Memories of Slurpees


“My feelings hoort!” declared our two year old, grabbing his head after eating a big spoonful of soft serve ice cream.  My husband and I looked knowingly at each other.  Brain freeze.  Only in the wonderfully wise and mysterious mind of a two year old would he think to describe the pain as “hurt feelings.”  So cute and charming.

Nearly thirty years later, I find myself getting my “feelings hoort” a lot when I eat or drink cold things.  Actually, they don’t even have to be very cold.  Just a smidge above 98.6F.  Anything minutely above my body temperature will send shudders of pain through my mouth and head.  And you can forget ice cream, frozen margaritas and Slurpees.  But this isn’t brain freeze.  And it’s not charming.

I’m talking, of course, about receding gums.  Yet another one of those “delightful” by-products of the aging process nobody tells you about when you are younger.  Or maybe they did and you just didn’t pay attention.

Okay – so it’s not totally caused by aging.  Part of it is my fault. Probably a big part.  I know that I should have taken better care of my teeth over the years.  Brushed more, flossed more, rinsed more, seen the dentist more regularly.  Honestly, when you’re young, all of that sounds so boring…

It didn’t help that we moved several times in the last six years and I was just too lazy to find a new dentist.  What the frack was I thinking?

Oddly enough, the crisis came when I started using an electric toothbrush a few years ago.

My teeth and gums started to hurt.  I mean really started to hurt. Bad.  Nothing will get you off of your lazy ass to find a dentist like throbbing pain in your mouth.  Yeah – you know what I’m talking about…

Diagnosis: gum disease. Treatment: periodontal scaling and root planing.

So I had both of my kids “unmedicated” in the early 1980’s.  This means that I had no pain meds at all when I delivered my children who were each the size of a football or large meatloaf.  A extra long, large meatloaf.  The birthing experinece was like a walk in the park compared to being scaled and planed.

Thank you sir, may I have another…

My gums just felt so traumatized and violated.  I had to have a stiff drink, two ibuprofen and a two hour nap when I got home.

I never want to go through that again.  I’ve changed my evil ways. I’ve become the poster girl for outstanding dental hygiene and regular trips to my dentist.

Only YOU can prevent gum disease…

But now my dental visits have a new element of torture to them. Aside from the run of the mill, normal torture.  My gums aren’t understood and handled with the TLC I feel they deserve.  Young dental hygienists don’t seem to get the connection between my nerve-rich exposed tooth roots and my contorting body emanating low guttural noises when they start digging in with their ice picks, rinsing with cold water, and blowing their cold air on my teeth and gums.  OMG – shoot me now!

My next visit is in July.  My mouth is hoping for more mercy

And maybe some nitrous oxide.  Or that awesome stuff they give you when you get a colonoscopy.

But that’s another post…

22 thoughts on “Memories of Slurpees

  1. OUCH! I’m lucky, I guess. I haven’t been the most diligent when it comes to dental care, especially flossing, but my teeth and gums are, so far, in pretty good shape. The dentist I go to complains I’m a loss leader; he never makes any money from my mouth. Which I think is a very good thing.


  2. As someone who first came down in my late twenties with what used to be called, less kindly, “trenchmouth” — as much from the stress of a bad first marriage, smoking and candy between meals as from not flossing — and who has had almost intimate relations with periodontists and their hygienists ever since (a long long time, let me assure you), I advise you to advise all young hygienists who don’t yet know what suffering means that you need a topical anesthetic before they begin their labors. This will produce a numb tongue that feels large in the mouth, but also blessed surcease from pain. And the tongue will reacquire its normal abilities not long after you flash the credit card at the front desk and leave. Keep on flossing, though. Deep scaling is another story!!!


  3. This is so true & painful, I got diagnosed with gum disease about eight years ago. For about twelve months I had all the treatment (cost a fortune) but I have had no treatment for seven years, I still have all my teeth. I just use an electric tb, listerine and floss everyday….Oh and I had to give up smoking – 2 stones in weight later! Such fun. I also see the dentist every six months – which I hate.


    • You sound just like me! Electric tb, generic listerine and floss – it’s the only way to go now! Seeing a dentist every 6 months is pretty much standard practice here normally. I would have been fine had I stuck to that schedule… Oh well – I’m riding that horse again so hopefully (other than the sensitivity) all is right with the world in an oral sort of way! Keep up the good work!


  4. Speaking as an ex “gum gardener” (dental hygienist) it sounds like you could use a desensitizing toothpaste like Sensodyne or something similar. When the surface of the roots of your teeth are exposed, either from gum surgery or recession, any stimulation like cold air, cold drinks, or touching with an instrument is transferred straight to the nerve of the teeth through the dentinal tubules that connect the outside with the inside. The crowns of the teeth are protected by the enamel, so you don’t get that. But exposed roots—hoo, boy! Another story altogether.

    Desensitizing toothpastes can help a lot, but you need to use them at least twice a day and it may take a tube’s worth before you feel significant relief. Always, always use a very soft brush, as even a medium can be too abrasive. I have my doubts about any genetic component to gum disease, apart from a tendency to build up more calculus (tartar) in some people more than others. Good oral care makes the difference in that regard. And no smoking! I never saw a patient who smoked who didn’t have some gum disease. Even a 15-year-old girl once! Sheesh.


    • Thanks for the advice! I got the no smoking thing down! Hmmmm – I wonder if that was part of my father’s issue – he smoked like a chimney. I tried Sensodyn on my dentist’s recommendation, but it just made my teeth MORE sensitive. Dr. Dentist said that can happen with some people. Lucky me!


  5. I have the remedy for sensitive gums and the evil dental hygienist – my new hygienist rubs the stuff on that numbs the gums before the dentist shoves that needle in. The first time she did it, I was in heaven – couldn’t feel a thing…the next time she put so much on (or maybe I swallowed) but it didn’t work so well because it numbed my throat – horrible, I felt like I was choking – but now she puts it on while I am sitting up so I don’t swallow it…works like a charm – it really does…she digs and pokes, and I don’t feel a thing…normally I am “white knucklin” it the whole time – not now..well I still hate it, but it is wonderful…so ask for the numbing gel and see what you think…don’t swallow it, and sit up while she puts it on your gums.


    • So funny you should comment on this post… I have an evil dental appointment TOMORROW!! Chills are going up and down my spine. The last time I went, I asked the hygienist to smear the numbing schemer on my gums because, it’s not the dentist poking around that bothers me, it’s the cleaning. It helped but I still felt it. And yes – he smeared too much and it went down my throat. Gross! Thanks for the comment! Your timing is perfect!


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