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I am a chicken.  A complete dental chicken.  This is really quite ironic, because I’ve been to the dentist most The Drillphoto © 2010 Paul Lowry | more info (via: Wylio)
of my life, had extractions, oral surgery, gum surgery, and 6 years of braces and 2.5 years of retainers.  It’s not like I’m afraid of the unknown.

Except maybe that’s my problem.  I’m not afraid of the unknown – I’m nervous about the known.  And then there’s the smell.  My friend Mel is a dental hygienist and she laughs at me – but she’s gotten used to The Smell. The Smell is enough to induce a full-on panic in me – it nauseates me and makes my eyes water.  There was one time I took Brendan to an oral surgeon to have his mouth evaluated (he was tongue-tied at birth and it wasn’t corrected surgically until he was 3.5 y/o – a long story) and they invited us back to the examining room.  As we stepped through the door, I was hit full-face by The Smell and did everything in my Mom Power to keep it together and not completely bolt out of panic.  So far, I’ve done a good job of not relaying my dental chickenhood to Brendan, but it’s work on my part.

Confession time:  I’ve not been to the dentist since I got pregnant with Brendan.  Yes, I’m aware that’s a long time ago.  And yes, I’m aware that he’s nearly 9.  Don’t remind me, please. But I have a good excuse – or set of excuses.  Mark’s previous employer had really crappy dental insurance – regular cleanings were not even covered at 50%, and we simply didn’t have the extra cash to cover the cleanings AND whatever work needed to be done.  Going in to debt to have unpleasant work done in our mouths wasn’t exactly high on the priority list, either.  Doing a really good job on cleaning your teeth and making sure you remove the acids from your mouth becomes a pretty big priority when you can’t afford dental work – and when you’re a dental chicken.  So I’ve been meticulous for the past several years about brushing and flossing and have done a pretty decent job, I think.

Now I look back and see it as a bit providential in the way it worked out.  A few years ago, I finally got my hands on raw milk.  Within a few months of drinking the raw milk, my teeth felt … better.  I’d had some sensitivity that I attributed to some potential decay, but miraculously, they went away and didn’t hurt anymore.  My gums stopped bleeding when I flossed, and there was nothing else to point to except the milk.  I wasn’t drinking a gallon per day, but just a glass and whatever was in my coffee cup in the morning.  Huh.  It kind of went along with Dr. Weston A. Price’s theory about eating real (whole) foods in primitive cultures and not having the dental decay/health decay that Western societies had after eating processed food.

We’re now in a place where we can afford to have dental work done – and our dental insurance enrollment is coming up in January.  All of a sudden, I realized – I want a dentist who looks at health like I do.  It’s what has put me on the hunt for a biological dentist – one who doesn’t use mercury-amalgam fillings (I have a mouthful of them), who doesn’t push fluoride on patients, and who will treat my whole family.  A few in this area are covered by our dental insurance, but several aren’t.  Which also makes me question if it’s possible to take the premium for our dental insurance ($70/mo) and stuff it in our HSA, paying for dental care out of our pockets.

Lots of questions, but I think there are answers out there – I just have to be diligent.  If the office doesn’t have The Smell, that could very well be a tipping point for me – because it also erases the majority of my fear about seeing a dentist.

Hard to believe that when I was Brendan’s age, I wanted to be a dentist!

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