Three weeks ago, I went to the dentist for a check up. I had waited longer than usual for a number of reasons that I won’t elaborate on. Let’s just say, for the first time in a long time, I was dreading the appointment.
And rightly so. I was seeing a new dentist, and he took a whole battery of xrays, revealing all the nooks and crannies of my teeth. For the record, nooks and crannies are not things you want in your teeth because in the dentistry world they have a different name for those. Cavities.
I had four cavities, and since it worked out in the schedule, I had all four of them filled at the same time two days later.
It was horrible. Dentists always have a hard time getting me numb, so when I could still feel the drilling after seven, yes SEVEN, shots, in the mouth, I told him just to keep going. I ended up with my jaw unhinged for more than an hour, and when the anesthetic wore off, my mouth was sore. But I took some ibuprofen and didn’t think much of it.
Until the medicine wore off.
For the next several days I took the ibuprofen around the clock, the pain even waking me up at night. I had never had this experience of pain with fillings, but I just assumed it was taking a while for my mouth to recover.
Days turned into weeks, and the pain persisted. If I let the ibuprofen wear off, my jaw ached, every bite would cause me to shudder; hot, cold, sweet and salty were all painful.
Finally, I called the dentist.
As I sat in the chair nearly three weeks later, he said, “Oh, I wish you would have called sooner. We just need to adjust your bite.”
“Well, you told me that might happen when I left your office that day,” I said.
“And you didn’t believe us, did you?” the dentist joked as he poked purple paper in my mouth and told me to grind.
“I believed you; I just didn’t realize what I was feeling was the result of needing my bite adjusted,” I said, defending myself.
And so, with drill in hand, the dentist shaved off the teeniest, tiniest bit of dental composite, and within minutes the pain began to ease. I couldn’t even see the difference, but I could feel it with my tongue. And the stress on my jaw bone was reduced by the adjustment. My teeth have continued to ache a little over the next couple of days, but gradually, I am reducing my iboprofen intake.
Soon, I’ll be eating ice cream again without the help of NSAIDS.
Makes me wonder: what other tiny changes could I make in my life and experience such a big improvement?
Photo by by Shakespearesmonkey via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License.