Grin and bear it

tooth with sad face


Finally went to the dentist after seven years

The dentist always makes me a bit nervous.

So much so that I’ve managed to put it off for seven years – ever since I had a back tooth pulled out (under the soothing blanket of laughing gas).

However, Joe went out of his way to get me a spot at the dentist he goes to (he can do that, now we’re married!) and I didn’t want to be ungrateful. I haven’t been able to get on the waiting list for any of the NHS dentists in this town, so I don’t mind the 15-mile trip if it means a less bank-breaking experience.

Why so worried?

I don’t think it’s the hospital-like atmosphere that worries me about the dentist, as I’m much better in medical situations than I used to be (thanks to a few health issues requiring recurring visits).

No, I think it comes down to the old stalwart: rejection sensitivity! I dread being told off for the state of my teeth and, the longer I left it, the more likely I was to be berated by whichever poor dentist ended up probing my gnashers.

Shame and sensitivity

I had a horrible dentist when I was about 11, who was so mean when describing a cavity in my tooth that Mum made me change dental practice immediately (this being back in the day when such a thing was possible).

True, my dental hygiene left a lot to be desired: Mum was ill and couldn’t chivvy me into brushing thoroughly and regularly. Being an undiagnosed ADHD kid, I was unlikely to remember and equally unlikely to go through with it (having to concentrate on something physically unpleasant for two minutes? Yuck, no thanks).

As a result, dental hygiene has long been a ‘shame point’ for me. Although I’m now pretty good about brushing thoroughly twice a day, I did neglect my poor chompers for years: from disorganised child to drunk young adult.

Added to that, my ADHD medication (Elvanse/Vyvanse) has the unpleasant side effect of dry mouth, which is terrible for your teeth.

Grin and bear it

So, it was an unhappy Frankie who hauled herself out of bed an hour early this morning, ready to venture onto the motorway at rush hour.

As it happened, of course, everything was fine (apart from being 15 minutes late due to an unintended detour and an aborted attempt at parallel parking).

The dentist was a lovely woman who patiently cleaned the seven years of “can’t get with a toothbrush” gunk from between my teeth, and kindly told me that I’d need a couple of fillings and to be more careful to brush my gumline.

 I’ve also been given a prescription for super-strong toothpaste with special mind-control levels of fluoride, to protect my pearly whites from the dry mouth side effect.

Staying sharp

Now I need to keep on top of my ADHD brain and make sure I:

  • Find and purchase an electric toothbrush
  • Find and purchase either floss or one of those little bottle brush thingies, which might hurt less
  • Turn up to three appointments in March to patch up the damage to my toofers

I’m feeling pretty good right now! 😊


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