Monday, July 25, 2011

The Dentist

Day 295

Until today, I had never cried in the dentist's chair. I often cried due to anxiety before an appointment. And sometimes I shed a tear after the appointment because I was either relieved or in pain. But today I cried before, during, and after! It was a special treat for my dentist. I found out today that I am losing another tooth, a molar, because both the root canal and crown have failed. So I was mostly crying because I couldn't stop thinking of that $1500 I could have spent on a trip to Mexico, or a new wardrobe, or as a down payment on a car, or ANYTHING other than a pointless root canal and crown. But I was also crying because my teeth are important to me. I think they are to most people. Losing teeth at the age of 28 is one more reminder of all the crappy decisions I've made throughout my life. It's one more "Hey stupid- why didn't you take better care of yourself?"

Anyway, my dentist did a remarkable job of calming me down. As we sat in his quiet, soothing-colored office (far away from the chair and scary instruments), he took his time explaining all the work that must be done in my mouth. And he was careful to use only an affirming vocabulary the entire time. (He should do everything to comfort me- I will, very shortly, be financing his trip to Mexico. His new wardrobe. His down payment on a car.) But in return I will hopefully keep the majority of my teeth for a few more years, and a little of my dignity. I should mention that my dentist has been my dentist since I was 3. I have never sat in another's chair. I truly believe that the man is concerned for my dental hygiene, as well as my overall health and happiness.

I didn't know this until today, but my Mom told me that my Grandma lost all of her teeth when she was 35. All of them! And she is still thriving at 96. It was a classic, OPRAH-style AHA! moment. Why have I been wasting so much energy on my teeth? Or anything similar that just...doesn't...matter? I guarantee my Grandma hasn't thought about her missing teeth in 40 years, or more- and she's lived a very full, purposeful life. I have got to do my best to keep up with the things I have control over- and just let go of everything else.

So how do I go about doing that? Is there a class or something?


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