My mouth is a disaster. A disaster created by lack of maintenance which is a byproduct of depression.
When the stillness of depression overtook me I didn’t go to the dentist. My teeth are not great – very prone to cavities and so they need regular attention. But I didn’t go. Until a painful tooth pushed me there and I had to have the tooth pulled because I didn’t have the money for the root canal.
That was the first of 3 teeth I had pulled in that fashion over 6 years. Those were the only time I went to the dentist. All of them were visits to the Urgent Dental Care.
But the painful teeth wasn’t the worst. The worst was a cavity in my front tooth that was visible as a divot on the side of it. It made me feel shame. It made me feel like I couldn’t go on interviews because people would think badly of me for having a hole in my tooth. It made me ashamed to see old friends and family. It was a huge mental monster in head.
The last tooth I got pulled was earlier this year. The dentist was very kind. He suggested we tackle my mouth one tooth at at time. He didn’t suggest a regime of dental cleanings or plan a giant trip tick of my mouth problems. He just said – when you have some money saved just walk in.
And that’s when I realized that this was how I could make it work. The Urgent Dentist is obviously more expensive than most dentistry, but not exorbitantly so. (at least this practice.) But they offer something that is invaluable to me. They work 7 days a week, 5 of them until 10pm. They encourage walk ins.
Convenient hours is a huge plus and when it’s tied to walk in it works with my brain dysfunction. It takes a whole lot of self talk and consideration and aborted attempts to get me to the dentist. And when the moment gels – I can just go. No need for an appointment – just go.
An appointment would create a whole new layer of problems. I would miss appointments if my brain moved into stillness at the moment the appointment came up. That would make me a persona non-grata with a dentist. And I would create a larger thing out of potentially missed appointments than they might in reality be so I would just make that into a reason not to set up appointments.
Yesterday, a Sunday afternoon, I walked into the dentist and got my front tooth fixed. It felt like a triumph. It’s been a source of shame for years and now it’s fixed. In an hour.
It’s not the dentistry tradition I grew up with. And so it never occurred to me that I could do my dentistry by just walking in, but I can. So, now for the next few years, I will be saving money and when I have enough, doing next tooth. By walking into the office when my brain will allow it. I am not rich. But the extra money is more than worth this benefit to me. I wonder how many other people would benefit from it.