Meeting the Dentist, Again

I remember the dentist who looked after my kid teeth (silver fillings); I remember the orthodontist I visited for two years in my early teens; I remember my first crown (gold) as a youngish adult, and from there I remember the path of budgeting teeth care into my lifestyle. In my middle fifties, I got into a good relationship with a local dentist. I remember feeling I had found the groove. I was on board with taking care of my teeth!

Two years ago I received a sucker punch that broke my jaw in three places. My focus shifted to jaw issues, though, to be honest, I was primarily concerned with my teeth. I desperately needed my hard-won platform to be secure. And, during the two months of living with a wired shut jaw, I obsessed about two teeth I was certain had been knocked out. I needed them to be fixed. I lived through the unbelievable wired jaw months focusing more on fixing my teeth than feeling what I experienced one day to another.

I sometimes use Louise Hay philosophy as a spice for greater stew. She tells me that teeth problems can illuminate signs of longstanding indecisiveness. Staying on the path of conquering my indecision, I felt that I had “mastered” my indecisiveness. Yet, I was bombed with a jaw blast.

After the jaw healed, I learned I had not lost any teeth, and, in fact, my teeth seemed to have weathered the trauma intact.

Louise Hey says jaws symbolize anger and resentment. I could feel the resentment gathering, gathered deep in my muscle organization. I could feel teeth indecision overwhelmed by resentment. I should have listened to my teeth — I needed to hear my indecisiveness. But I didn’t. And I didn’t want to listen to my shattered jaw.

Determined to return to a solid tooth health program, I scheduled an appointment with a local, and new, dentist I had researched. Agitated, he urged me to schedule two root canals immediately with a referred dentist. I did. The term, root canal, sounded desolate and frightening. I had never had one. I eased into the dentist chair, calling on my training, all those hours emptying thoughts, dumping judgment and scouring story stain. I gave over to the experience the best I could.

It ended up being a positive experience for the most part. The guy at the helm was a welcoming guide, and, though fraught with gagging and fearing I was drowning, being taken over by numbing drugs, the trek was OK. Three weeks later, I returned to my everyday dentist to get a crown on one of the root canal teeth. I had several crowns in my mouth, so I felt confident I could navigate the relatively simple journey.

Remember, this was a new dentist. The first time I met him he read my x-ray map, then excitedly told me in what bad shape my teeth were in. His descriptions of what might happen to me if I didn’t get the root canals dealt with immediately were very graphic and frightening. Now, the second time in his chair, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Turns out, one and a half hours of a convoluted story path.

He applied his tools with great zeal. I was inclined to trust his competency, but he was also rough, over-eager, maybe. The highlight of the session was a 3-d readout of my teeth. The strange camera that he loved like a kid loves a fun toy captured my teeth in very fine detail. It was amazing. Then, he sent the file to a printer located in the lobby. I sat and watched a 3-d printer create my new tooth. I guess it’s like being programmed to be Rodin. After the systematic drilling and shaping, the little new tooth went to the oven to bake. Finally, the dentist’s coup de grace: fitting the tooth into my teeth family, hopefully, to be welcomed not rejected. After some adjusting, fired up by his over-eager muscle organization, the little guy seemed to be settling in OK.

I think this last dentist trek taught me a lot about staying curious. I trusted the importance of being curious more than usual, was able to call on the muscle organization/body shape that embodies curiosity. The pull was strong to collapse into a despondent, victimized shape, but, for the most part, I stood tall and held the line.

Not that I wish a dentist visit any time soon to anyone!

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Cap Kotz

Writer and Story Mapping Guide, I follow the life path no matter how challenging.