Until recently dentists have been the stuff of nightmares, since leaving school I hadn’t seen a dentist, the worry got worse, the longer I kept away the bigger the bogey man got. Luckily since childhood I had been instilled with a good oral hygiene routine, as well as liking my mouth to feel clean and the fear of halitosis I saw my almost obsessive routine as an insurance policy against having to visit the dentist.
Since a child my mother made sure that I attended every dentist appointment, teeth were brushed twice a day, occasionally I was instructed to chew little red tablets to see how effective my tooth brush technique was. Sweets were also rationed, one of my friends according to my mother had 7 fillings, “if you eat any more sweets you’ll end up like MP” I’m envying MP’s bag of sherbet with a lolly to dunk in, I eat my boring banana. Around this age (7) my dentist found a fault with my teeth, he felt I had too many so under gas and air 3 teeth were extracted, I dreamt there were giant rabbits (more like humans in rabbit outfits) in the car park and woke up with something a bit like a tampon in my mouth. This wasn’t really a bad dental experience I think my three gaps trumped MP’s fillings. It all started to go wrong when I started secondary school, that’s when the tics also kicked in. With this strange unknown beast taking over my face and contorting it, it was almost impossible for me to keep still, the spike thing that dentists started to put the fear of God into me, it was that metallic, picking away that would bother me not to mention that foul pink liquid or rinsing your mouth. The dentist spent about three years telling my mother I had too many teeth and by the age of 14 I should have a brace to straighten them and a couple more extracted to make some space. Still very much mysteriously twitchy at the age of 14 I was sent to see an orthodontist in Carmarthen, as I was going in my friend’s brother JM was leaving with a normal looking brace, he tried to push my teeth around and then broke the bad news, a normal brace would be able to do the job, I would have to wear one that had a frame around my head. Now things were pretty bad being the twitchy kid, could you imagine being the twitchy kid with a frame around her head? NO WAY! I just wouldn’t be able to leave the house, and anyway who sees inside my mouth? My mother said I should think about it, NO WAY! You’ll have nice teeth. I’ll be picked on even more! So that was that, no brace.
So fast forward to about 2 years ago, after grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw in a ticcy way I had firstly caused my teeth to be very sensitive and secondly caused my jaw to be very painful so I was forced to go to the dentist. I wandered in to my local dentist ticcing away nervously and explained to the receptionist that firstly I needed a check-up, secondly I had TS, and thirdly the thought of going to the dentist was giving me the willies. Sitting next to the receptionist and listening was Dr. Dublin (the lady in the picture) who said that it would be ok and was very calming and put my mind at rest, I was booked in to see her in a few days. When it came to the day of my appointment with Dr Dublin she first of all X-rayed my jaw, one thing that is quite strange about my teeth is my lack of wisdom teeth, she said they are there but they are still in my jaw, I find looking at X-rays etc of myself fascinating and that me teeth are pretty good, it’s just that I’d damaged my enamel through grinding she sent me away with some Sensodyne toothpaste after showing me her instruments before examining my teeth complete with tic breaks, and another appointment for the following week to give my teeth a scale and polish and make a mould to make my teeth guard thing to protect them from grinding. As dentists go she’s pretty good, I did have a scary check-up once, I arrived and there was no Dr Dublin, there was another woman I her place, “Keep still”, “I’m not going to polish your teeth as you can’t keep still!”, luckily for the next check up she’d returned.
I’ve just looked in the mirror at Dr Dublin’s handiwork, teeth nice and clean, tea-stains gone and some inconspicuous fillings, I hardly noticed them, to protect the roots where I’ve been brushing too hard. So far, I’ve resisted the temptation to run my tongue over the fillings as they felt a bit weird next to the inside of my mouth, so I’ve been good. (She’s fully aware that I could do something to them and this did worry her) We did joke when she initially told me she was going to give me fillings, “What grey stuff?”, “Nooo, it will be white, you’ll hardly see it, I wouldn’t do grey filings.” I also told her about the dentist at the TA conference who had been running trials for a dental splint that relives tics.