Today I am going to tell you something, something that I fear may make you look at me in a whole new YOU DISGUSTING GIRL kinda light.
I’m not proud of it, and it’s not big or clever and it’s certainly not the way to selfie super stardom, but OK, well I guess I’ve got nothing to lose, so here goes, I haven’t been to the dentist for a check up in a decade.
IN TEN YEARS.
To the dentist.
Or at least that was true, before 11am this morning.
Let me explain.
I, or so the story goes, ran into a table aged three. It killed my front baby tooth which turned a sweet attractive shade of grey. It refused to fall out, and so my big tooth grew behind it. I remember having an appointment to have the tooth removed so that I could get a brace fitted to help push my new big girl tooth forward, but I cried and I cried and I refused to go into the room and we had to abandon said appointment.
Instead I had to be put to sleep and I remember having to be physically held down by both my mum and the nurses to get the oxygen mask on me.
It might not sound like much, but it’s one of the most traumatic memories from my childhood.
I had a brace fitted, aged 8, and had to wash it with a tooth brush in the school toilets every lunch time. I had three more teeth removed under general anesthetic.
And then train tracks and then a filling which got infected. I was told to make the decision to have it removed or to have a root canal or I’d be in constant pain. That was in 2007, I made no decision, there has been no pain.
I’ve had a handful of emergency appointments over the last 10 years – two for that pesky infected filling and two, in the last year for wisdom tooth pain.
But nothing to actually properly assess my oral health.
I guess it became one of those things that got worse in my head the more time went passed. I associated the dentist with pain and mean ladies and not being properly informed about what was happening to me.
And as I grew from I’M A STUDENT, I MAKE ALL MY DECISIONS into actual grown-up, I kinda felt like I never had enough excess money for a dentist appointment, or enough time to research a decent one, y’know I was just forever making dumb excuses for myself.
I’ve had nights where I’ve laid awake for hours, so sure that my teeth are about to fall out, that they are rotten, that I’d finally get the courage to go to the dentist only for them to look in my mouth and pull away in horror.
I don’t know what changed my mind. I guess it was this idea that whatever may be wrong with my teeth, the worst outcome is pain and discomfort. It is not death, it is not emotional pain, it is not losing someone I love, it is not putting my life at risk, or hurting someone else – it is none of the things in life that really truly hurt more than anything.
I guess I kind of just tried to put it in perspective. IT IS THE DENTIST. THE DENTIST IS NOT A PLACE WHERE BAD THINGS HAPPEN. IT IS A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE HELP YOU.
And so I signed up at a local surgery and waited five weeks for a new patient appointment.
I’ll tell you what, I wasn’t nearly as anxious in the lead-up as I expected to be. I guess after the anxiety and fear or what dragons might be dwelling in my mouth this past decade, I was actually, and maybe this is the wrong word – excited.
Uh huh, excited.
Excited to tick one of the things that keep me awake at night off the list. Goodbye night time anxiety, you bitch.
And so today I went (with Chris to hold my hand because LOL JK not really a sassy independent woman when it comes down to it) and faced my fears.
Having heinous period pain and a heavy cold will, as it turns out, take away all fear of letting a stranger poke about in your mouth. Like meh, already only half with it and in pain, so do your worst to me.
I felt a bit like I’d had a sedative. And then spent most of the time tugging Chris’s sleeve and telling him I was so hot I felt like I might explode into a million pieces.
Y’know when you’re ill but on the sofa and you’re like I’M BASICALLY 100% HEALTHY and so then you’re like yeah sure I can venture out the house, come at me world, and then about 102 seconds in you realise that fucking hell you need you bed and a cold flannel and a Lemsip and maybe a Harry Potter audio tape.
Anyway, to cut to the juicy details – a nice lady poked about my mouth for about three minutes and then said a few words about which teeth were missing to her assistant and then told me that HELLO, I need a filling and a clean.
A FILLING AND A CLEAN.
THAT WAS IT.
AFTER 10 YEARS.
So I’m booked in for a few weeks time to get my mouth looking sexy af.
Point of the story is – things are way worse in your own head than they are in reality. Those dreams where your teeth just fall out in your hand? Yeah, not an accurate representation of real life.
So whatever you’ve been putting off, go give yourself a kick in the butt and get to it – nothing is as bad as your feisty imagination tells you it is.
And then afterwards you can knuckle down to pizza and Netflix and feel like a smug little piglet and what’s better than that?