Be true to your teeth or they'll be false to you

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By Camille McClanahan


I have has a long and detestable relationship with several dentists throughout the years.

It all started when I was 9 or 10- years old and there were too many teeth in my mouth. Some had to go. 

The dentist was rough and I wasn’t numb. I found out later in life that I have some sort of tolerance to Novocain. Weird. 

Through tear-filled eyes I watched as he pulled three to four of my teeth to make room. Then came the braces. 

I truly despised those things no matter how pretty they made my smile. I was in seventh grade and the endless torture from my schoolmates was brutal. 

The continuous upkeep and monthly appointments was almost too much to bear. 

I didn’t brush like I should’ve no matter how much my mom harped at me. 

Seventh grade, brushing my teeth was the last thing on my mind or the everlasting effects it would have on my teeth. I just wanted them off. 

When I finally got the chance to get them off, it was years before I went back to the dentist. 

And frankly, who likes going to the dentist anyway? 

As long as they weren’t hurting and I still had a pretty smile it was out of sight, out of mind.

I had my daughter in 2006 and that’s when I started noticing my teeth slowly chipping away. Losing pieces of your teeth is not fun. 

By this time, I had no dental insurance and no way to have them fixed. So I’d take pain relievers and tough it out hoping that they wouldn’t get any worse. Hey, I was hopeful and dumb. 

By the time I was 26, almost all my back teeth had either had root canals or had been pulled. Now I believe, part of this is my family just has bad teeth but most of this was my own fault. I never drank water. I drank Mt. Dew almost all-day everyday for years. 

My teeth were starting to show the wear and tear. ‘Be true to your teeth or they will be false to you.’

My teeth were starting to hurt all the time. What is it about a toothache that brings people to their knees? It’s like kryptonite. At least for me. 

After being woken up too many times at 3 a.m. because of the pain, I had to do something. 

I went to several dentists and about stroked out over the cost of fixing my teeth. 

Who has several grand just lying around? I was frustrated and angry with myself for letting it get this bad. 

I finally went to a dentist in Dry Ridge and with tears in my eyes told him I was desperate and I couldn’t afford much. 

But to keep from losing all my teeth, I needed to do something. 

He and the staff treated me with the utmost respect and told me we could work it out, even though I told him that I hated the dentist. 

They have worked with from day one to pull teeth, fill teeth and yes, make a partial for me. Being 28-years-old and having a partial is a hard pill to swallow. 

I always thought of false teeth as being an older person issue, aside from some accidental catastrophe. Maybe a little stereotyping but I never thought I would be in this situation at my age.

Before he would start any procedure, he would always ask, “Are you okay?” 

Through a white-knuckle grip and a shaky voice I would say yes. 

I was worried about a lot of things, the pain, the cost, if he had given me enough numbing medicine so I wouldn’t feel it and if there were boogers up my nose. 

I think of the strangest things. 

But you know they can see up your nose, sometimes I cared other times I was just fortunate enough I dragged myself in to the office without having a meltdown. 

But he put me at ease and I am happy to say that roughly six months later, I have one visit to go. And I am good for a year. I think I’ll do a little happy dance. 

I have changed my habits. I don’t drink Mt. Dew all-day, everyday, I am not perfect I still drink it some just not like I used to. I watch what I eat, staying away from sugary items.

I drink water more often, even if I have to force myself to at times. 

But I can say from personal experience, biting the bullet and going to the dentist far outweighs being in pain because your teeth are hurting. 

Camille McClanahan is the editorial assistant at the Grant County News. She can be reached at 859-824-3343 or via e-mail at gcneditorial@grantky.com.