Ever since I was 5 years old I have gone to the dentist at least once a year for a check up and a cleaning. Unlike many people, I never minded going or the “pain” of filling cavities. Some people really dread it and even ask for Novocaine. I never got a shot of Novocaine for any of my dental work. However, when I had my wisdom teeth pulled, they did knock me out for the surgery. Even then, my face didn’t swell and I didn’t need the prescription pain pills after the fact.
I continued going every year and began taking my girls when they were school age. The routine is so ingrained in us that were don’t even think about it, we just automatically make an appointment for either December or January and the four of us go together. Today was my annual dental visit. It was pretty routine: an exam, x-rays and cleaning.
The reason I have not slacked off on my dental visits is thanks to my mother and father. My mother took us to the dentist every year because the schools required that we bring back a note saying that we went. But my mother and father never went to the dentist for checkups. They started going to the dentist when their teeth started hurting. By then so much damage had been done that it wasn‘t so easy to correct. Little by little, all their teeth had to be pulled and they went from partial bridges to full upper and bottom dentures. My father had a dental plan from work so there was really no excuse for them not going. So, my witnessing the pain they went through for neglecting their teeth, made me determined to take care of my own. And the irony is, for all the annual visits they missed through the years, they more than made up for them by having to go to the dentist to have gum infections treated, teeth pulled, moulds made, getting their false teeth adjusted etc, all of which was far more expensive than a check up and a few x-rays.
I learned from my parent’s mistakes on this one. Hopefully, my girls will follow up on their own and continue to go to the dentist. Maybe we can break the dentures cycle!