By: Dr. Lisa M. Coffey
More than ever, I am reminded that healing is a process. First my thumb and now my tooth. Fifty-six is doing a number on me! While my thumb is on the mend and not disrupting my everyday routines much, I cracked an old filling on a tooth while in Las Vegas, which has been the source of my agony lately. First antibiotics, and today the dreaded root canal.
Hopped up on laughing gas and music in my ears, I survived the dental phobia again. I suffer from odontophobia. Let me be clear, the dentist and I have a long, tumultuous relationship stemming from the rubber raincoat fillings back in the day. I wouldn't say I like the noises of the drills, the smell of the sterilized instruments, or the rubber gloves squeaking. Before any work is done, my anxiety is at a feverish pitch. Yet, I am amazed at where I get my inspiration for writing. Today the dentist explained there was a large old filling in the tooth, and decay started underneath, which allowed the tooth to break. In addition, she explained that the weakened state of the tooth and the damage caused was the reason for the root canal, but the tooth was worth saving.
As I lay in the dental chair in a supine position, staring at the ceiling, I realized that this tooth journey reminds me of when I was broken and the healing process. I don't remember when but some years ago, I had this same tooth worked on, and a temporary solution was a large filling. Fast forward, the same tooth was in a fragile state yet repaired once again and will be topped with a crown in a few weeks, a permanent fix, I hope! I share this story because there is a revelation and a message.
Sometimes we seek a temporary solution for problems, and a band-aid will not fix the underlying issue. When we downgrade the resolution's significance, we open ourselves up for reoccurrence, pain, and wasted time. All those years ago, I should have opted for the root canal and crown, yet I did not. Instead, I placed a temporary fix on the problem by ignoring the long-term resolution. How often do we diminish our circumstances and opt for the quickest or cheapest solution? By doing so, in time, we will have to reevaluate, realign, and regroup, which brings me to my thought process today.
Don't let the pains of yesterday simmer and rot under your self-imposed band-aid. Don't wait until things spiral out of control before taking action steps toward a permanent resolution. I am using my tooth as a catapult to open the idea of self-assessment. Everything is a process, and healing takes time. In my book iDid and uCan 2, I write about the peaks and valleys in my life and the steps I took to overcome those obstacles. I had to rip the band-aids off some ancient wounds to start the healing process. Today, my dental visit reminds me to continue the self-assessment process, take action, and continue on the journey of self-love and harmony. Read more of my story and get valuable tips along the way.
Face your fears
Stop seeking temporary solutions when you need a permanent fix.
What are you allowing to weaken your foundation?
Healing is a process.
We are worth saving.
What is dentophobia?
People with dentophobia, also called odontophobia, have a fear of dentists. Someone with dentophobia may have extreme anxiety about going to the dentist or while in the dentist's office.