What Going to the Dentist
Taught Me About Self-Care

(in)courage | 7/20/2019 | Staff
red815red815 (Posted by) Level 3
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Last week, I went to the dentist. It was my sixth visit in four months, and I sat in the chair for almost three hours getting a bunch of fillings. I have my next several appointments already on the calendar, as well as my semi-annual cleaning this fall.

Yes, that is many more dental appointments than the regular two cleanings a year. See, for years my teeth were neglected as I grew three people (and made their food, too). My three babies took all my calcium and tooth-enamel-building vitamins for themselves while they were both growing and nursing, and poof, my teeth were ruined.

Issue - Dentist - Level - Sedation - Chair

Compounding the issue, I’m pretty skittish about the dentist and require a light level of sedation to get in the chair, which wasn’t possible during pregnancy. So I didn’t go for a cleaning or exam for years, until I started bringing my now older kids to the dentist themselves. I figured if they went, so should I, so I scheduled my visit. During that cleaning — my first in four years — after scrubbing my poor teeth, the dentist gently said, “Let’s get your next cleaning on the calendar before you leave today, ok?” We also booked additional x-rays and a consult to create a long-term plan for fixing my damaged teeth. Thanks to my husband, the Gilmore Girls (what I watch during my appointments), and that aforementioned sedation, I’m exactly halfway through that plan . . . and have yet to shake the shame.

Thoughts — most of them untrue and unkind — roll through my head. How could I have let this get so bad? How could I take such intentional care of my kids and not of my own self? Why do I have to be so scared of this? No one else has this issue!...
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