(I love how my Dentist’s office is built to relax you but then you can’t really escape the reality that you’re in the chair. lol)
Most of the experiments in my life usually revolve around society or culture but occasionally I’ll perform a biological or physical one as well. For the last six months, I’ve been trying out my own oral hygiene experiment.
Since I was really little, my parents trained me to have two unconditional, unrelenting routines per day. Wake up- Brush your Teeth/Wash your Face. Before Sleep- Brush your teeth/Wash your Face. Every day for as long as I can remember, this has always been my routine.
However, growing up, as a kid, I had tons of cavities. I could never understand it. I had friends who barely brushed their teeth that never got cavities. I had the most rigorous of routines and I was always having to get fillings. EVERY single dentist appointment usually yielded another appointment to get drilled and filled (TWSS).
I got to a point where I had an actual phobia of going to the dentist. This was later elevated after some gum grafting oral surgery I had like five years ago. It was the consequence of massive gum degradation from constantly rolling my tongue ring along the ridge of my gum and teeth. High price you pay for rebelling and having an oral fixation.
The surgery itself wasn’t too bad but after the procedure there was a horrific process of “lifting” that was done while I was NOT sedated but instead given local anesthesia which was not effective and I felt everything. Anyhow, all I know is that I’m usually cringing every time I’m in the dentist’s chair now and I am clutching my hands together very tightly.
The pain of the cleaning process used to be so discomforting that I used to rake my nails across my hands to distract the oral pain. I never understood why it had always been so painful all these years. The hygienist always encouraged me to floss but I was quite stubborn with changing my routine. I would floss like once or twice a week and sometimes forget.
My teeth are so damn close to each other that it’s not easy cramming the floss in between them. It wasn’t until they started making the flat ribbon type of floss that I was able to try to do it more on a regular basis. So six months ago during my last visit, I had kicked up my routine to about 3 times per week. There was still minor bleeding during my cleaning and she was having to deal with a lot of plaque etc.
She told me I was prone to more plaque build up because my teeth are extremely straight (one of those blessing/curse things) and the tiniest of particles can be trapped without me ever seeing in the mirror. I also have all thirty-two of my teeth including wisdom ones that fully emerged by the time I was thirteen so it’s all packed in tight. BUT I hated flossing so I was very stubborn and resistant to adding it to my nightly routine.
After the last visit, I decided to do an experiment to floss every single day without skipping until my next dentist visit. I figured if flossing every day would make a painless dentist visit then I’d continue. If I still had massive pain, bleeding, and soreness afterwards (oh the pounding, pulsing, throbbing ache!), I’d say fuck it and throw away my floss.
Well during last week’s visit, I got my experiment results! There was virtually no pain whatsoever and she hardly had to clean my teeth at all. There was no bleeding, no soreness. She kept saying I did a great job and that my teeth were beautiful. Btw, beautiful teeth to a hygienist and dentist means they look healthy (not the Christy Turlington type of beautiful).
So lesson learned. Teach your kids to wash their faces, brush their teeth, and FLOSS every day! Actually, flossing is more important than brushing if you can believe that. The health of your gums are far more important than the sparkle of your teeth. Once your gums get hardened, there should be no pain and you’ll have short easy visits to the Dentist!