Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's like a labrynth. But there's no Minotaur at the end.

Today I had a set of fillings replaced. I have four, and all of them were put in before I turned 20, so it's pretty impressive they lasted this long.
When I made the appointment, I hadn't really thought about what the appointment would entail, ie; Novocaine. I hate needles, and the one going into my gums always makes me burst into tears. Plus, the hard part for me about dental work is the sound of the drill, and the pressure. Neither of those things is solved with pain medication. After it starts wearing off, I always have a major anxiety attack. A few years ago, I had my gums irrigated (one side at a time) and my reaction after the first time was so bad, I begged the dentist to do it without the shot. Probably for the best that he refused, but I still wish he hadn't.
I suddenly thought about it last night, and Walker offered to stay home for the whole morning, rather then just the length of the appointment, but I told him we'd figure something out if I was useless. And I decided to talk to the dentist today.
When I explained my concerns, he and the hygienist agreed to try it without any pain meds, with the promise that we could stop if it was too bad and reconsider. One of the fillings they were replacing was put in without anesthesia when I was 12, because I had to go to school afterwards. I think I even had an oral report to give. They have TV's for the patients to watch while procedures were happening, so I had headphones and a distraction. But here's the thing, it really wasn't that bad. The worst part was getting everything clamped and set up for the thing, and while there was the occasional ouch while they were grinding things out, it wasn't anything I couldn't breathe through. I used some of the techniques I learned in my birth class. Mostly, I reminded myself that the uncomfortable feeling was temporary and soon it would be over. And indeed, it was.
Both of them were impressed, and didn't seem to believe me that it didn't hurt that bad. It really didn't. It was certainly less painful then getting my tattoo. It was much less painful then labor. I used to have a very low threshold for pain, and I don't know if it's just that I have something more intense to compare it to, or the fact that my long time back/neck pain is finally getting resolved and I therefore have more spoons, but I guess it's not true anymore.
The hygienist promised to put on my chart that I prefer no anesthesia. She said that anyone new would likely try and talk me out of that, but it at least gives me a better starting point. I'm glad I made that decision, because now I get to have a good day with Moira. We did some gardening after lunch, and after nap, we are going to scoop out our pumpkins and bake the seeds. I most glad that they were willing to listen to and accept my feelings as valid. It makes me a little more likely to continue to keep my appointments.


  1. You are hardcore. :) I'm such a wimp - I requested gas for my last two filling appointments. It's not the shot or the sound of the drill that bothers me, but all the other stuff they put in my mouth. It makes me feel claustophobic. But with the gas ... I suddenly don't care anymore. ;)

    Anyway, I'm glad they listened to you! That's really nice.

  2. I'm glad your dentist was willing to work with what you wanted! I also forego novacaine in almost all cases because you're right-- the pressure and the drilling sound aren't helped by the medicine. Best to breathe through if possible.

  3. I know that for me, after natural childbirth every other pain I've experienced when down the scale by a LOT, so I suspect that's happened to you. Every time a clinician asks me to scale my pain I start the answer with, "I had natural childbirth, so I KNOW what a 10 is."

    I'm so so glad that you:
    1. Found it in you to talk it through with them.
    2. Found an office that would listen and try it your way.
    3. Are now so much more likely to keep going.