Thursday, July 21, 2005

Just Part Of The Experience

I went to the dentist a couple weeks ago, for the first time in many years. How many? Three or four, I'd guess. I really have no idea.

I came out of it with appointments for a tooth cleaning (A separate appointment? Lame.) and fillings (two of them, one 30-minute appointment each).

I just arrived home from my first filling appointment. This is the first filling I've had since I was something like three years old. That one I didn't even remember having until later when I lost the tooth and saw the filling, and I was all, "What is this? I never had a cavity!"

So in effect, this is the first time I've had a cavity filled since I've been old enough to know what's going on.

It wasn't as bad as I'd feared. Even the drill was pretty quiet. The hardest part was holding my mouth open for a long time. My jaw was getting really uncomfortable. Even when I thought I might be feeling the drill, I just focused on the pain in my jaw, which was far more objectionable. I'm glad I'm not a girl or gay.

Now my mouth is numb on the right side and it's hard to swallow because it feels like there's something in the back of my mouth. Actually, it is just the back of my mouth, pretending to be a foreign object.

Back to my first visit: Digital X-Rays

Has anyone else had this done? I went to the USC Oral Health Center. Instead of doing X-rays by putting the film things in your mouth, they put an electronic sensor covered in plastic in your mouth. It's actually too big and digs into your gums and makes you yearn for the traditional discomfort of the X-ray film, but the benefit is that the X-ray pops up instantly on a computer screen right in front of you. Then the dentist can brighten it and adjust the picture easily. Unfortunately, he can't fix cavities by Photoshopping them.

I was baffled, then amazed, by this Great Leap Forward in dental X-ray practices. I assumed that all dentists had this now, and I had missed out by not visiting the dentist for half a decade. But when I mentioned it to some other people they'd never heard of it. How widespread is this computer X-ray deal?

1 comment:

lydia said...

My dentist has had the digital X-rays for a few years, at least. He's a family friend, and he told me it was a very expensive purchase, but he was happy to know he was exposing me to less radiation than the traditional method.