Dental Care and Chiari Malformation
I always dreaded the dentist. See, I don't tolerate novicaine well and for me, it usually requires many shots to numb me up. Even then, there are side effects. Rise in blood pressure from anesthesia, anxiety, jitters, pain, aches. The dentist hasn't even been to see me since trying to numb me up, other than I can hear them yell from another room - "Is she numb yet?" So by now I can't feel most of my face, I'm excessively drooling, I've lost my time slot for care, and I have the jitters (all of which I am desperately trying to control). Stressed and more anxious. I dread the dentist.
Two years ago I had a cracked molar which needed extraction and an implant. I was stressed about it, my pain level had been in total B!tch gear for over a year putting it off, and I was trying to conjure ways to avoid that day. Well, one week after this horrible experience of oral jackhammering, I developed a chronic case of vertigo. At the three month mark I just couldn't take it anymore and my PCP sent me for my first Brain MRI. "You have Chiari Malformation, do you know what that is?" "No, I'm not familiar with that, should I be?" And my journey has begun...
Dental context: I have known for 10+ years that I also suffer from TMJ and so I frequently ask the dental staff for breaks or to use a bite block to take pressure off of my jaw muscles. Only that day, because of the procedure and it being the back molar, I had to keep my mouth open further and longer AND my head was way back. This lasted for approximately 4 hours. My current team of doctors believe this was the 'perfect storm' to reveal my CMI condition. Now please understand I have suffered for more than 20 years with odd symptoms that no doctor was able to define. This one day was my curse and blessing. I finally was able to hold on to a symptom long enough to acquire a positive test result, and finally put a name to the condition(s) I have suffered with for so long.
Be your own advocate, speak up for yourself. Think about the cause and effect of actions. Little did I think that laying back in a chair so I could have my teeth cleaned and repaired would result in the scariest news of my life. I now remind the dentist/hygenist each and every time what my challenges are and that if I should need to speak up, there is no negotiating - I must take a break.
Do you have a similar experience? Please share your thoughts and ways in which you cope with dental examinations/procedures.