by - November 28, 2017

My teeth are horrible - they always have been.

My parents never made me brush them, so I didn't care, and by the time I started caring, they were pretty fucked. I refused to have braces to get my overbite and the teeth that overlap on my bottom jaw sorted when I was a teenager. I smoke, drink coffee and eat food that probably isn't good for my oral health.

Basically - I'm a walking bad teeth advert.

How my depression affects my oral hygiene

When I get into a depressive funk, the first thing to go for me is hygiene and dental care. If I'm not leaving the house, I'm not brushing or using mouthwash and I'm not showering often. However, when I am a functioning person I like to use Lush Toothy Tabs to brush my teeth - I really like the Boom! flavour, it tastes like cola so you can eat straight away without having to deal with minty tastes. Also, I find brushing my teeth in the shower is easier, two birds, one stone and all that.

The dentist

I'm not scared of the dentist, I am just scared of the dental work.

You'd think, that after not seeing a dentist for nearly 3 years and not taking care of my teeth, that I'd probably need some fillings - I actually thought I had loads of holes and needed about 7. As well as thinking I'd need some fillings, I know that I have half a decaying tooth exposed (a filling fell out when I was eating a baguette and I didn't get it fixed because I'm scared) which either needs a root canal and crown or to come out. Neither of which I'm stoked upon.

On top of this, I know steroids can mess with your vitamin d levels and make your teeth bad too. Lucky me.

I really like my dentist - he treats me like a scared 6-year-old and understands my anxiety perfectly well, which is what I need. I get booked in and brave going alone as I know we aren't going to do any treatment, I feel totally calm until I get in the room. My heart starts racing, I start a cold sweat and get a dry mouth. Before sitting down, I explain my anxiety, start shaking, and then explain I have Crohn's and that I'm currently taking steroids. My dentist knows about IBD apparently, so I don't have to explain much, which is great. He has a little look in my mouth with his mirror, he takes some x-rays and I prepare for the worst news and a big bill.

The treatment plan

One filling. One removal.

That's it. That's pretty much nothing. I explain my anxiety about needles and he refers me for a general anesthetic removal, which I'm currently waiting on. I've had three out before under GA. He can tell I'm not ready for the filling yet and says I can come back whenever I'm feeling less anxious and up to it and that it's only a small filling.

So I ask "what about all these holes I can feel though?" and he explains it's years of tartar build up and says I should book in with the hygienist who will sort that right out, and buff out some discolouration I have on the caps I have on two of my front teeth. He said she's super gentle and lovely and that I'll be in good hands. I'm waiting to book in the New Year as I have 0 money due to not working for a month. He also prescribed me some toothpaste.

I leave feeling much better about myself and my teeth and I'm excited to get them sorted.

If you have anxiety or a phobia about visiting the dentist - ask for recommendations for someone who is good with anxious patients, or children. Speak to them and explain your anxieties, you'll find someone that understands and wants to help. Don't be worried or embarrassed about seeming childish or silly - it is so common to be afraid of the dentist or having work done.

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