Fear of the unknown is natural. Fear is an inborn feeling behind fight or flight. But, all gets obscure, say when a tooth needs to be pulled or filled at the dentist (that is, if you happen to have any fears about it.) In my opinion, fear of the known is probably a problem for most of us bigger than ‘fear of the unknown’.
For example, how about ‘fear of going to the dentist or orthodontist’? I began writing this article minutes before I went to the orthodontist to have a tooth pulled and an implant installed. Once my dentist told me I would have to go to an orthodontist to get a tooth pulled and implant put in its place, I got scared (more at terrified!)
On the way home, I was depressed and upset about it for a week stressed out with sleepless nights counting the days until I was to see my new orthodontist. Then, as if nothing else could go wrong, the night before I was to go to the orthodontist, I chewed on some almonds and broke the side off the tooth in trouble! Here is what I wrote to share with you just minutes before I went for my appointment to have my tooth pulled…
‘I am going to get an implant in their ‘twilight sleep’. I have had a tooth pulled by another orthodontist ten years ago, but never implants. My dentist told me implants had been done since nineteen forty seven without any problems. I think that somewhat calmed me. He also said he had an implant and it was no big deal. The night before I didn’t sleep well. I remember I had vivid dreams but they weren’t about my problem.
I did pray in the dream and my prayers were answered for something unrelated. Two beautiful lizards and a large grasshopper were saved and came back to life. But, how do you face your own fears? Does it even help if yo do? If you are afraid, you are afraid and can’t make yourself unafraid. But, how do you cope with something ‘known’ you fear? What do you do? Some things you will know you have to do, so you do them, even if fearful. But, you will still be afraid. It doesn’t go away!’
So now as I write the hard part of the dreaded dental work is finished. It’s a day later. There’s some pain, discomfort and swelling, but I fit as normal as far as after effects go after operation. I am taking an antibiotic and already stopped taking the ibuprofen. I am doing OK, even though I have a retainer to fill the empty tooth and have some pain and discomfort.
I like the doctor and feel comfortable with him and his clinical expertise. He explained everything he was to do in detail and he is new school. My last doctor who pulled a tooth was ‘old school’. In other words, his training and equipment did the job well enough.
But, he was older and probably didn’t want to go through additional training buying technologically up to date very expensive equipment because he was relatively near retirement. I am sure he had his retirement planned out very well.
My new doctor had everything required to make it a success and I had to initial and sign many documents. The operation and recovery was far less time than all my fearful suffering, anxiety, apprehension, x-rays, consultation and paperwork.
Looking back, the fear factor was the worst part of it. When I was in the operating room chair, I was soon, unconscious. The anesthesiologist kept asking me questions to see how soon I was going under, like ‘what’s the secret to staying married’? I replied, ‘you give in to your wife!’ But, that only works in my current marriage. I have been married more than once. The secret to a happy marriage lies within the character of who you’re married to.
In ending, the orthodontic work took less than an hour to do. Probably from half an hour to forty five minutes. I was in recovery fifteen minutes. And, this is the day after. I am still recovering. It takes about three months to heal to be ready for the crown. I still am alive. I got through it. I am no different than anyone else. And, fortunately for me, I can still sit here and write.