I had a long overdue dental appointment today, which was scheduled not because it was long overdue, but because I had a sore on my gum in the floor of my mouth down my my lower right molar on the gum underneath where my wisdom tooth used to be. It didn’t hurt that bad, as you all know I am pretty good with physical pain, but what actually forced me to go is that I am the world’s biggest hypochondriac when it comes to the unknown.
Basically, I can and am walking around with bone spurs in both shoulders and it doesn’t really bother me, but I cough twice and I convince myself I emphysema or lung cancer and so on. So, of course, I was convinced I had oral cancer, gum disease, herpes, HPV, scurvy, and everything else gum related I could find on WebMD.
Turns out it was none of those things. In 1991, while I was stationed in Fulda, I had my wisdom teeth extracted, and it was done with all the precision and care one might expect to receive from an Army dentist in a small barracks in a foreign land. Apparently, they left a shard of my tooth attached to a jaw, which is known as a “bone spicule,” and it took 26 years for it to work its way to the surface.
My doctor, whom I love (Jann Barber- Caring for People Not Just Teeth!) futzed around with that sharp hook-shaped device for a while and bled me, all the while apologizing and then jamming me again with it, told me what it was, and as we were scheduling an appointment to get a cavity filled and have that removed, I reached in, confident it was not cancer, gum disease, herpes, HPV, or scurvy and just a stupid piece of painful bone in my gum, and dug around for a while with my fingernail and pulled it out, saving us both some time and me some money. “Well, I’ve never had anyone do THAT before,” she stated. She’s pretty cool.
So I am pleased to report that I will not be dying of cancer, gum disease, herpes, HPV, scurvy, at least any time soon, and I have to report back to Dr. Jann in a few weeks to have a crown replaced (btw- Dr. Sasseen- that crown you put in in 1987 when I went through the windshield and bit a molar in half finally went bad, and Dr. Jann says she was impressed with your handiwork) and a cavity filled. I also went ahead and scheduled another cleaning in six months and now that I am an adult (WITH A HOUSE! And a GF!) I am going to start going to the dentist regularly like I should.
Unless I get scared and convince myself I have cancer, gum disease, herpes, HPV, scurvy, and then I will cancel my appointments and stay at home paralyzed with fear thinking I am going to die. Because that is how I roll.