It is three in the morning. I'm roused from sleep thinking about dentists, the cost and inefficiency of dental insurance and the state of my mouth. You see, I have an appointment with a specialist for a root canal in mid-January. There are many opportunities for sleepless nights between now and then. Yes I have some regrets. I distinctly remember my mother would sweetly remind me as an eight year old to brush my teeth. Early rebellion. Delayed misery. I don't think dental floss was invented yet.
Growing up I loved going to the dentist. Dr. Petrin who had a gaggle of children in his own house was adept at making each appointment fun liberally blowing air here and there to incite laughter in his young patient. My father would sometimes come along and visit with Mr. Petrin, the dentist dad. It was a place where I felt safe despite the smells and sounds and I could get Chiclets gum after the exam.
Come adulthood. I am terrified. Hence the three a.m. wake up call. Now, local dentists tend to farm patients out to specialists. They don't know my mouth. They don't know my history beyond what's on paper. They don't that it took weeks to stir up enough courage to call the dentist on a Friday and the office was closed. My second attempt, weeks later in a moment of strength was made on the eve of a holiday-closed again. The appointment should have happened months ago. They don't know of my sleepless nights. My TMJ... They don't know. This root canal guy could only talk root canal. He did not talk other options, cost or anything. Ugh. Each office is a sequence of terror.
Just before bed (bad idea), I read an article about the connection between breast cancer and root canals. While I don't believe everything I read, it makes me think and I ain't smiling. Clearly, I am in a fix.
OK young ones. Listen to your mother. Brush your teeth. You will save yourself some sleep...and likely your teeth.