Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Can Cavities Disappear?

I went to the dentist yesterday. Obviously being a huge foodie as well as maintaining a massive sweet tooth, the checkups every six months are integral to good oral hygiene. Being a 90s kid, oral hygiene was bestowed upon my peers and I as if it were the Holy Grail. Getting a cavity was the equivalent of shooting up heroin and if you didn't have to get braces then you were like Bruce Willis from Unbreakable - the only guy who survived the train wreck that is teenage orthodontics. I've always managed to get good reports from my dentists over the years. Never had a cavity as a kid and clean checkups have been routine. But that wasn't always so.

This picture has nothing to do with the story, but I wanted to include it to let you know that this is serious business

In the summer of 2005 I went to my dentist in Rocklin. It was my second visit to him and he found one or two cavities. I was crushed as they were the first blemishes on an otherwise perfect oral career. How could this have happened? It could have been all the Jones Soda I was drinking at the time but I always took care of my teeth. Finally I relented and figured these things just happen, so I went in to get them drilled. Six months later I go in for my next checkup and this time he finds THREE cavities. THREE!! WTF!?!?! He takes a picture of one of the teeth and shows it off on the big screen. Let me tell you, seeing a tooth up close is really disgusting even if it is pearly white. Sure enough there was a tiny hole on one of my back molars but it still didn't make sense to me. I was even MORE careful with my oral hygiene following the first cavities. After having anything with sugar I would rinse my mouth out with water. And now I have three more of these things?

Cavities aside, I didn't really like this dentist or the office. Didn't like their approach, didn't like their bedside manner, and I didn't like how they told my sister during her checkup that "oooh, your brother has some cavities!" HELLO, DOCTOR-PATIENT CONFIDENTIALITY!!! Why don't you gossip about the stench coming out of my ass while you're at it? Anyway, my whole family switched dentists because we just didn't like them so, needless to say, I did not go back to get those three cavities drilled. I figured I'd just let the next guy find them.

But it never happened.

I've been to three dentists since the three cavity exam and NONE of them have spotted anything. I purposely don't say anything because part of me is curious to see if they can even spot them, but lo and behold it has been eight years and not a thing has been heard of from those cavities. I've had my wisdoms out, I've had retainers built, I've had about 16 exams since 2006 and nothing has surfaced. It leads me to wonder if the cavities were so tiny that good oral hygiene was simply enough to close them up.

That being said, if that's all it takes to close up a tiny cavity, then why was the dentist so insistent that we drill them? I figure it's been long enough to determine that if these cavities were a threat then they'd mobilize by now, and surely one of the three dentists since then would have spotted something. But instead it's been all quiet on the oral front. I've had no issues, no pain, no nothing. It also makes me question the validity of getting those first cavities drilled. Was it necessary? Were they the same size as the others? I really don't know. Maybe that particular dentist was applying some kind of tooth decay formula onto my teeth which was causing the cavities to form, thus a way to line his pockets with all of our hard earned money. I mean, my first checkup with him went fine, no cavities there. It was the second and third checkups where the cavities were found.

Eh. Doubtful. But it's a cool storyline anyway.