Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taking Care

There are so many things that we take care of. Big things and small things. Life changing things and little, every day occurrences.

Big Things include, but are not limited to:
  • Mr. Potts
  • Our family (parents, nieces, nephews, brothers & sisters)
  • My health (including my exercising habits, eating habits & overall well-being)
The small thing that is really a BIG thing for me is My TEETH. If you had asked me 5 or 6 years ago if my teeth were a big thing or a small thing, I would have told you small, definitely. You see, back then, I was a vigilant brusher & mouthwash user, but that's about it.

As a teenager, I had braces twice. Twice because I lost too many retainers after my first go round. My mom made me dumpster dive once for a retainer I had thrown away at lunch. Traumatic I tell you. And no, I did not find the retainer.After my second go-round with braces my mom decided that a permanent retainer was the best option for me. You know, so I couldn't lose them again. While it made sense, it was not the best option for me for two reasons.
  1. My teeth are small and the retainer held them tightly in place.
  2. The teeth being so tightly in place made it super hard to floss my front bottom teeth.
Flash forward a few years from the permanent retainer installation. I was in my early 20's and had gone to a dentist for a routine cleaning. He was the roughest dentist I've ever seen. He made all my gums bleed (which I know is a sign of gum issues - smacks head now) and my teeth ached for days.
That night after my cleaning, I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed when all of a sudden I hear a pop in my mouth. I did what most normal people would do & pulled the toothbrush out, spit in the sink & then felt around with my tongue. I was promptly poked in the tongue with something that felt like a needle.

Opening wide I poked around in there only to find that the permanent retainer was not so permanent. The dentist had been so rough that he broke the cement holding my retainer in place. I had a piece of wire hanging off of the back of my tooth & no way to remove it until morning.

I poked my tongue all night and every time I did, I cursed that dentist. The next day he removed the broken wire. I was scarred for life. Ok, maybe not for life, but still!

I didn't go to another dentist for a few years. Maybe I was in denial, but then again, I hated the thought of going through that again.

I moved back to Charlotte several years later & went to visit my Orthodontist. Who promptly told me that I needed to see a dentist asap. He even thought I may need to see a periodontist. Because, you see, in my years of negligence, I had damaged my mouth.

I had receding gums that were so bad they needed tissue grafting (thank me later that the link did not contain pictures!). I went to the periodontist in tears and he assured me that I wouldn't lose my teeth, but that I did need surgery. He told me I had the option of having them prescribe me a Valium before the surgeries, that I would be awake for them, but just relaxed. I asked him if there was another option - no way would I want to be awake! They could anesthetize me? SOLD!! Sign me up!

Two grafting surguries later, I have sufficient gum coverage to keep my teeth healthy and intact.

I also am the Queen of Teeth. I brush with my Sonicare & spend extra time around problem areas. I floss twice a day with a special thick floss that gets them all clean. I brush at work twice a day (gently!) to remove any food & coffee stains (I'm a bit vain about my teeth now, they have to look good!). And I go three times a year to my periodontist for cleaning & exams.Is it worth it to take care of your teeth now? Absolutely! I hated going through those surgeries & the recovery that was involved. Besides, who wants to picture themselves as toothless? I picked a picture of a child from Google images because the ones of adults were just scary!Note: All pictures courtesy of Google Images.


Ashley @ KiwisandCocktails said...

Ahh, painful! I go to the dentist 3 times a year because of my gums! I guess I am just "at risk" for gum disease at this stage...but I am absolutely paranoid about my teeth and gums. Maybe because my friend who works in the dental industry scared me too!
My husband does not go to the dentist often and I personally think his teeth are a mess and it drives me CRAZY! They are SOO important!
I like that tooth brush...I need a new electric one. Maybe I will invest in a Sonicare!
Way to go with all that flossing! :)

Sole Matters said...

wow. one of my high school BFFs also had her gums shaved. it sounded so painful! she also had a perminent retainer connecting her two upper teeth because she couldnt wear metal retainers while she played softball. crazy!

Whitney said...

That is quite an experience you had! I love my dentist, but I never had to have braces or anything else so I will never understand what you had to go through! Thankfully it all turned out ok in the end! And you learned a good lesson!

Jenny DB said...

I'm so impressed with your flossing dedication!! I try to floss every week or so since I've been severely reprimanded by the dentist. When I was younger I used to tell the dentist I flossed but they knew I was lying when my gums started bleeding all over the place:)

Deelsu said...

this is drama! I've had a lot of teeth drama too.
braces for 3-years.. veneers and now 10k later.. gum lasering, crowns on all my top teeth and several root canals..

Notes From the Grove said...

I had braces twice too. No fun!
And I have a clean teeth fetish as well. I can't STAND gross teeth on people, it drives me insane!

Beth Dunn said...

You are amazing! Wow. I love my teeth too I should probably take better care! oxxo


Anonymous said...

My retainer issues involved my pooch. Apparently my little doberman thought his teeth needed straightened too. He cracked that thing so bad. I should have gone for the perm retainer, but I didn't. So, now I still lookk like a kid when I go to bed at night with my wittle retainers

Kelsey @ Seattle Smith's said...

You seriously sound like me! I only had braces once, didn't get the permanent bottom retainer, but after 10 years I then got it to not worry. NOW, I don't flipping floss because it is sooo tight and sometimes pokes my comes to use the looping contraption1 Ohh, the good old Sonicare does the trick!

Musings from Me said...

So glad to read that your dental outcome was good. I had a skin graft this morning to repair the gum on one recessed gum. Need to go back and have another skin graft.

Teeth are so important. I recall noticing one day that my Grandma has no bottom teeth and dentures on her top teeth. I am haunted by this image...not by my Grandma who was a lovely person.

I use a Sonicare, but only floss twice a week. I NEED to floss every day. Probably need a scaling on all teeth.

Cody Zieba said...

That was such a painful experience! I don’t blame you if you had a trauma after seeing that dentist. But it’s a good thing that you had the heart to go to one after a few years! And in good time too! You have to wonder what would have happened to your mouth if you didn’t. So how are your teeth now? Do you still have retainers?

Cody Zieba