Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bear and Broken Tooth

Last week, as I was enjoying my dinner, I broke a cap on one of my teeth.  The cap was porcelain; when it broke, it felt like a broken shard of glass to my tongue.

It was time to find a dentist. This is one of the things which was put off, when we moved. And since I am not partial to dental work, it would have continued to be put off, had my cap not broken.

Procrastination certainly comes to the fore when it comes to dentists and me.

I made an appointment with a dentist to whom we had been referred. That was the easy part.

When I was a child, dentists seemed to be little more than cruel, grumpy men. One even suggested he might like to strap me in the chair, if I continued to move around.  And having work done on my teeth reminded me of a construction site...the sounds of the drill and other accoutrements of dental work were very like the whining, buzzing reverberating noise of a table saw, router or drill.

Only louder.

I did not easily heal from these early childhood visits, either in body or mind. There were constant infections which appeared after a visit to the dentist, auguring more and more visits to the very same dentist who had incurred them.

I've spoken with many people my age who have similar memories of dentists from their childhood.  We wonder...Where did these men get their training? And why were they all so cantankerous?

I lived in a small town where there were only one or two dental offices, as I grew up. Both dentists went to the same school, it seemed; there was no sense in trying the other for better care.

Friends of mine went to a larger centre for dental work; I was not so lucky.  I used to listen to their trips out of town to visit a dentist who gave them lollipops(!?) when they were finished, leaving me in total awe.

Time goes on, however, and as much as I ran away from any dental work as I matured, there came a time when my teeth required it.

I was completely surprised at the difference between the dentists of today and the dentists of yesterday. When I finally went, there was huge understanding and acceptance of the fear I had, and my dentist, at the time, did everything he could to make me comfortable.

I swore I would never use another dentist again. And then I moved...

I reminded myself of the difference between now and the past regarding dentists, as I drove into Williams Lake.  But the small child who resides within me clamoured to be heard. I became tense and nervous, as I listened to that small child who would not be silent.

The office looked and smelled and sounded like any dentist's office, except this one had a sculpture of a life-size Bear at the entrance.

Bear has guided me throughout life, as he has for many of the human population...the ones who held a Teddy in their arms as children know what I mean. I've told Bear many, many secrets, not the least of which was my fear of Dentists...

What were the odds I would find a Dentist's office with a very large Bear guarding the entrance? I smiled to myself as a great calm descended over me, when I stroked his giant claws. Had this Bear not been three times my size, I would have hugged him. And I wondered...how many others have been calmed by passing this huge sculptured wooden Grizzly Bear on their way into the dreaded Dentist's office?

The visit with the hygienist and the dentist went well...my new dentist seems very young to me, but she certainly knew her stuff!  She filed off the offending portion of the broken cap on my tooth, informed me I needed a new one...and oh, by the way, there is another tooth which requires a root canal and cap...

Oh well...ageing hits teeth as well. And certainly, at my age, it is time to let childhood fears go.

On the way out, I thanked Bear, stroking his long claws, and smiled to myself at the jolt of energy I received from Spirit through Bear.

It is reassuring to me that he is there, since it seems I will get to know him well during the next few weeks...and I am sure I will require Bear's special brand of energy again.

It is all very well and good to proclaim it is time to let childhood fears go; I know well that on the day of the dentist's appointment, I will need Bear's strength.

If only to help me stop the profuse sweating at the thought of the root canal...


  1. I had a similar experience except I broke the tooth and crown off right at the gum line. I went today and there was no way to save the tooth. Like you, I fear the dentist because of bad childhood experiences. My first dentist actually believed children didn't experience pain during drilling and didn't use Novocain. After I bit his finger he sent me to a children's dentist, but the fear was already set for life. Unfortunately, the oral surgeon I was sent to for the extraction broke off part of the crown on the neighboring tooth. Now I have two problems to solve, not one. Where was bear when I needed him. - Margy

  2. Sorry to hear about the dental problems. I have feared them all my life even though I worked as a dental nurse for a few years. That made it worse as I then knew what was going to happen when I had things like impacted wisdom teeth or root canals.

    Shame teeth had to have nerves in them.

  3. I am afraid to go to the dentist for I fear I will have to get a loan to pay for the work I would need. Do you have to pay out of pocket in Canada?

  4. Margy,

    Oh my! Your childhood dentist sounds even worse than mine! Children don't feel pain? I'd like to see that dentist have my granddaughter in his chair...he'd never drill anything again! I'm glad you bit his finger.

    I can sympathize with having your other tooth broken by the dentist...it's happened to me. And then, it's difficult not to feel great resentment towards the dentist for the following work which must be done!


    On the other hand, you also know when a dentist knows his/her stuff or not, as a dental nurse. I am in awe of those nurses...they seem to know exactly which tool and which procedure will happen before the dentist does.

    I must consider myself very lucky and grateful that I've never had an impacted tooth.

    I don't think I want to even think about those nerves...


    They'll want your arm and leg, as well, lol! I am so happy to have insurance through Graham's office dental plan...not everybody has additional dental insurance. I believe if one is on assistance there is a certain amount allotted towards dentistry, but this could have changed in the last while.

    Procedures such as cleanings, fillings, etc. are wholly covered, while caps, etc. are 50% covered, on our plan. So I'm out a few dollars, for sure, considering I have to have two caps. And they are, if I remember correctly, $400 apiece.

    I'm now tired of growing older. I want to get off the ageing bus...

  5. I also hate going to the dentist and the doctor. Tomorrow is teeth cleaning and what a bother!
    Very very bad with making a doctor`s appointment more though. Things have to get real bad before I cave in and go.


  6. Anonymous8:26 p.m.

    Hello Marion,

    I always joke that I was last in line when God was handing out teeth. Or that my mother gave all the good teeth genes to my older sister. :D I could truly relate to your experiences.

    Thanks for these exquisite photos!

  7. Tea,

    How nice to see you after all this time! I'd lost track of your blog and I'm so glad you visited.

    And I hope you make a doctor's appointment soon for a check-up. Just to make sure every thing's ticking along ok. Preventive medicine!


    You are very welcome, re the photos. I took them off of Clip Art.

    I wonder if anyone really likes going to the dentist? There must be someone...

  8. Dental pain is the worst! It's easy to procrastinate till the pain comes on like a freight train.

  9. Peggy and I have had one crown each replaced in the last year. They're over $900 apiece now. Yikes!

    I'm sorry for your bad memories. I have none. Maybe I was just lucky or else you were unlucky. Who knows. Good luck with the root canal. I've never thought they were as bad as people often make them out to be.

  10. I too used to have a childhood fear of dentists, but not now. Whilst I dont relish going there I'm so pleased that dental technology has moved on by leaps and bounds.

  11. Dental crowns really hurt if your not going to trust in a Crown and Bridge Specialist. Good thing there are already anesthetic procedures when undergoing such surgery.