(At the dentist)
I received some bad news recently, but refused to let it ruin my day or worry me. I share the strategy I use to stay positive even when I receive bad news.
I don’t think I know anyone who says they like going to the dentist. I don’t mind going to the dentist for a cleaning, but pretty much any other procedure is uncomfortable, can be painful, or requires me to get a shot to numb my gums. Luckily, I am not afraid of the dentist, like some folks are, and I don’t dread going, but I don’t like going either. Recently, I got some bad news from my dentist. I was in to get a cracked crown replaced when he told me I had other crowns on my molar teeth which had not been properly applied (and designed), so they had not sealed well and they were causing damage to my teeth underneath. I knew something was wrong because I could see some darkness between some of my crowns and the gums, plus some were causing sensitivity. I also knew I needed to have a (or some) fillings replaced because I could see a dark spot, which I assumed was a cavity. I was right! But, I needed to replace a number of fillings, not just one. The dentist I go to is very thorough and a good dentist, so I know he does excellent work. My sister and two brothers have gotten dental work with him. I went to see him many years ago, then changed dentist to one which was closer.
The dentist sent me to an endodontist to get digital x-rays of my root canals. The dentist thought I may have some incomplete root canals which were too short. He was correct! I had several root canals which were not done all the way to fill the roots. I know I have long roots because multiple dentists and endodotists have told me this in the past. Well, apparently most of my root canals were not done properly either. Superficially, my teeth look fine and I don’t have pain, except for a little sensitivity on one tooth. Even though I knew I would need more dental work, I was shocked and saddened when the dentist told me the extent of work I needed done. It made me sad because I trusted the last dentist I saw for several years and the endodontists. It saddened me because these are my teeth and under my crowns I still have my natural teeth. Even if it is a small portion of my natural teeth, at least it is not an implant or a bridge. It also upset me because it will take several appointments with the dentist and endodontist to fix the bad dental work I got. Plus, of course it will cost a few thousand dollars. The money part is unfortunate and upsetting, but the worst part is the time it will take and the discomfort of having so much dental work. And, now that we have a baby, I have to ask my mom to watch Alessandra for a few hours every time I have a dentist appointment. In this case, it will be several appointments to remove the current crown, make a temporary tooth, then go to the endodontist if that root canal needs to be re-done, then on another day go back to the dentist to put on the crown. The fillings can be done on one appointment and hopefully those won’t end up needing a crown or root canal after the current fillings are removed. Every time a filling is removed, a bit of my natural tooth is drilled and if the filling is too deep, it may require a crown and/or root canal. Each time a crown is replaced, the same thing happens, my tooth will be drilled down to a smaller size. In the case of the crowns, if the natural tooth gets too small, I may need an implant or bridge. Meaning, I would need a tooth extraction and my entire natural tooth would be lost. This all makes me very sad! I need my teeth for the rest of my life. And, all of these dental surgeries and procedures will take lots of appointments!
As the dentist was writing up a dental plan for me, I tried to look at the positive side of things by reflecting on the situation. Here’s my thought process:
- No sense lamenting. It is what it is and I need to get my teeth fixed.
- This has a solution, I do not have an illness, this is just dental work (but, if I don’t fix this right away, it could lead to infections, issues with my gums, further dental surgery, lost teeth, and/or damage to my bone).
- I am being treated by a good dentist and endodontist.
- I have dental insurance which will cover a portion of the dental work.
- I can afford the dental work (even though it will come out of my savings and I’d prefer to spend the money on something else).
- Hopefully these issues were caught on time and I won’t need any implants, bridges, or further crowns.
- Dental technology is more advanced now and this should mean my new crowns and fillings will last longer (and be designed and sealed properly).
- This will be the best solution for my teeth long-term.
- I have flexibility and can move around my schedule to go to the multiple appointments.
- My mom is glad to take care of Alessandra when I go to the appointments.
So, in conclusion, I was trying to be thankful that I can get this fixed. Yes, it is disappointing and makes me sad. Yes, it will expensive. Yes, it will be uncomfortable. Yes, it will take time and I’d rather be doing other things with that time. BUT, I can get this fixed, period. End of story, no sense worrying about it, no sense dragging it on, just fix it. Write up a plan with the dentist, get it on the schedule and get the procedures started. Period.
Instead of complaining about it and getting upset. I tried to stay positive and thankful that this has a solution. It helped me change my entire perspective on the situation. I often use this strategy for other aspects of life. When life throws me challenges, I try to find the positive side of it (and the best solution) and just move forward. As my grandmother says, there isn’t a problem which doesn’t have a solution, except death. I know this can sound drastic, but it is true! It helps to put things in perspective!
When was the last time you tried to stay positive even when you got bad news?