Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Diabetics/PWDs - Face Your Dental Fears! Your Body WILL Thank-You!

Last week I wrote about my fear of going to the dentist and what a big, scared, fraidy cat I am. I received words of encouragement from the DOC in the form of comments, emails, and phone calls. All of which I greatly appreciated!

This week I’m going to be honest with you – now that those two molars are history, I wish I’d had them taken out long ago.

Why? Because the minute those two molars were extracted, my body did a “happy dance,” I’m being totally serious. I’ve been prescribed penicillin twice in the past 3 months because of an infection regarding one of the capped molars. My body was working overtime fighting the infection, which in turn made me work overtime to keep my blood sugars in check.

As nerve-wracking as it was to sit in the chair and have myself shot up with massive amounts of Novocain (I was literally shaking like a leaf,) my body has been thanking me ever since. Turns out one of the capped molars was broken in three places, but because this molar had a root canal done years ago, it wasn’t causing me us much pain as it could have been. But, it was causing me to work incredibly hard to keep my A1C in the 6.8 range.

My body was so happy to be rid of it and that it thanked me in the form of textbook blood sugars, even after two days of sucking down vanilla Haagan Dasz/vanilla soymilk shakes.

Even after getting a cortisone shot (two days after my extractions) for my shoulder and having to quadruple my basal rates.

Yes, Friday night my numbers were wonky due to the cortisone, but I got a handle on it quickly. I didn’t have my first high blood sugar (220) until late last night.

Yesterday my dentist told me that the holes where the caped molars were are healing beautifully- better than many of his patients sans diabetes.

My history regarding teeth extraction is like most, I'd had two wisdom teeth removed.

FLASHBACK to the mid 1990's: I was 5 weeks away from back packing through Europe when my wisdom teeth became infected, like super painful and causing severe earaches infected.

My oral surgeon at the time put me on a 14-day supply of penicillin and scheduled my surgery for two days after I’d finished my RX. We were on a time limit due to my travel schedule and those two wisdom teeth had to go! .

Long story somewhat shorter, I finished my RX, went to the Oral Surgeon and he numbed me up with massive doses of Novocain. Because I was a PWD he refused to put me under. I begged for laughing gas, but he wouldn’t agree.

He hooked a heart monitor on my finger and continued to numb my mouth up. I tried doing yoga breathing techniques and watched as the heart monitor numbers crept lower.

I don’t remember too much after that, except for when he pulled the first tooth – because I felt the whole thing and I screamed bloody murder! My heart numbers shot through the roof and I couldn't stop crying. It was like the scene from "Marathon Man ,' except I was slightly better looking than Dustin Hoffman and my Oral Surgeon took no pleasure in what had occurred. Hell, he had tears in his eyes too!

Why did I feel it? Because my gums were still infected underneath the surface. And guess what? When your gums are still infected underneath, they counteract the Novocain. If you think getting one tooth pulled with out Novocain is bad- it's nothing compared to getting the second tooth pulled. The second one was so much worse because I knew what was coming.

It was a horrible experience and it’s stuck with me all these years, which is why I fought my dentist tooth and nail (ironically, pun NOT intended) regarding saying goodbye to my upper and lower back molars. I still went to the dentist (which is why those two molars were capped & had root canals) and I floss like a crazy woman, but I refused to have those teeth pulled.

Point of story? I wish I’d “manned up” and gotten all "Von Trapp and said 'so long/fare well" to those two pain in the ass teeth long ago because I feel so much better now.

I know we all fear the Dentist, but it’s so important to get a handle on this particular fear for so many reasons.

Mentally, fear drains our energy and leaves us open to problems in other areas of our life because we spend all our time focusing on the fear, instead of the solution.

And physically, trying so hard to hold on to a molar that our body no longer needs or wants causes infection and infection causes higher blood sugars and a lowered immune system.

It also leads to plaque, and no good comes from plaque build-up. Plaque on your teeth leads to plaque build up on our heart.

So real or imagined, big or small, tooth extraction, getting a cavity filled or getting your teeth cleaned, face your Dental fear–your body will thank you!

Shout out to other PWDs who have faced their dental fears as of late!


Shannon said...

Thanks for the shout-out, K2! You are a brave girl and an inspiration to me (you conquered your fear, so I conquered mine).

It's funny because now that I've taken that first step, I'm not even that scared of what's to come. I have to have three wisdom teeth removed, a crown replaced, and a cracked filling repaired. I've already made appointments for all three - I'll NEVER go that long without a dentist again.

To anyone who is afraid of the dentist, I have one word: Xanax. It is courage in a pill! Tell your doctor about your dental anxiety - they want to help!

Michael Hoskins said...

This hits home, incredibly. Talk of heart-plaque buildup is like a sucker-punch. I've partially faced my dental fears, but not quite... Have gum disease. Periodontal disease, as it's officially known. Got the news late last year, but had suspected it for a couple months prior. Thanks to crappy dental insurance that paid for a root canal, I was forced to hold off on the treatment until my insurance resets June 1. But I've been feeling the effects, and my immune system is likely off just as my BGs and overall D-results are probably higher because of it. I've written about it on my blog a few times recently, but am looking forward to getting this all taken care of in a few weeks. Way to go on your end in confronting the fears and getting it taken care of! Same to everyone else who've followed suit.

Scott said...

Believe it or not, I actually have a crowned wisdom tooth (I have enough room in my big mouth to keep those extra teeth). But I decided that if anything ever goes wrong with that, I will have the tooth extracted rather than repaired since its a wisdom tooth that most people have pulled anyway. Also, the cost of extraction is much less than repairs, but for the moment, no problems with it, but if problems ensue, it's history!

Rachel said...

Thanks for the mention and a reminder of the importance of going to the dentist in spite of the fear.

OUCH on the wisdom teeth. Mine were all impacted, so I was under.

Lois Lane said...

I'm going next month to have wisdom teeth pulled. I'm not scared but my husband is terrified. He had a really good friend pass away in the dentist chair which is why I've been putting it off. But they are killing me so I have to go.

Wish me luck :0)

Andrea S.

Scott K. Johnson said...

I'm so glad that your BG's cooperated with you and that you're feeling better and healing quickly!