“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…