Are you ready to know something really embarrassing about me? As in, I am totally grossed out and ashamed at MYSELF for it? The only reason I'm willing to share now is because I've rectified the situation and am back on the straight and narrow in this regard... but here goes.
Until today, I hadn't been to the dentist in 5 years.
I KNOW. GROSS.
I judge myself, so you can judge for a minute if you need to. Let it be known that while I am not the best in flossing, I brushed my teeth regularly and was not a meth addict or anything. And I only drank soda on the weekends. I go to the doctor at least once a year, and it's not like that's a pleasant thing but for some reason I am so much more averse to the dentist.
Are you still judging? I'll give you a minute to get over it before I get into it some more. Better now? Thanks. Let's move on.
How could I let this happen? Well, let's make a list:
1. From the time I first had teeth to the time I graduated college, my mom made my appointments with our dentist in Topeka and arranged for me to get to them.
2. When I got my own job and insurance, I thought I would have to go to a new dentist. And even if he did end up being covered under my insurance (which I later found out he would have been), I no longer had the luxury of being able to take a day off to go to Topeka for a dentist appointment, which if I went nearby would only mean an hour or two out of work. Since I have major anxiety about the dentist anyway, the idea of going to a stranger was very stressful.
3. After several fits and starts on finding and getting going with a dentist, I began to feel like the amount of time passed would mean that the visit would be exceptionally traumatic. Thus I put it off more. And I definitely didn't want to go to the guy I'd been seeing my whole life after that long - he'd be so disappointed in me!
4. Time just has a way of passing and before you know it... well, a lot of time has passed. It doesn't FEEL like that long ago, but alas.
But last week, I finally went and printed off my Delta Dental insurance card, called a place that had been recommended to me awhile back, and made an appointment. I contritely admitted my delinquency in tooth care and they were not phased. I had my appointment this morning and you know what... IT WASN'T THAT BAD. They took some pictures, the cleaning was gentle, and yes - I do have a couple cavities (mostly because I need to floss better.) but it was nothing like I thought would happen when I got there:
As the dental hygienist assaulted my gums with sharp objects, I hear an audible gasp. "DR. THIS GIRL'S MOUTH IS HORRENDOUS. YOU MUST COME LOOK RIGHT AWAY." The dentist comes in and roughly pries my jaw further open. "Dear Lord! I've never seen anything this disgusting. You're such a gross person! How could you let this happen? Hey, everyone - come look at how bad this chick is at being an adult human and living her life!" A crowd gathers round as the dentist tells me that I will have thousands of dollars in dental work ahead of me to make my mouth even passable as okay.
But really, the dentist was so matter of fact about it. She told me that I "had some stuff going on" but that it happens frequently with people in my age/situation (they call it "college mouth" when a person stops being enforced by their parents in the realm of dental hygiene and lapses in some of the good habits formed earlier on so that when they get back on the wagon things are a little messed up.) But she also said that nothing was so bad that they couldn't take care of it at a surface level and that coming in when I did meant that I saved myself a lot of expense. Then she told me to FLOSS, BITCH. Okay, so she didn't say it like that, but that's what the post-it I'm going to put on my bathroom mirror is going to say.
Also, I will never again attend a dental appointment without first taking a Xanax. I barely ever need them, but my Dr. prescribed it for anxiety and you know what? I have never been more chill/at ease during a dentist visit.
So, moral of the story is - be an adult. Go to the dentist. It's probably not going to be as bad as you think it is and if you keep waiting it will just be worse. If you are looking for one in the Johnson County area, may I recommend Dr. Kelly Thompson DDS in Leawood at Leawood Cosmetic and Family Dentistry. I seriously feel comfortable and welcome there. And if you have anxiety issues and the medication available with which to treat it - do so! There's no reason to feel nervous and uncomfortable if you don't have to.
I'm back on the wagon, with my next 6 month appointment already booked as well as the appointment to fix my "college mouth" so I can start fresh. Adulthood quotient increased!