Today, I made a trip to the dentist. It was the first time in seven years that I’d been there for a scheduled appointment instead of an emergency. When you don’t have dental insurance, going to see the dentist tends to take a backseat in priority to the potential cost. At least until you can’t sleep because one of your teeth is throbbing.
In the past three years, I’ve had to have a root canal and three teeth pulled. Right now, I’m trying to save the rest of them. Dental health is no joke people! Painful teeth make it difficult to eat right, they can interfere with your activity level, and you may not even know how much they are affecting you until they are taken care of.
I’ve suffered from sensitive teeth for years now. I thought using (insert leading sensitive toothpaste here) would solve this problem, but I kept getting more and more sensitive over time. After I had one of those teeth out (these are all back teeth, btw), the sensitivity in my front top teeth, while not completely gone, has been drastically reduced.
Keep in mind now, I brush on the daily and I try to remember to floss. I’ve gotten a lot better about remembering and my gums haven’t been so sensitive lately. So today, I went in for a cleaning.
They ended up numbing the upper left half of my mouth and had to do a total resurface below the gum line. I’m not kidding when I say that I thought I had been doing a good job. And I only actually have one cavity right now that needs to be filled. But I need three more appointments for them to do the same on the other side, and each side on the bottom.
Now, I know, this sounds horrendous and painful. But since they numbed my mouth, I honestly didn’t feel much of anything. I am lucky to have a great dentist who has been extremely understanding and compassionate.
But when we talk about taking care of our bodies, we need to talk about taking care of our whole bodies, including our mouths. They are how we nourish ourselves! And given that gum disease is linked to not just to tooth loss, but also heart disease, diabetes, and dementia (yeah, I’m not kidding about that, see sources below), it is so important to take good care of our teeth and gums.
Even if you don’t have insurance, there are a lot of dentists out there that will work with you on payment plans, Care Credit is a great resource that makes paying for dental work easier, and there are other dental care plans out there that can help. Don’t put off seeing your dentist any longer than you have to. Just like preventative care at the doctor, dentists are there to help stop problems before they become disasters.