NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Dental Stuff

November2

*Trigger Warning for dental descriptions, including what I feel was abusive*

I went to a new dentist this afternoon. I was nervous. I have had some very bad and very traumatic experiences at the dentist and once with a periodontist. Not in the “oh no, needles and drills, so scary” sort of way, but of actual brutality, outright rip offs and denial of my request in the name of profit. Yep, I’m that gal.

At age 14 I had what was supposed to be a root canal. The insurance paid for a root canal, but it ended up being just a very fancy fucking filling. With 3D imaging and all…and this was 1992, y’all! Then I was the one who actually said no to the prettier porcelain crown for a back molar because my dad’s insurance wouldn’t cover it. I was 16 or 17 and that dentist insisted, “But you have such pretty teeth. No we will just wait until you can afford a porcelain one.” That same tooth, yep same as the non-root canal one, had to be extracted 7 years later and it is now an empty gap in my tooth line.

Most recently I had to go to a periodontist for a gum lengthening surgery. They basically cut away your gum line so that a crown may be placed more securely once healed from the surgery. Only this bastard fucked me up! I mean for real…my face looked like I’d been in a barroom brawl. Worse still, he fucking joked about being so rough with me. Didn’t bother to introduce himself, just went right to work and bruised my arm, too, from holding it down too firmly. When he was done he admitted to being extra hard on me, no reason was given. I felt fucking brutalized. I was shaking and crying by the time I handed over my credit card to pay for this abuser’s “talents.” The receptionist was a total bitch about it, too. I had to sit in my car for twenty minutes before I could see well enough to drive, I was loudly sobbing. I drove home and waited for the Novocaine to wear off.  I later told my dentist what this periodontist had done, how I felt and his joke about being rough on me. He was very apologetic, said he’d never refer anyone to him again and that he’d call him. I  got a half-assed, half-joking apology from the periodontist on my voice mail. I couldn’t bear the thought of returning to his grips so I asked my dentist if I could have him take out my stitches, but there was no need, they came out on their own.

Now I’ve been with my last dentist for about ten years or so. He’s always been so gentle and explains things in a way that I understand. He’s the first dentist that didn’t leave me in horrible pain and bleeding from a cleaning. No, this dentist is awesome as hell. I was majorly bummed when he took a two year medical leave, but was grateful and thankful that his health improved and he returned to his practice. I have never even felt the Novocaine shot, not once. He does this rad cheek jiggle thing and I feel nothing. He’s done so much work on my teeth, too. So for me to even consider another dentist is a serious thing. And so I was procrastinating making an appointment at my husband’s new dentist.

My husband, thank the stars for him, he’s very careful and concerned about chemicals and technologies and things. He found a holistic dentist near us and without so much as a google search, he made an appointment. This dentist uses digital x-rays to reduce radiation exposure. She’s very big on replacing old, metal fillings. I found out today that they shrink and can break and chip your teeth as a result. Anyway, he went and liked the dentist and her assistant and receptionist and said I’d be comfortable there, too. He said his cleaning was “spa-like.” That didn’t seem possible to me, but I was hopeful and so I made my appointment finally and had an exam and cleaning today.

What can I say? She was thorough, took lots of x-rays and went over everything with me. She recommended a “treatment plan” for like two years or something. I found this unusual, but cool. When she asked about any concerns I may have I told her my periodontist story. As I was telling the story and showed her where the bruises were I saw her shudder in horror. I started to tear up, too. I hadn’t told the story in so long. Somehow retelling it was like reliving it again. Classic trauma. She examined the other molar that I would need a crown on and she agreed that I needed the gum lengthening surgery but that she knows of a periodontist locally that has incredible credentials and that she herself has had that same surgery from. I was relieved to hear that she’d had the same surgery from this periodontist with no problems. Then she said, “Plus, you know, she’s a lady so perhaps she’s just more gentle or aware. It’s never a fun surgery, but I didn’t have much pain.” I thanked her for the testimonial. She was shocked at my story and said she’d never heard anything like it before. I was sad to tell her that I didn’t know the fucker’s name but that he was local and just up the street from her office.

And so it begins. A new chapter in my dental history. I am sore/raw from having my teeth cleaned. More so than I would be with my old dentist. But I was able to eat lunch after without too much discomfort or pain. I go in on Monday for a cavity to be filled. I’m nervous. That shot of Novacaine will be the real test for me. If I feel it or something isn’t right, I know I won’t go back. I’ll keep her referral for her periodontist, but I’ll go back to my guy for the actual crown and further dental work that may be needed. She didn’t seem responsive when I explained that I had no intention of getting an implant in my molar gap because it’s 3-4 thousand dollars. She said I could do it over two years in three stages. *HeadDesk* I should have just told her that I’m fucking poor and unemployed, but that’s not always an easy thing to say to someone you don’t know and just met.

The funniest bit of today was when I was about to leave I was suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to change my outfit. I was wearing jeans and a cute top combo, but walked out in a black dress and bright orange teggings. I don’t even know, y’all…I just don’t even know. Now I’m in my “comfy pants” and I couldn’t care less what anyone thinks about it. Sometimes we just gotta do what feels right, ya know?

So, give me your dental testimonials. Tell me the horror stories and the wondrous positive ones, too! Anything you do that helps calm your nerves in such moments? Tips, advice, anything you got…is very welcomed! Thanks for readin.

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posted under Bullshit
12 Comments to

“Dental Stuff”

  1. On November 2nd, 2011 at 4:26 pm rebelle Says:

    I’ve only ever had one dentist in my life. He explained things as he was doing them and tended to be quite gentle and understanding. He liked to use laughing gas (nitrous oxide) for any kind of surgery though, and that’s how I found out that laughing gas makes me hallucinate beeping noises and fade in and out of consciousness. Totally not his fault.

  2. On November 3rd, 2011 at 10:03 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Reebelle: Oh wow, I’ve never had the gas, it freaks me out to not be conscious or in control of my body/actions. Especially after that 20/20 or dateline or whatever where they found dentists molesting women. UGH! Too scary! But thank you so much for sharing your experiences.

  3. On November 2nd, 2011 at 8:11 pm erylin Says:

    i read somewhere that redheads feel pain more. You are a natural redhead right? maybe that is your issue? i mean the dentist is no joke it HATE it….but my hatred stems from my ED. Every time i go to the dentist i feel like i have to explain that my teeth suck NOT because i dont brush, but because i puked all the time….ugh. i am actually putting off a much needed look at 2 cracked teeth and a painful throb in a third but i hate it so much i am still procrastinating

  4. On November 3rd, 2011 at 10:06 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Erylin: Yeah, I read that as well and my immediate thought was that it was bullshit. I always thought I had a higher pain threshold. I mean, my last tattoo was 8 hours with only a 30 minute break in the middle. It was horrible pain, I was doing breathing exercises, but it was also right on my ankle bone. Hmm…I am a natural redhead. But I don’t know about the pain thing. I’ll ask some other redhead friends and see what I find. All I can say about putting off going to the dentist: don’t! It’s not worth waiting. Especially if you’re in pain, hun. Fuck shame and guilt or whatever. Nobody should be judging you there. They should be there to help and to heal and nothing more. Wish I lived near ya, I’d go with you. I used to have my husband go with me. No shame in it. It’s a team effort if you need it to be, no worries. <3

  5. On November 3rd, 2011 at 5:38 am Heather Says:

    I haven’t been to a dentist in many many years- no insurance. We finally got some insurance so now I’m going to have to face the piper- my husband’s already been and says his guy is really really nice. Last time I went to the dentist (when I was 19 I think) I had a filling put in but it kept popping out! three times! I had it put back in the first two and then I couldn’t go back… so since the filling fell out- again- that tooth will, of course, probably need to be removed (i guess they might be able to do a bridge). My current insurance doesn’t even have dental.. we’re just lucky enough to finally be able to go anyway.

  6. On November 3rd, 2011 at 10:08 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Heather: My husband’s insurance doesn’t cover our dental either, but they have this health savings account that we use for my glasses and dental stuff. It’s only a small amount per month in it, but it does add up and every little bit counts. Most dentists, especially now, offer payment plans and even discounts for cash. Just ask. I have been surprised when my husband asks for a cash discount at places. Seems a good deal for both parties now that credit card companies have gone nuts with fees. I hope you go and have a lovely experience. <3

  7. On November 3rd, 2011 at 10:28 am Patsy Nevins Says:

    I wish you luck. I have no dental coverage right now, no insurance of any kind, & have to wait about 3 years to have Medicare, if the government doesn’t take it away from us before then. However, I am a fanatic about dental hygiene, brush thoroughly 2-3 times daily, floss at least once & most days twice, usually use mouthwash or fluoride rinse, etc. I lost some teeth early, some of them fortunately baby teeth, due to parental negligence, but I have good, strong teeth. I am also a natural redhead & we do indeed feel pain more, have more adverse reactions to medications/anesthetics, need more, have more allergic reactions, etc. However, I have to admit that I have never had pain from cleanings. I am very sorry that you have so much pain from them. And I am really sorry that you have been abused.

    I had an early experience with an abusive dentist, too, ironically another redhead. I have also been abused in various ways or mistreated one way or another by other doctors, as have family members. I avoid the medical profession in all its branches as much as I can & have a very adversarial relationship with its practitioners. No one will ever get away with blithely prescribing any medication to me unless I am convinced it is necessary & that its benefits greatly outweigh the risks. I don’t like to go to doctors & I expect they don’t like to see me coming; I am what they usually term ‘non-compliant’, because I never forget that it is MY body & MY business & my ultimate right to choose what happens to it & that they are not gods, but my employees, whom I can fire. I also never forget that there is not one medical practitioner in 20 who has any real knowledge about fat, nutrition, & related topics. I am a great self-advocate, but a lousy patient.

    Take care of yourself & I hope that your future experiences are much better than the past ones.

  8. On November 3rd, 2011 at 3:27 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Patsy: I feel the same as you about medical doctors and it amazes me that people still look up to them as idols or gods or what have you. Blegh! Luckily I had a grandmother who was an RN and made no bones about telling me enough stories to make me see them as humans and nothing more. I hate that they get away with treating people so poorly, especially to the extent of abuse. I think it’d be great to create a network of advocates for anyone to call upon to accompany those who aren’t able or comfortable enough to speak up for themselves in such situations. I’m not sure if something like this already exists, but I almost want to insist upon a fat-friendly branch of it if it does. Thanks so much for sharing your story here. <3

  9. On November 4th, 2011 at 5:21 pm Mulberry Says:

    I’ve had some work done at a nearby dental school, after getting a rather steep e$timate of what the same work would cost at a periodontist.
    I’ve never had good teeth. I’m sure that if I lost teeth, I’d start getting cavities in my gums.
    Used to be I’d go to the dentist once or twice a year. I always had cavities. The one time I didn’t, I suspected it was because I’d run out of places to get them. For some reason, insulin resistance is murder on teeth.
    Then a few years ago, I came down with a lung disease. For at least a year and a half, I could move only with great difficulty, becoming severely short of breath after just a few yards of walking. I only went out of the apartment to go to doctors. More routine medical matters fell by the wayside, including dental appointments.
    With the help of some drugs, I finally felt better enough to take care of what I’d put off. My teeth were in sad shape and I had to get a lot of them removed (yes, I’d had a few opinions on this, and the dentists were in agreement on that matter). If any of you out there have teeth like mine, don’t neglect the dental appointments if you can help it.
    I don’t have dental coverage either. I almost got it years ago, but the amount they’d reimburse was laughably low and not at all worth it.
    I know a lot of folks are down on the medical profession in general, with good reason. Perhaps I’ve been fortunate to find some good people along the way (not without some lemons here and there).
    As an alternative to implants, I’m getting a partial denture. They’re cheaper than implants by one whole decimal place. It’s analogous to choosing between eyeglasses and laser eye surgery.
    NotBlue, I’m happy for you that you’ve found a decent dentist or two. Some of them appear to have been trained by the guy in Little Shop of Horrors.

  10. On November 4th, 2011 at 7:31 pm MelanieSuzanne Says:

    I’ve been lucky that my dentists have been pretty gentle and my current one is an absolute GEM because he’s got tiny, tiny hands. 🙂 My orthodontist — I got braces (for the second time in my life) a few months ago — is also a doll and his staff is super friendly. Probably because they mostly deal with kids and have to be gentle with them.

    Periodontists and oral surgeons, in my experience, have been awful, cruel people to a one. I don’t know if it’s the surgical training or what, but they seem to act like rock stars and don’t give a flying fig about the people they’re working on. I was never bruised by the female periodontist (who was the WORST person I’d ever had the displeasure of meeting), but she cut my mouth up pretty badly outside of the surgery area and didn’t care that I kept drowning in my own saliva. I complained about her to my dentist at the time and never saw her again.

    I hope I never need oral surgery or another tooth pulled. I count my blessings that my regular dentist and orthodontist are so great, though.

  11. On November 21st, 2011 at 3:58 pm Ashley Says:

    As a dental hygienist, I just want to say how sorry I am for your experience! We are health care providers and, therefore, NOT to do harm. Luckily, you seem to have found someone who works for you. But I do have to play a bit of a Devil’s Advocate here. Bleeding during cleanings is very common and doesn’t necessarily mean misconduct on the HCP’s part. While some hygienists and dentists are heavy-handed, the lightest touch can bring upon bleeding in certain patients. Plaque causes an inflammation process in the gums, which in turn, leads to bleeding. However, what the periodontist did to you was inexcusable!

    Also to erylin, a well-educated Dentist should be able to tell the difference between teeth broken down due to regurgitation from teeth broken down due to neglect. I would advice finding a better office.

  12. On November 21st, 2011 at 4:09 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Ashley: Thank you! It’s nice to hear from a pro! I will say that bleeding during a cleaning is one thing, I have had instances where it lasted a couple of days. Not in ages, thank the stars, but still. terrible stuff.

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