Wednesday, April 25, 2012

So Go Ahead. Clean My Teeth....

Rodin image found here. 

I had an interesting discussion with my dentist yesterday.

I am due to have my teeth cleaned, and was a bit hesitant to schedule this, or any other dental work, until I have a run-through of my current medications with my dentist. I've been putting off making the appointment.....until I chewed on a spoonful of my organic-non-wheat-no-gmo-tastes-like-tree-bark breakfast cereal. And spit out a little piece of one of my bottom teeth.


I reluctantly picked up the phone and made an appointment to have my chipped tooth examined, hoping that the receptionist would tell me that since it wasn't painful, that I really should wait a month or two before coming in.

Mmmhmmm. Sure. Right. Like that was going to happen.

My reasons for not wanting to rush over to their office were pretty vague; I'm not anxious there, I have confidence in the care I receive's just ANOTHER APPOINTMENT. Anyone else get a bit tired of spending way too much time and co-pays in a doctor's office?

They, of course, squeezed me into their schedule immediately. Before I knew it, I was perched in the dentist's chair, mouth open with two sets of eyes peering into and four hands inside my very dry oral cavity.

"What have you got yourself into NOW?" he asked, eyes twinkling.

We've hung around for two years now. He's entitled.

After they extracted their instruments and hands and gloves, I gave him the rundown on my rituximab and cyclosporine scenario and asked him if I should be cautious about having anything done to my teeth seeing as I was now even more prone to infections due to the suppression of my B lymphocytes.

He told me he had to think about that for a minute. Which he did, chin in hand, for a few seconds. A hygienist poked her head into our cubicle, but saw him in what must be a familiar posture, smiled, and left without a word.

Don't disturb a thinking dentist, I guess.

Here's what he basically told me, which makes a lot of sense: That since I am more compromised immunologically, it would only make sense to take BETTER care of my teeth, not disturb them less. Periodontal diseases are potential bacterial disaster zones in a Sjoggie's mouth. Combining a lack of beneficial saliva with a heightened vulnerability to infection would require more diligent care than ever for my teeth and gum tissues. He reassured me that we could be careful to do an antibacterial rinse of my mouth before doing any procedures, which would diminish my chances of having a gum infection as a result of a procedure. I gave him the thumbs up to move ahead with fixing my tooth.

So after my chipped tooth was prodded and scraped and drilled and filled -- painlessly, yeah Dr. F.! -- he pulled off his mask and scooted himself over to my chair with my hefty yellow chart on his lap, made new notes about my medication changes, and asked if I was feeling more comfortable about dental work.

Yep, I told him. See you for my next cleaning and check-up.

A thinking and logical and pleasant dentist. A tooth without a hole in it. Lucky me.


Anonymous said...

YES! I get tired of going to the Dr.'s...I have a cleaning & check up scheduled for tomorrow & I really don't want to go...but you've inspired me because I too have a chipped tooth that needs to be fixed (again) & I don't want to get another gum infection I just need to figure out which shoes are my lucky ones! :)

Debbie said...

I can certainly relate to another appointment & co-pay. A couple of years ago I started getting my teeth cleaned every 4 months alternating between my dentist & periodontist. Dental insurance usually pays for one & I pay for two out of pocket. I feel it's worth the expense. I make very little saliva and rely on Evoxac 30 mg. taking one 2 to 3 times a day. My rheumatologist added this when I told him my teeth felt "fuzzy" all the time. If I miss a dose my mouth will stick together & I will be unable to talk. If you knew me personally, being unable to talk would be a very bad thing. :)

Darcy Losh said...

Dental check up is extremely important for having good dental health. At times, you get tired of going to the dentist, but hey, you’re incy-wincy tooth needs Mr. Dentist’s care. Hehe. After all, it’s for your own advantage. It feels good to talk with fresher breath and clean teeth, right?

Darren Heist said...

Sounds like you have a very capable dentist at your disposal! Lucky you! Having a healthy professional relationship with your dentist is definitely helpful to you and your dental health. When you have full confidence on your dental doctor, it will be easier for him to perform and conduct dental procedures. On the other hand, dentists should make their patients comfortable and walk them through any procedure.

Julius Ainsworth said...

I definitely agree, Darren. When you are at ease with your dentist, every procedure can be a breeze. I think every patient should look for a dental professional whom they can put their full trust and confidence in. I think I’m lucky that my dentist makes me comfortable and walks me through every procedure. And he never fails to give me some dental tips!

SethOswald said...

Hoping for good results on your next dental visit. Last summer, I found out that I have a gum disease, too. I’m a heavy smoker that’s why I got such dental problem. The stains on my teeth are terribly bad. I’m so worried about my teeth condition. I quit using whitening kits and just decided to consult my cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills. He recommended that I undergo an overall mouth make over due to my gum disease and replace some of my upper teeth.

Anonymous said...

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