The Drilling Hour

I’ve always had lousy teeth in spite of a relatively healthy diet, and I’ve had to endure hours of agony in the dentist’s chair as a kid. I still remember staring at a Moomin (a Finnish children’s icon) poster in the ceiling through my tears, trying desperately to think of ice-cream as the cheerful dental assistant had instructed, but to no avail. The pain was horrendous. It was nothing to do with ice-cream. I never really grew to like the Moomins either.

The dentist was a nice enough old man who gave me toys afterwards but there was no doubt in my young mind of what he was doing. He was torturing me. This was made worse by the fact that the stuff they injected to numb my mouth didn’t actually work on me all that well and I felt both the pain from the injection as well as the subsequent torture.

As an adult I had three of my wisdom teeth removed. The first one hurt so much (even though the dentist kept saying “you’re just feeling the pressure”) that I couldn’t stop crying and felt like a fly that’s been swatted and left to die for the rest of the day. For the next two extractions I was wiser and told the dentist to apply as much of the anesthetic as possible. He gave me six injections after which I felt just a little bit of pain, but I endured it gladly. It wasn’t that bad.

I haven’t been to a dentist for a few years. The last time I went, the dentist said that while my final wisdom tooth was okay, it was basically useless so if I got bored I should come and have it taken out. I haven’t gotten that bored yet.

This is why I have felt like such a big liar when my kids have gone to their dental check-ups and I’ve told them “there’s nothing to worry about, it won’t hurt one jot!” (Luckily they haven’t been drilled yet.) That’s also why I was so thrilled to read about this new Australian study that came out just a day or two ago. These people have researched a way to treat small cavities without the drill. No more drill and fill. Just apply some fluoride varnish and brush better. I am so thrilled.

The researchers realized that instead of being a rapidly progressing disease, it takes about four to eight years for the first signs of dental decay to progress into a full-blown cavity. The initial signs of decay, which are on the tooth’s outer layer, the enamel, won’t progress to the inner part, the dentine for years, unlike the ignorant dentists of my childhood thought. The best part is that these researchers have come up with a solution to stop and reverse this initial decay with a high-concentration fluoride varnish.

Some of the stuff in this study was very familiar. They recommended to reduce the amount of snacks (I still refuse to believe that coffee is a snack), and develop better brushing skills. Been there, done that. Of course this study doesn’t mean that you can eat what you like and never brush, but I’m cool with that. I’m willing to do my part as long as they keep that drill away from me. With this new study I hope to gain some courage to enter the dentist’s office again. If they find a small cavity, I’ll order some fluoride varnish while brandishing this study. If they find a large cavity I might still have to run.

The days of the Drill are counted. I hope.


 

Here’s the link to the article I read on the subject:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151206164802.htm

 

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13 thoughts on “The Drilling Hour

  1. The freezing never works on me either, now I just opt not to have it. Something about red head DNA that makes it harder for it to set in and work? Not sure. But on the flip side, Moomin is super popular here in Korea! One of the girls in my class tonight has a Moomin purse and a little Moomin stuffy for her phone hehe.

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    1. I’d heard that the Japanese love the Moomins but I didn’t know it was popular in Korea, too! Red hair is a very possible cause. My hair has a slightly red tone to it, too. Hmm…

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    1. I hope so too. Sometimes it takes ages for the new research to make it to practice. I hope they won’t waste any time with this one. 🙂

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  2. Gosh! The best news EVER! I can’t stand going to the dentist either! I still remember my excruciating root canal when I was a kid! I don’t know why they can’t simply numb every single nerve before drilling!…I can’t stand scaling either. I’ve got weak gums that constantly bleed and I’ve tried flossing, applying turmeric (& other home remedies) all in order to avoid the visit, but no luck! 😦 I’ve heard of oil pulling, but never tried that…. just hope this varnish holds that miracle cure! 🙂

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    1. I’ve actually been doing some oil pulling. I’m that desperate. Not sure if it works in my case since I haven’t been to the dentist, but I’ve read some studies saying that it’s a bona fide treatment.

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  3. They do the treatment if you come early and have no hole yet. My friend just took her young daughter to Dublin to have such treatment. It isn’t available in the town where she lives.

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    1. Good to hear that you’re up to date in Ireland. With age I’ve grown more used to enduring pain but especially my kids would benefit by this (if they’ve inherited my teeth).

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  4. Thank you for the link! I am blessed with great teeth – 16 before I had my first filling. My dental hygiene habits have not changed and my diet is healthier than ever (what do they put in our food these days 🙂 ), however, I noticed 3 tiny spots starting – no hole yet. This fluoride treatment promises to be good news indeed!

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    1. My husband’s got great teeth too. He was actually told by a dentist when he was a kid that he could almost skip brushing. Luckily he doesn’t, though 😀

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