That’s right – I haven’t been to a dentist in over a decade, with the exception of an oral surgeon who removed my wisdom teeth about 6-7 years ago. I fell out of the practice of getting annual cleanings shortly after college when I moved away from my family dentist and didn’t have dental coverage during my early career. One way or another I always managed to avoid going until yesterday. The oral surgeon didn’t help things much back when I had my teeth removed, because he scoped out my teeth and commended me on them being in such good shape. Unfortunately they’d started to stain recently, and one stain in particular was driving Susan nuts, so after much cajoling I made an appointment.
The good news: no cavities. Brushing and flossing plus some help from genetics seem to have protected my teeth over the years, which I was greatly relieved about. The bad news: I have gum disease and have to go in for some serious under gum cleansing procedures which will apparently be pretty unpleasant. Once that’s done I have to go to the dentist every three months for a couple of years for followup cleanings which should entirely clear up the gum issues and protect my teeth for the long term.
The other good news is that the stains will all come off, and the dentist thinks I should consider a bleach treatment for them once the cleaning is finished, which should remove the yellow coloration. He also thinks I should get braces to fix my front teeth. I’m not sure on the braces but I’ll probably do the bleach treatment next spring since it seems to mean so much to Susan.
Anyway I’m not sure if there are any lessons learned. I avoided a decade of the discomfort of the dentists chair with seemingly little consequence, though I’ll reserve judgement and possibly sing a different tune after I’ve been through a couple of these undergum cleansing treatments.