Yikes! Honestly I was a good sport but in my mind I had to fight off a panic attack. I salivate like a saint bernard and my jaws were never meant to open that wide. With all that, I feel like I can’t swallow enough and am near drowning on my back with both of the dentist’s hands in my mouth. Top that off with a nerve that refuses to numb despite repeated shots and you have a drilling torture chamber. His final words were “Just hang in there. I’ll be done soon.” This nighmare took 2 hours and 20 minutes of my precious time off. Boohoo! Sigh. But on the bright side, because I knew I was going to be a hot mess I minimized the misery by telling the dentist I needed a bite block to rest my jaws and I wanted to hold the suction so I wouldnt feel like I was drowning. This is what they brought out: an “isolight” that comes with a silicone bite guard so I can swallow, a flange that shields the back of my mouth from the shrapnel when he drills, built in suction and a light. I was not in dental heaven but it was a definite upgrade from hell to purgatory.
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!