Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fun at the dentist

Since my last dentist's appointment I've started chewing gum pretty much whenever I'm not eating. I hadn't been chewing gum because it used to make my jaw ache. I grind my teeth at night and wear a nightguard because of that, so my jaw gets achy easily. But for some reason, the gum hasn't been making my jaws sore.

Plus chewing gum seems to have a side benefit for me: less plaque on my teeth. I had my regular tooth cleaning appointment this morning and the hygienist had to do much less scaling than normal so that my appointment was a half hour instead of my usual 45 minutes. I know that the reduction in plaque isn't due to increased flossing because, if anything, I've decreased the amount of flossing that I've been doing.

I don't think the gum I'm chewing is taking the plaque away. Instead, I think the act of chewing gum has increased the amount of saliva I have in my mouth which is in turn decreasing the amount of plaque. A side effect of the Femara is dry mouth which tends to cause increased plaque build-up because there isn't enough saliva to wash away the plaque. I guess the gum is helping to compensate.

I also found out this morning that my old hygienist (S) , who is on maternity leave, will be back for my next appointment. I've really liked the new hygienist (J) who is filling in for my old one: she's gentle, she's thorough about getting my history, she can check and clean all of my teeth without me opening my jaw wide and hurting it, she taught me how to floss properly, she checks for oral cancer at every other visit, she always polishes my teeth (unless we decide together not to polish them), and each visit she puts a blue dye on my teeth to show me how much plaque is there.

J is the best hygienist who's ever worked on me, and honestly, I was not looking forward to going back to S. Don't get me wrong: S does do a great scaling job, but she doesn't do all those other things J does because she's too busy talking. I was even thinking of changing dentists to avoid going back to S, which I didn't really want to do because I've been with this dentist for ten years. Still, now is a good time to change dentists if I'm going to because we've just moved and that makes a good excuse for the change.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear that J is staying! Both J and S will be in the office, apparently, and the receptionist let me choose which one I wanted to see next time. Obviously I chose J! The receptionist said that many people (including herself and her kids) are preferring J over S for much the same reasons I do. I figure that S can learn a lot from J, if she wants.

Oh and I was able to get a couple of lightweight wool sweaters. They aren't itchy and they are both comfortable so we'll see whether they work to keep me dry.

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