Always take good care of your teeth

I have a love-hate relationship with my dentist.
I really like going there when I won’t be having any work done on my teeth. And I really hate going there when there is work being done.
I’m “lucky” to have been blessed with teeth that seem cavity prone. I also have passed that trait on to my youngest son, who does everything to prevent having cavities (he brushes several times each day, he flosses, etc.)
Growing up, I maybe brushed my teeth every third day, and flossing was not yet on the radar as a cavity prevention activity.
I grew up when Crest toothpaste started promoting its “no new cavities” on television, and with the comparison of classes that brushed with Crest against those that had brushed with a competing brand.
To get the dentist bills under control, my mother switched us to Crest.
On my 13th birthday, my dentist announced I had reached a new record for cavities. He counted 13 in my mouth and a time just before the new high-speed drills came in.
His old belt-driven drill always seemed to produce smoke. And only for big cavities was any local anesthetic used. You had to grin and bear the pain.
Sometime in the course of the month as fillings filled my teeth, he suggested it might have been easier to just drill into my brain to persuade me to take better care of my teeth.
His talk probably had some impact on me. A short while later, I changed dentists and the number of fillings that were required annually dropped off after that (though I always seemed to have the most cavities among my siblings).
When X rays are taken of my teeth now, there are huge gaps in the film where amalgam has been used to fill the cavities.
Today all of those fillings that are several decades old are coming back to haunt me. They gradually have broken down and now are needing replacement.
The unfortunate part of all this new work is that often my dentist is finding new cavities under the old filling. And that is necessitating much more substantial work.
Today every filling begins with a local anesthetic. But I and my dentist have found that many of my molar teeth are particularly immune to freezing. My eldest son, who has had minor dental work, also has discovered he, too, seems to have resistance to freezing.
I always thought I had a fair amount of resistance to pain. As I mature in age, I am discovering my tolerance is diminishing.
Looking back, I should have taken better care of my teeth. And I can thank my dentists that I still have a full mouth of teeth.

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