One of my earliest dentist memories involves the cavity free club. In the waiting room I saw this big bulletin board on the wall highlighting all the children who were cavity free. I wanted to be in that club so bad--I've always been a bit of a perfectionist and even though I didn't really understand what a cavity was, I knew that it was best not to have one. Obviously if you didn't have cavities you go to have your picture taken and put up on the bulletin board. That was good, right? The alternative was exclusion from the club.
Well, I hopped up on the chair and lo and behold, I had a cavity! I was mortified. I wasn't perfect. Now I would never be a member of the "Cavity Free Club." The dentist filled the cavity and then she said, "All done."
I started sniffling. It's the never-fail tactic that most little sisters learn to employ--if you don't get what you want, cry.
"What's wrong?" asked the dentist.
"You put a cavity in my mouth. Now I can't be in the Cavity Free Club," I explained.
The dentist then told me that what she put in my mouth was called a "filling;" a cavity is a kind of a hole and but she filled it up and the hole was gone now. I didn't have a cavity any more--just a filling. She even took my picture and put it up on the wall. I felt much better.
Andrew and I haven't been to the dentist for a long time. The last time I went was May of 2006, just a few days before leaving for Jordan. Apparently I grind my teeth really bad when I am nervous. I was really nervous before we went to Jordan. The Saturday before we left one particular tooth hurt so bad that I thought I either needed to be put down or have a root canal.
My mom phoned her friend, Irene, who phoned her son-in-law who opened up his clinic for me. As it turns out nothing was wrong with my teeth, except that I was grinding them pretty harsh in my sleep. He had to ask Andrew if I was doing that because I wasn't aware. Go figure. I'm a teeth grinder. All I needed to do was relax and my teeth started feeling much better.
Andrew hasn't been since he got his wisdom teeth taken out in October of 2005. That's a long time to not go to the dentist.
It's not that we're afraid of the dentist. We're more afraid of the dentist bill.
For some reason we hadn't ever heard of a dental plan. You can purchase health insurance, and that's something that everyone tells you to purchase. No one ever said anything about dental work when we were getting married. Andrew and I both had dental work done on our teeth before we got married, yes, but no one ever mentioned anything to us about getting a dental plan. And going to the dentist at full cost just seemed a little impossible.
So we just didn't go. But then we both started suspecting that things weren't right with our teeth so I did some research and found a plan that is really pretty cost effective. We purchased it, found a dentist, made appointments, and got our teeth cleaned up--all within a week and a half.
The dentist, Dr. Smith, is from Andrew's parent's ward. He was impressed that our teeth did so well for not having been to the dentist for so long, although he did find a little cavity in one of Andrew's teeth.
I'd like to announce that I, on the other hand, have renewed my membership in the Cavity Free Club. I can probably chalk that up to being pregnant this last year. As much as brushing my teeth made me gag, I had to brush my teeth upwards of 5 times a day to get that "icky" taste out of my mouth. I'm not really sure what it is about being pregnant and my mouth tasting bad to myself. Sometimes I would brush my teeth two or three times before going to bed, gagging the whole time. I guess it helped though.
The only thing that irks me is that Andrew and I both got the same prize: a toothbrush and some dental floss. Since I'm in the Cavity Free Club and all, it would figure that my toothbrush might be a little bigger, or at least have sparkles on it, but no. Nothing of the sort. The dentist didn't even take my picture.
My trip to the dentist was rather anticlimactic in that regard, but I guess that's just part of growing up.