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Title: A trip to the dentist
Posted: June 09, 2010 (02:58 PM)
Following my graduation I went to a local dentist for a check-up, because I had neglected to visit the dentist during my college career. I was told that I had several cavities and that I should get my wisdom teeth removed. They said that this was not uncommon for recent college graduates because the college lifestyle is in some ways hostile to healthy teeth. In particular, I was told that alcohol, something I consumed a lot of over the past three years, is bad for your teeth. Perhaps this is why British folk are infamous for their bad teeth?

In any case, I had my first appointment for teeth drilling last week. I knew it was the right thing to do as far as my health was concerned, and I had no fear or anxiety about it. If anything, the knowledge that I was getting something taken care of before it became a serious problem was comforting to me. The dentist even remarked that I must have a high pain threshold, because the cavities didn't seem to bother me (which they didn't).

This particular office had a pecular setup with a computer monitor attached to the large crane-like machine in most dentist offices (or at least the ones I've been to). It is used for practical purposes, such as running a program that allows patients to view the x-rays of their teeth as they are captured. It is also used to let patients watch movies when they are getting their teeth drilled, because, in the dentist's words "it's probably more entertaining than counting the tiles on the ceiling."

I was told that I should pick something I've already seen, because I wouldn't have the same attention if I were watching it at home or in a theater. I chose to watch Avatar. They turned out to be right, as I often found my eyes wandering away from the movie, though mostly because its position required me to point my eyes downward. This also meant that I was looking under the lens of my glasses, so I couldn't see very well. Sometimes their hands got in the way too. I had headphones though, so I listened, and since I had already seen the movie, I knew what was going on based on the dialogue. While watching listening to it, I couldn't help noticing what caricatures the characters were. Ultimately, I think music, rather than movies, would probably work better, but I'm not complaining.

The procedure took an hour and five minutes (or at least that's how far I got into Avatar). After it was done, I got up quickly, went to the front desk, and started asking a bunch of questions, such as whether or not I had to wait a while before eating and what the final bill was. As I was standing there, I started feeling exhausted very suddenly, and then I actually said "I feel really exhausted." The next thing I remember, I was lying down on the floor, with three of the women who worked their crouched down, looking at me. I was told that I had passed out, and for a few seconds while I was still on the floor, I felt utterly horrible. I quickly felt better when I got up and sat in a chair. They gave me some free food and juice, which I actually thought was a pretty good deal, since I had spent over 400 on the teeth. I thought I felt fine at first, but I ended up feeling a little shitty for the rest of the day.

It was the first time I had ever passed out in my life and I'm not sure why it happened. I have given blood, I have had similar dental procedures, and I have been in many extremely physically stressful situations. I was very casual and unemotional about the procedure, and I have never really understood other people's fear of going to the dentist. There was nothing mental about it. The people at the office said it was probably a combination of getting out of the chair too quickly and having low blood pressure (which they actually took) from not eating enough that day. (I had a bagel and a little bit of oatmeal, but this appointment started at 2 PM.)

GenjUser: Genj
Posted: June 09, 2010 (07:17 PM)
Even during college, I've always had my teeth cleaned every 6 months. This is what happens when your mother is a dental hygienist.

Changes in blood pressure caused by a quick change in body position is actually a fairly common precaution at inpatient facilities. I've fainted several times in my life (usually when I haven't slept much and get up too fast). I've prevented a handful of fainting spells as well by immediately sitting down when I feel one is coming (I start sweating and/or my vision gets "spots" in it. Quite odd).

bloomerUser: bloomer
Posted: June 09, 2010 (09:34 PM)
Yeah. Back in the days when I could watch TV lying badly on the couch, I would very frequently feel blackness rushing me when I got up after lying there mostly unmoving for a long time. I never actually fainted, and it doesn't seem to happen these days, but that sudden postural uprighting and its interaction with your blood pressure is the thing.

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