Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Well, At Least I've Got My Teeth...

I used to hate going to the it PTSD from scary dentist childhood trauma or just the idea of having someones potentially dirty hands in my mouth...whatever the cause, I used to hate it. I'm still not all that "keen" about the idea, but I go like clockwork--every six months--whether I think I need it or not.

I have excellent dental insurance, so my every-six-months-whether-I-need-it-or-not trips are free...yep, free. Xrays, cleaning, and seeing Dr. Patty, my a bit too happy on any given day dentist. I've been seeing Dr. Patty almost as long as I've lived in Seattle, minus the first 2 years I flew back to Houston every six months to see Dr. Bonnie! That's right...I fear change...and it seemed easier to make two trips a year back to Texas for dentist/eye doctor/medical check ups than finding new people in Seattle to "understand" me. LOL

Dr. Patty's dental office is staffed with all hairy-armed men sticking their mitts down my throat! You get blankets and a TV in the ceiling with high tech computer screens on either side of the dental chair to display any Xrays taken (thank goodness I have such good insurance!) and headphones with Mp3's if any nasty drilling is to be done. It's almost better than a spa! But not quite...

For the past several years, my every-six-months-whether-I-need-it-or-not checkups have resulted in NO dental work needed. I am usually praised on the "fine job" I've done taking care of my teeth and released back out into the wild to eat candy and all the crap I can shove in my mouth. LOL Today's check up was no different, minus a brief alarm.

When Dr. Patty came in for her "official" exam following my cleaning, she peered and poked inside my mouth with some gasping. You see, all the steroids I've taken PLUS Novantrone recently has given me stomatitis, AKA sores in my mouth and gums. I'm just used to the blisters that occur and never really give them a second thought...there's really NOTHING that slows down my eating after all. LOL And the sores DO go away with time. My mouth is generally sore for about a week, then everything heals up nicely and I'm back to sliding candy and crap down my throat without a care in the world.

But Dr. Patty has never SEEN my mouth immediately following Novantrone...and I believe she may have thought I had contracted a deadly disease by the look on her face (behind her mask, of course). She obviously wasn't quite certain how to approach the subject or tell me about the sores, so she said, "Has your mouth or gums been bothering you lately?"

I replied with my typical, "No, not really" response once she exited my mouth for conversation. I think I am just so used to these sores that occur, I had no idea why she was asking.

"Really!" she exclaimed in somewhat disbelief. "Are you aware you have several open areas on your gums...they look like blisters actually. Have you burned your mouth somehow?"

It finally sunk through my thick skull what she was inquiring about and I responded, "Oh that. That's just stomatitis from my Novantrone. It goes away eventually."

After several minutes of educating Dr. Patty about Novantrone and its use in treating Multiple Sclerosis, she seemed relieved to know I was not spreading contagion around her office. We chit chatted about my MS, recent relapse, and treatment for a few more minutes as I explained to her the progression that has occurred over the past few years and WHY I am taking Novantrone now.

Being the all-too-happy eternal optimist Dr. Patty is, she turned her head to the side as her eyes twinkled (because she wears a mask, I couldn't see her smile, but I'm sure it was there) and exclaimed, "Well, at least you've got your healthy teeth!" Shortly after this comment, she left my exam cube to tend to another patient.

I have decided THIS is going to be my new mantra when I start to feel down in the dumps about my MS or anything really..."At least I've got my teeth!" When I can think of nothing else to feel positive about, when life throws me lemons, when everything around me seems to be falling apart...AT LEAST I'VE GOT MY TEETH!...and that, my friends, IS something to be thankful for...LOL...


Miss Chris said...

There always is someting positive to think about for those willing to look for it. I find I'm guilty of focusing on the negative so I need to take lessons from you.

Anne said...

When your mouth is sore like that, ask your GP to order liquid Lidocaine (RX and comes in 4 ounce bottle). You swish it for about 30 seconds, spit it out and don't drink or eat anything for about an hour.

One hour or more of pure pain relief!


adina said...

That reminds me of an add a local dentist has hanging by his front door: “Let us take care of the teeth you’d like to keep.”
It cracks me up every time I drive by.
My mantra these days is , “well at least I can mess up another man” !!! (goes without saying that teeth are present)
Anyway, it’s good to see you in a good, funny mood !!
Hope you’re feeling better and you have flushed out already all that nasty stuff steroids and chemo invaded your body with….

Sara said...

yes, especially when in the UK the dental care is absolute poo . . . was just a recent article on BBC about how more & more people are doing their own "at home dental care" aka pulling bad teeth out with pliers & the like - how nasty is that?!?!? AND TRUST ME, being American & growing up with good dental care like you have (every 6 month check ups, braces, retainers, more braces, wisdom teeth pulled, more retainers, etc) I'm grossed out by many of the smiles I see over here, so YES, you should be happy you have teeth & healthy ones as well :)

Peej said...


In 2 hours I have a dental appt too. This appt is to "fix" the tooth that broke off when it met a popcorn kernel it didn't like.

It's a new dentist, the trip will cost a 10.00 co-pay just for the xrays (and cleaning if they decide the teeth are worth that much work) with, what I'm afraid will be a very LARGE co-pay for the "fix".


harkoo said...

On a WILD Saturday night, i cracked a tooth in half biting onto a popcorn kernel and it had to be pulled. On another WILD Saturday night with caramel chews, I cracked another tooth and had to have it pulled. Now I am being told to replace the one nearer the front, it will cost me $4000 to be socially presentable. Enjoy your dental insurance while you have it cause it ain't no fun trying to come up with that kind of money without it!!!!

Joan said...

Well, at least I've still got my caps and crowns and fillings!



Unfortunately, this was said with "tongue in cheek" if you will...another pun intended! LOL




And does that Lidocaine come in a shower gel??? LOL




Aren't dentists just a bit weird choosing that profession? I am always reminded of Steve Martin in "Little Shop Of Horrors"!

I'm holding my own 'bout you?




One of my few features that I can actually say isn't all that bad...teeth are straight, but my smile is a crooked smirk and there aren't any braces to fit my lips!




My mother used to say swearing caused cavities...if that were true, I'd have a full set of false teeth by now!




I'd say you are having one too many WILD nights, my dear!!! Far too costly to continue. LOL




Oh, I HAVE fillings...far too many. And one crown...just haven't had any new dental work done for several years and it hasn't been needed. I'd like to blame MS for THAT, too, but it's not likely lesions have affected my pearly whites in a GOOD way!


Peej said...

Ms. Cheese.... No wonder I have a mouth full of metal! LOL! No one ever told me about that cause and effect before. Imagine just hearing about it now. :)

Well, the poor tooth cannot be saved and will have to be removed. I'm putting this off as long as possible both for the cost and the coward factors. Mid November is it. :(

I didn't do too badly though all in all. Besides that removal I only had two cavities and one was actually a filling that cracked rather than a new bit of decay!

After that and a cleaning I should be good to go for another 15 years. :) :)