This morning* I finally told my dental hygienist (of 11+ years) that I was raised in CS. The tone of her “oh” made it clear she’d heard of it (and not in a good way). It was a somewhat one-sided conversation (she was busy cleaning my teeth), and she asked a lot of yes/no questions (was my husband also raised CS? family? etc.).
She didn’t press for too much information, my acknowledged dental anxiety (heart rate of 104) and x-rays speak for themselves. The information of my CS background gives further context without going into detail. I feel better having (finally) told her. Maybe one day she’ll google former Christian Scientists and find my blog. *waves hi*
Like many former Christian Scientists, I have a rich history of dental anxiety. I’ve been fortunate to have found an amazing dentist, who works with amazing experts — an excellent oral surgeon, an empathetic endodontist, and a wonderful dental hygienist who encourages me to think of my hour cleaning as “a spa day for your teeth.” I no longer feel compelled to pray about cavities, but even after 11+ years of positive dental experiences in an incredibly supportive dental practice, I still hide under the covers the night before, engulfed in anxiety, have nervous upset tummy troubles the day of, and often sob in the car after — even if the appointment went okay.
I know that dental problems are not a moral issue, but in the back of my mind, on some level, they’re still my fault. I could/should have done something more, and any pain I suffer through is of my own making. These days I should floss more, waterpik more, and use mouthwash more regularly. In my mind, it is now practical things I can control, not just I should have prayed more.
Then there are the things I can’t control. The wisdom tooth that came in without enough space, the root canal that had to be fixed (redone) because the first dentist had missed an entire root.
The little troll voice in the back of my head is taunting me with the notion if I’d taken better care of the tooth in the first place it wouldn’t have needed that work done.
Tough, little troll voice, what happened to cause it is in the past, and I have to deal with the present results. I am doing what I need to do for my health and taking care of my self and my teeth is part of that.
*It was this morning when I told her, not this morning when this post was published. I held off on publishing this for a little while, as it was a bit fresh and raw.