From what I’ve read and been told, amalgam fillings last 10-12 years. My lowers are 30+ years old, so I wasn’t entirely surprised when my dentist recommended their replacement. (I was surprised that he didn’t find fault with my flossing. Those plastic disposable flossers work!)
On Thursday, I had the lefts replaced with composites. Since I’m not keen on having dental work done, I’d even suggested doing both sides at once just to get it all over with. But, after they mentioned I’d be a drooling mess, possibly chewing my tongue off, I went back to the original plan.
And with that, I will take much sensory distraction as can be legally offered. This includes novocaine, headphones, the vibrating Comfy Chair, sunglasses, and nitrous. Ah, nitrous. One of the things I love about it is I can throttle how much I need to tune out. Typically, this starts when I hear the high-pitched whine of the drill. I’m at maximum tingliness when the dental burr makes its burning smell. Power-breathe!
When he was finished, he looked at the readout, chuckled, and said “You got your money’s worth.” Just like last time.
Wow, I didn’t even know that some of those distraction options existed! I’ve never heard of using headphones or a vibrating chair or sunglasses, and I’ve never had on-demand nitrous oxide available. Does replacing a filling involve a lot of pain? It shouldn’t actually touch the nerve, should it? (Sounds more like a root canal!) I’m trying to remember; I had a filling replaced three years ago, but I don’t actually remember whether or not pain was involved (so it must not have been bad). Or maybe it’s just that none of it seems that bad after going through orthodontia, for four years, with an ancient orthodontist whose hands shook with palsy. 🙂
I love my current dental hygienist. She is so amazingly gentle that I have literally almost dozed off during a couple of cleanings. This made me wonder if she was really being thorough, but it seems so (no problems since I started going to this office).
At any rate, congrats on your successful visit! May the drooling be kept to a minimum. 🙂
I don’t get along with dentist drills. Something about the frequency of the thing just sends me through the roof. A white-knuckle ride. I’ve not tried nitrous (except for that excellent party that the chemistry majors put on in ’75), but I may have to look into it next time I have any excavation work done.
Kiri – replacing a filling is no different from getting a filling. I haven’t had (nor do I want) a root canal, but it sounds far worse if I’m conscious.
As John said, the entire combination of sensory inputs conspires to make it an unpleasant experience: the taste of the topical anesthetic, the whine of the air drill (and, now, the grinder), smell of the dental burr, vibration from the polisher, and the bright lights/proximity of people in my personal space just makes it a bad time all around.
I usually go into a meditative state when I’m in the dental chair.
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