As I have in a round about way mentioned in a previous post, dentists intimidate me. I really, really, really dread going to the dentist with a passion.
I feel overwhelmingly embarrassed being lectured on dental hygiene, despite my efforts to maintain good dental health. It feels extremely uncomfortable for me to invite another person (a stranger) to look inside of my mouth.
I think that I must have a phobia of sorts.
When I go to the dentist, I can’t help but feel as if the dentist is being condescending towards me.
I’m positive that the following thoughts cross the dentists mind when he examines my mouth…
“Man, I can’t believe this girl. Does she not own a toothbrush? I really don’t want to clean her teeth, but that’s what she’s paying me the big bucks for, I suppose. She claims that she flosses every day…what a stretch. If she truly flossed every day than why in the world would her gums be unhealthy? Why lie? Does she think I’m stupid or something?”
Anyway, I can’t know for sure what’s really going on in his mind. I can only speculate. But I swear that my thoughts aren’t far from the actual truth!
Last week, however, I think that I felt the most embarrassed at the dentist office than I ever had before.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Lizzie went to the dentist in late December for some dental work. She had to get a few caps, among other things. Anyway, for at least a week following the procedures, Lizzie complained of pain in her gums. I called the dental office a few times, just to make sure that she didn’t need to be seen again. They continually assured me that she was fine and that the pain would eventually stop.
I relaxed a bit and tried to be patient. However, a few weeks after her appointment, I noticed that the gums immediately below her new caps had turned white. Yes, white.
I thought for sure that her gum tissue had died or something. I was positive that the dentist must have injected the Novocaine incorrectly and it damaged her gums. Or that the cap was put on too tightly and that circulation had been cut off to that particular portion of the gums.
I called the dentist first thing the following morning.
I was, again, reassured that everything was completely normal. The dental assistant told me that gums often turn white as a result of the trauma of receiving caps. She advised me to continue to floss and brush and that the gums would return to normal in a few weeks.
I brushed and flossed her teeth obsessively for days. And weeks.
Her gums were still white underneath one particular cap.
After 3 long weeks of waiting for the white gums to turn red again, I finally called the dentist back.
The dental assistant tried to shrug it off again and tell me that everything was completely normal and that I shouldn’t worry. I simply couldn’t believe it. Seriously. This was my daughter they were shrugging off! I didn’t hang up the phone until they scheduled an appointment for Lizzie first thing in the morning.
I just knew that something wasn’t right.
I just knew that her gum tissue had died.
I was ready to sue for malpractice!
We arrived at the dentist and we didn’t even have to wait five minutes in the waiting room…a record, for sure!
I vented all of my concerns to the dental assistant, who listened very intently.
When the dentist entered the room, she immediately asked me one question:
“Do you floss her teeth religiously?”
I, of course, answered in the affirmative. I was completely confident that I had done everything in my power to take care of her teeth. I may miss a day of flossing every now and then, but for the most part, I’m very consistent.
Are you ready for the embarrassing part?
As soon as the dentist peeked into Lizzie’s mouth she said, “Oh, she’s got food stuck in there”.
That’s right folks…food.
I immediately felt embarrassed. The first phrase that exited my mouth was “Oh, that’s weird. What kind of food?”. Hello! How would the dentist know what kind of food it was?!
To make a long story short, a piece of chicken (yes, the food was eventually identified) had gotten stuck underneath her cap and placed itself on top of the gums. Which was why the gums looked white.
There are no words aside from embarrassment to describe my feelings.
After removing the chicken, the dentist lectured me regarding proper dental hygiene. I obviously wasn’t taking good care of my daughters teeth. I obviously wasn’t flossing religiously. She is too young to understand these things. It is I, as her mother, that needs to take full responsibility of her dental health or her teeth cannot be saved.
Okay. I get it.
It is obvious to me now that I will never enjoy going to the dentist!
But at least I know now that it’s possible for chicken to get jammed underneath dental caps and look like infected gum tissue! Next time, I won’t worry as much!