Tomorrow I am getting my teeth cleaned for the first time in over 10 years. Luckily, the dentists I’ve been referred to are compassionate, knowledgeable, and experienced working with trauma survivors.
Instead of anxiety, I feel excitement and anticipation about the procedure. The act of brushing and cleaning my teeth is not anxiety-provoking and does not bring flashbacks. The before and after parts of dental care are anxiety-provoking and do bring flashbacks, body memories, and other urges. Especially between March and May when the body memories and flashbacks related to dental experiences are strongest.
But I do feel anxiety about the anesthesia and the after care. You see, sedation is necessary for any physical examinations. A lot of work needs to be done (exam, cleaning, cavities, extraction, etc.). We agreed that anesthesia and surgery to accomplish as much as possible in a short amount of time is preferable to multiple visits over a longer period of time. Hence the dental surgery.
After care recovery is supposed to take 2-3 days. I’ve prepared as much as possible by making my favorite soup and freezing some, doing laundry and dishes, grocery shopping for smoothie ingredients, making sure my blender is clean, and taking out the trash. And I’ve got a ride to and from the in place using Lyft.
All of this reminds me to stay resilient and keep on trying to practice self care in spite of the obstacles. This is the first step to changing my dental routine. And I hope it helps change some of the experiences of May from negative to positive.
So a quote for you from Carl Jung:
Thanks for reading