My jaw started hurting on the left side the other day. The pain starts at the joint and then radiates down through both the upper and the lower jaw on the right side. I think I finally figured out what it is.
Only three of my wisdom teeth came in. The two bottoms, which are still impacted but seem to have stopped growing and hurting after about ten years of growing and hurting, and the top right. I had the top right tooth removed because it grew in far enough so that I couldn't shut my mouth all the way. That was a big deal because my old dentist is a total sadistic bastard. I was fretting over it. I mean worried sick, because I really really really hate having my teeth worked on. (I would rather have a baby every single day than have a check up every six months.) I asked the old bastard to give me a valium or something and he laughed mockingly and wouldn't even give me the courtesy of an answer! My friend's mom gave me one of her valium, and on the day I had the tooth taken out, he shot me full of novocaine and then, like usual, went immediately to work, not giving the novocaine time to take effect. This caused intense trauma and pain, and it was topped off with my entire head turning numb a half hour after I left his office.
He actually propped a leg on the dental chair and hoisted himself up over me so he'd have more leverage and then had his assistant hold my head down while he yanked. And this person is called "doctor?"
I thought maybe he was just a bad dentist (he is), so I have spent all of my adult life looking for a decent dentist and have met some very nice people, but it is not exactly a profession that lends itself to gentleness. So I stopped going.
The funny thing is, it seems that the number of cavities and dental problems I have has a direct relation to how often I go to the dentist. For a while when I was a kid I was averaging a couple cavities a visit, so that's three or four a year. My parents were diligent about taking care of our dental needs so we went every six months. We'd go for a check up, he'd find some cavities, and then we'd have to come back for another visit (or usually two visits) to fix the cavities.
Hmmm, "Doctor," commit fraud much? Of course, I have no proof. Just a feeling.
Since I have stopped going for regular checkups (about 12 years), I have had one cavity. Of course, how could I possibly get any more cavities when my mouth is already totally filled with metal? The only other dental problems I've had is a broken tooth caused by eating rock hard frozen chocolate chips when I was 7 months pregnant, wisdom teeth pain, and a deep pocket in my gums.
The tooth broke because what was left of the actual tooth chipped off the filling that was there. The dentist I went to for that was a very nice man, but by the time I was finished with the visit where he drilled my tooth down to a nub of nerves and fitted a metal crown over it, I was laying in a pool of my own sweat. I'm not even kidding. The chair was dripping wet from my neck to my ankles (embarrassing!) and my hands were sore the next day from clutching the arm rest.
I got the pocket in my gums from some other idiot who fitted a metal sheath over my tooth so he could drill out the old metal filling that broke and put in a new filling. He shoved that sheath down so far, my gums have never recovered in that area, and now after I eat anything, I have to have floss on hand to dig nauseatingly deep down into that pocket to get out the food that gets lodged in there.
That was the last straw. That was about 8 years ago and I have only had one checkup/cleaning since. That's when I had the x-ray to see what was going on with my wisdom teeth. It turns out that the upper left wisdom tooth is stuck behind the last molar on that side. I think it is finally starting to come in and it's moving all the teeth on that side over. I should go and get it looked at but now that I think I know what it is I figure, why bother. Can they do anything but make it worse?
The last time I went to the dentist to have this looked at he explained the situation and said, "You know what I think we should do?" and I said, "Is it drilling a hole in my head? Is it going deep into my mouth and digging out part of my skull? Because if it is either one of those things, then no."
Has dentistry come any further than drilling and digging since I last went? If it has, then maybe I'll go, but I don't think it has.