RA & Dental Work

When my son was four years old, he hated the word “dentist.”  I started saying “tooth doctor” and his whole attitude changed.  Well, my spine hates going to the dentist and it doesn’t really matter what terminology is used.  Sitting in the dental chair as long as it takes to get work done on my teeth isn’t so bad, it’s the change in position afterwards that’s a problem.

Stiff spines need to change position gradually.  That means raise the chair a little bit, then wait a second for the back to adjust.  Once the spine is okay, raise a little more, wait, raise a little more, and so on.  It probably takes an extra 30 seconds.  After repeated requests that we take it slowly when returning me to vertical were ignored, a few years ago I started looking for a new dentist.

The dental offices closest to home got a chance at my business.  One place required a five-month wait for new patients, which might mean they’re really good. Turns out it just means they have scheduling issues.  The other place had better scheduling, but I didn’t like the office or the dentist. Finally I skipped two cleanings because I couldn’t stand the thought of enduring another appointment.  I am not a rocket ship. Do not launch me out of that chair!


I am happy to report that I finally found a fantastic dentist!  Unfortunately, I have to drive a distance to see him.  What a contrast, though.  The guy in town put me in a closet-sized windowless room.  He never introduced himself.  It seemed I was just another boring mouth to look at and then launch out of the chair so he could see another mouth.  The new dentist (I’ve been twice) introduced himself.  He actually read all my paperwork.  The staff was friendly and helpful.  He addressed my concern about going vertical slowly — then confessed that he’d probably forget and asked me to remind him.  When I did remind him, he apologized, paused, and waited for me to give the go-ahead.  It was really nice to be treated like a person, not a mouth.

Another thing I liked about the new dentist is that he’s using current technology.  No more molds and waiting weeks for the lab to create the needed cap/crown.  There’s a CAD program for dentists (that would be Computer Aided Design, not Coronary Artery Disease).  Special pictures of my teeth and their alignment were taken and loaded directly into a computer.  The computer created a 3D image and designed the needed cap to fit exactly into the tooth in need of repair. The design was then sent to a little machine and created on the spot.  Instead of waiting weeks and needing a second appointment, I waited 20 minutes and was done the same day.  That’s an amazing machine!

I am happy to have finally found a good dentist, and no longer need to dread the back pain associated with time spent in a dental chair.


2 thoughts on “RA & Dental Work

  1. I agree so much! It’s one thing to sit for an hour (or three if you’re going to a movie) when you can move at your own pace to let all your joints adjust and get moving comfortably (or as comfortably as you can). It’s quiet another when you’re in a position that someone else can “launch” you out of the chair. I can do the 30-minute cleaning, but for “real” work, I ask my dentist to let me out of the chair every so often to stretch. I’m glad you found a dentist you like. As much time as we spend with them, you have to have a good relationship with your healthcare providers. May the new year bring blessings to you and your family.

  2. My dentists office is always so cold. They kept asking if I was ok because I was fidgeting in the chair. Thankfully the practice is also a medical office (the husband is a family medicine physician and the wife a dentist) so they brought me warm blankets when I told them my RA and the cold was impacting my legs and back.

    Do you have weakened gums from RA? It seems my gums have gotten bad in the last year or two.

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