Down in the mouth: A word about communication


Drilling, drowning, jaw dropping, agony! Yep that’s me in the

chair. My greatest dread turned out better than my worst nightmare because this time, instead of suffering in silence,  I spoke up and, surprisingly, my torturers became my teammates.  I salivate like crazy so I asked if I could hold a suction in my mouth while being worked on so I wouldn’t feel like I was drowning.  The dental assistant acknowledged this is a problem and she would be suctioning my mouth throughout the procedure and, if that wasn’t enough, I could give her a wave of my hand and I could spit in the sink.  Ok, not what my first plan was but it turned out she did a great job and I was fine that way.  My second hardest thing about dental work is I have to practically unhinge my jaw and hold that position FOREVER!  I have TMJ and that is so painful for my jaw.  When I mentioned my jaw pain they produced a bite block I could rest my teeth on while the dentist got both hands in my mouth.  Much better.

So often we get the idea that a complainer is a bad patient.  As a nurse, however, I feel a patient that shares their difficulties and fears is allowing me to be a good nurse.  I can’t meet needs until I know what they are.  This turn at the dentist’s office I took my own advise and the outcome, though not wonderful, was much less agonizing.  Lesson for the day: A word in season may save from a heap of pain!