I absolutely hate going to the dentist, and as a result, I'm now trying to fix all of the things that were broken for far too long.

I've been putting off having a cavity filled for several years. During the Christmas holiday, I broke my tooth and had to take a trip to the emergency room for some antibiotics and pain meds. This led me to think more about the actual cost of avoiding the dentist for all of these years.

My emergency room visit is likely several thousand dollars (I haven't seen the bill yet), something I wouldn't have had to do if I had taken care of my teeth to begin with. This isn't the first time I've gone for antibiotics to kill infection and then went about my business, never fixing the actual problem. I've done it several times and after this doctor visit, I finally got it through my thick skull that it was time to take better care of my teeth. These are the only ones I have, and I can't just become a toothless granny.

I think I have some kind of weird PTSD from having so much orthodontic work done on my teeth as a child. When I think back, I feel like I spent so much time being poked in the gums and scolded by people working on my teeth that my desire to go there as an adult, even just to have my teeth cleaned, was all but void.

My buddy reassured me that dental work has come a long way in the last 20 years and that my root canal would likely be a pretty simple procedure. I took the plunge and booked a visit with the dentist against my better judgment.

It was a breeze. The dentist was actually really nice. He told me I had a few flat tires, but there was no need to buy a new car, which made me feel a lot better about my smile. They numbed me up and the root canal was practically painless. I'm a bit sore from it today, but I'm really glad I finally went in and I'm ready to tackle any other dental issues, with slightly less fear.

So, if you are like me, putting off that dental exam, I encourage you to take a deep breath and make an appointment for a consultation and an x-ray. Tell them you are terrified. They likely understand and will work with you through it.

If you're looking for a new dentist, I would suggest Dr. Thorne at Salem Dental Center Inc. He's changed my view of dentistry and alleviated many of my fears. I can't wait to smile with more confidence. I'm glad I sucked it up and went.

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