eeeek. I had the same reaction but with no crying this time as I knew what to expect. Still not pleasant but at least I knew it was coming. He finished those, made me to this bite and grind routine so he could shave down the fillings. They are tooth colored, by the way. Then he thanked me for coming in and said the hygienist was going to polish things up and I'd be good to go.
She nearly drown me with whatever she was doing. And finally, she was finished. She sat my chair up and I couldn't get out of it fast enough. I stood up and stretched. My entire body ached and I was covered in fuzz from the blanket. I didn't realize it at the time but I'd laid there completely tense the whole time. So much for the gas that was suppose to relax me. It had to have been only oxygen.
It's good that they did them all at once because I wouldn't have been back for the next three on Monday after that reaction. I've never been as terrified as I was during that. I will be going to the dentist every six months for a regularly scheduled cleaning in hopes of never having to get a shot like that again. Over all, it was far worse than I thought it would be. But no one could have known I was going to have that reaction. And luckily, now we do. When I left the office, my body ached as if I had just run a marathon.
The good news...Later that night, I found out my Christmas photos had been used on the ABC World News. If you missed that blog, click HERE.