Would you ‘Adam and Eve’ it?
I’ve never had toothache in my life, but in the last week I’ve had a grumbling pain in my lower left jaw.
I’ve been a dentist for over 20 years and this should have been relatively easy to figure out. I examined myself, I was able to take some X-ray, I also took some pictures with my intra-oral camera. Turns out it’s not as easy to deal with it on yourself compared to seeing other people. I was going mad. Was it this tooth, that tooth or the other? I couldn’t really see any cause for my pain. I decided to forward the information to a friend and fellow dentist to see if he could see something that I was missing. He couldn’t see any obvious cause for the pain either. So eventually I came up with the solution I must be grinding my teeth at night. There was no other cause. But I was not aware I was grinding. Like most people who grind at night we are all sleeping when it happens. So I made myself a mouth guard and after a few days the pain thankfully started to settle.
I’ve been awfully busy of late and maybe I have neglected myself what with starting a new dental practice and having 3 young kids (which would account for my grinding). I thought I had better go and get my teeth checked.
Turns out it’s not too easy to just drop everything and go see a dentist. Many of them work hours that are not suitable for me. Maybe I won’t like seeing a dentist near me, I don’t know, I’ve never been in this situation.
Eventually I decided to go see one of my best buddies in Edinburgh. I had pretty much decided it was time to get rid of some of these amalgam fillings that have been there for over 20 years anyway. I’m a child of the 60/70s, I live in the West Coast of Scotland, yes I have fillings. So I spoke to Shane who I’ve known from day 1 at university back in 1992, I asked him to change 3 of the fillings.
Although I wasn’t particularly worried about getting fillings. It was good for me to be on the other side of the drill. It’s not nice being in that vulnerable position, trying to keep your mouth wide, trying to breath while 6 hands including a hoover are in your mouth!
Sometimes it’s good to put yourself in your patient’s predicament. It makes you better understand that a visit to the dentist can be an inconvenience, can be uncomfortable, can be a nerve racking experience. But it doesn’t have to be.
That’s why I like doing longer appointments, spending time with patients, giving them lots of breaks. That’s why I work shifts so there is a variety of appointments to suit most people (plus it gets me out of the kids bedtime).
Anyway I’ve finished my treatment and I have 3 lovely new white fillings. I’m not sure why I left it so long. My take home messages, don’t neglect yourself, look after yourself, be good to yourself.
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