On June 19, I went to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup. It didn't go well. :(
Usually, I'm in and out in 30 minutes. My teeth and gums are healthy, there's not much plaque or tartar, all is well. But not this time. My teeth are okay, but my gums are receding.
Now, gingivitis is not normally considered a catastrophe... but I freak out at the very idea that there's something wrong with my teeth. I had lots of trouble with my teeth as a child, practically from the time they came in. At 18 months old, I had to have all four of my top incisors pulled. I then went without front teeth until age 6 or 7 when the permanent incisors grew in (huge, as if to make up for lost time). I had baby teeth that didn't fall out on their own and had to be pulled. I had many cavities. I had two painful experiences with wisdom teeth before having them all pulled (without the option of sedation). Around age 22, I needed a cavity filled, but the dentist could not get the tooth numb.
I frequently had nightmares about losing all my teeth. Most of my childhood memories are fuzzy, but I still remember in vivid detail the waiting and exam rooms at the dentist's office.
Thankfully -- and I mean I am truly grateful for this -- after the cavity trauma at 22, I had no real problems with my teeth until this year. So why the problems now? The main reason is simple: I have not been taking good care of myself.
This shortcoming manifests itself in things that seem shallow -- I haven't had a haircut, I don't paint my nails, I wear the same three shirts over and over -- but those are indicators of a deeper problem. I've stopped putting effort into my appearance because I'm resigned to the fact that nobody cares. I don't mean "appearance" in the sense that I was ever trying to be beautiful or sexy or pleasing to someone's eye; I mean that I used to make an effort to present myself well. But lately, I don't seem to care.
Well, as loony as it may sound, if there is one thing that can push me to make real changes to my lifestyle, it's any kind of threat to my teeth. :P
Wakeup call heard loud and clear... Done!